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Legends chronicle Robin Hood and Guy de Gisbourne as the deadliest of enemies.
The reality is… complicated.
Home razed by Church edict, loved ones struck down by treachery, Rob is left for dead. Taken by the old druid master into the deeps, he emerges with a new name and purpose: leader of a band of tight-knit outcasts, claiming the ancient forest and wielding the Horned God’s vengeance with silent, deadly arrows. His lover, Gamelyn, has also fled in the wake of Loxley’s destruction. He returns from Crusade with his own new identity and purpose—but no absolution.
When the two boyhood lovers next cross paths, it is in a brutal, blindfolded game of foxes and hounds, one pitting Templar assassin against Heathen outlaw. And as Robyn discovers his sister Marion is still alive, the game turns.
Thwarted kings of a breaking realm, Robin Hood and Guy de Gisbourne must restore the Maiden to her rightful place—and manage to not destroy each other in the process.

With a truly original take on the Robin Hood legends, this historical fantasy series sets Robin the outlaw archer as a queer, chaotic-neutral druid; Marion as pagan queen who is sister but not wife, and their consort a Christian--and thusly conflicted--nobleman.

728 pages, Kindle Edition

First published September 8, 2013

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About the author

J. Tullos Hennig

8 books109 followers
J Tullos Hennig likes BIG books.

Her award-winning historical fantasy series, The Books of the Wode, is BIG... and a truly innovative re-imagining of the Robin Hood legends, with the notorious outlaw archer as a queer, chaotic-neutral druid.

Active in genre literature and conventions in the 70s/80s/90s, JTH returned to the publishing fold in 2013, and in 2018 was chosen to receive the Speculative Literature Foundation’s juried Older Writers Grant.

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5 stars
211 (57%)
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108 (29%)
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37 (10%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 70 reviews
Profile Image for XiaXia.
Author 6 books172 followers
August 29, 2020
Edit August 2020: Considering that I found out how Wyldingwode ends, book 2 is the end of the series for me.


I'm still trembling with the adrenaline of the last chapters, so this review will be quick.

This is a Masterpiece.

The author has taken myth, history, folklore and legend and has woven them into a literary masterpiece. And yes, this is the best Robin Hood story every written. Fight me!

Thank you to my buddy-reading friends who have held my hand till the end of this book.
Profile Image for Moony Eliver.
309 reviews163 followers
February 9, 2020
4.5 stars. I read fiction for so many reasons, but I’m almost always looking for an emotionally immersive experience. To that end, I seek out a certain kind of book… one that I can’t really describe, but I know when I see it. (Yeah, that’s possibly the most unhelpful sentence in existence.)

But the point is, I didn't predict that this series was the kind I gravitate towards. I went into it not because it was my usual thing, but because of a raving endorsement from a trusted friend. And Teal, as it turns out, you could not have been more right. ;)

I found an immersive experience, indeed. Not just emotional, but adventurous, imaginative, and sumptuous. When I would begrudgingly set down my kindle, I found myself blinking a few times and wondering why I was hearing cars outside instead of horses clomping. Why I felt air coming from my vents instead of breezing through the trees.

Why my heart was beating like it had a vendetta with my ribs.

In a retelling like this, you might be tempted to think that the characterizations have been given a head start. Like you already know the people you’re going to read about. Maybe you’ve heard one, or dozens, or zero tales about Robin Hood, but regardless, I assure you that you don’t know *these* characters yet. They were developed as dimensionally as you could hope for, with no leaning on mythos for shortcuts. This includes both the main and peripheral characters, and even extends to the substantive personality written into the animals, who are as much a part of the characters’ lives as the air they breathe.

It’s only with characters like this — ones I grow to know, ones that jump off the page and slap me or kiss me or both — that I can lose myself in their adventures. I have not long considered myself a fantasy reader, and this has been why. I suppose I had several past experiences that convinced me of fantasy being more about plot and escapades than about characters and relationships, and my priority is decidedly the latter. But CLEARLY I had chosen poorly, because my experiences with fantasy over the past year have been amazing. And this is the story that has finally made me stop eschewing the fantasy genre.

I have to note, because I’m me and I can’t not, that this book isn’t perfect. I had pacing niggles in the last 20%, and there were one or two too many contrived plot elements for my liking. (IMO, those were more present here than in book 1.)

But. My decision to round up was easy, because living with these characters over the last week has been so thrilling that the letdown now is real. The last three books, which I’ll be LIVING come the end of April, will conclude with the series finale due to be released on May 1st.

Rob and Gamelyn (fight me, I’ll never call him Guy) are the latest addition to my couples hall of fame. They’re ones that I’ll revisit again and again, and I can’t wait.

Thanks, as always, to my fab buddy readers (Ele, Linda, Rosa, Shile, Teal, Xia) — this one would have been torturous not to be able to discuss, and you added so much to the experience!
Profile Image for Elena.
848 reviews93 followers
August 29, 2020
29/08/2020 update, after finishing the series

I can’t in good conscience let this review stand as it is. I loved the first two books, as it shows in my enthusiastic reviews, but after finishing the entire series, I need to add a warning to anybody reading this.
Read this series, absolutely do it, it is worth it. BUT stop at the end of the second book. There will be some loose ends and things you’d like to see resolved, but it’s a good stopping point and my advice is to walk away from the series there because there are few answers given in the following books, especially the last two, and those that are given are insufficient and/or in no way coherent with the characterization of the first two books.
Don’t stay around to see an amazing story get ruined, walk away with the good memories still intact.
4.5 stars

If I made a list of all the tropes I dislike, this book would have several of them. After finishing Greenwode, I hoped some things wouldn’t happen in Shirewode, but they did. Almost every one of them, and they got dragged longer than I would’ve ever expected. Not only that, things I didn’t contemplate and that I usually hate happened, too.

Now look at my rating and ask me if I care.

This book wasn’t perfect. The ending was a bit rushed after a slow (and very good) set up leading to the main events and a couple of things seemed too convenient and forced, just put there because they were needed later or less complex and nuanced that I expected, when the explanations arrived.

Again, look at my rating and ask me if I care.

I do care, a little, that’s why the 4.5 stars. But I never considered not rounding up, because this book takes the prize on the sheer force of the emotions it evoked.

It made me feel all the feelings.

The bad, the good, the worst, the great. I was right there with the characters, feeling everything with them and a lot more on their behalf.
I was anxious, angry, relieved, heartbroken, I laughed at odd moments because the humor came out of nowhere most of the time, I hoped and worried when things turned bad and melted when they turned right. It was a wild ride and even if I can’t say I enjoyed every moment of it, there isn’t much I would change, certainly not one of these amazing characters.
I’m only too happy to have still books to spend with them and with all my amazing buddy readers (Linda, Moony, Rosa, Shile, Teal and Xia), who make the journey even better. A special, very grateful, thanks to Linda and Teal. I would’ve missed all of this without you and it would’ve been such a shame.
Profile Image for Teal.
608 reviews203 followers
February 10, 2020
The Wode Book 1 + The Wode Book 2 = The best reading experience I've had in the last 25 years.

And how am I supposed to write a review of THAT? Well, since I'm in the throes of a book hangover of epic proportions and won't be able to read anything else for a while, I'll at least have the time available to give it a try...
Profile Image for Linda ~ they got the mustard out! ~.
1,631 reviews112 followers
August 29, 2020

Reread review:

What a complicated mess our hearts could make.

And oh, what a complicated, beautiful, enchanting mess this is. If the first book was complex and deep, this takes those elements and raises the stakes.

Robyn and Gamelyn have grown up. They're not the star-eyed lads they used to be, though they're still every bet as star-crossed. Marion's had her own trials, though of a different - but no less harrowing - nature, and the events of Samhain that ended the previous book continue to have repercussions for all of them.

The images and themes of life/death/rebirth are prevalent throughout, seen in the ways the characters remember - or don't remember - and how they cope with their various wounds, be those physical, emotional or spiritual in nature. It's fascinating to see how they've changed - and how they've stayed the same - even if some of their coping skills leave me whimpering and rocking in a corner. But it's not all dire, since there's a humor that runs throughout the books that peaks out at unexpected places, and there's plenty to cheer about as well. This is fantasy as it should be.

Thanks for another awesome BR Teal, Elena, Moony, Shile and Rosa.

Original review:

Now this is more like it. I'm endlessly fascinated by this series and what the author has envisioned for these characters, and it has me wanting to read the original Robin Hood tales or maybe even suffer through Kevin Costner's lack-of-accent again. I want to know which characters - aside from the main, well-known ones - are part of the original tales and which ones are original characters to these stories, if any are. I'm also enjoying trying to figure out which characters will end up being who - as for instance, Friar Tuck. :D

I'm also pleased with how things turned out with Robyn and Gamelyn. They both had long, arduous - and separate - journeys to go on in this book in order to come back together again, so getting to see them grow up, as it were, away from each other was pretty neat. I especially like that Marion also gets her own story here, though I thought it took a little too long to come back around to her after the prologue. Still, her "reintroduction" was well-done, and Ms. Henning keeps all these threads well-balanced. It's a complicated, complex story, mixing history (The Crusades), fantasy (the old gods), and legends of our own times (the Knights Templar, and of course Robin Hood himself). And since this wasn't about two boys falling in love, but two men learning to trust again, there was much less sex and a lot more plot, and when there was sex it was plot-relevant and character-driven.

Ross Pendleton again narrates this one and does a stellar job. The only thing that can be rather confusing - until you realize what's going on - is the transitions between what's going on in the real world and what's going on in the otherworld or when the characters are having dreams or visions. In the books, these sections are italicized, but there's just no easy way to make that kind of distinction in audio format without using things like echo settings or, IDK, chimes to mark the beginning and ending of each section. Frankly, I'd rather just be confused until I figure it out than have to put with that nonsense. ;-)

PS: For those only listening to the audiobooks - you're missing the short stories at the end of each book. They're not very long and you don't miss anything vital by not reading them, but they do provide some extra character insights and whatnot.

Since it's been over three years since this audiobook came out, and two years since book 3 was released, I'm sadly not holding my breath that the last two books will be released in audio any time soon, so I'll be reading those.
Profile Image for Cristina.
Author 28 books95 followers
April 4, 2020
A sword and a dagger he wore by his side,
Of manye a man the bane;
And he was clad in his capull-hyde
Topp and tayll and mayne
‘I dwell by dale and downe,’ quoth hee,
‘And Robin to take I’me sworne;
And when I am callèd by my right name
I am Guy of good Gisborne.

Thus the famous Child Ballad chronicles the encounter between Robyn Hood and his sworn enemy Guy of Gisbourne. But who is Guy? Is he just Robyn's nemesis and hunter?

J. Tullos Hennig takes the legend, folklore and literary sources and, just like she did in Greenwode, injects them with narrative twists and a new sense of life and freedom.

Taking up from the shocking cliffhanger of the first book in the series, Shirewode moves ahead in time to find the main characters scattered around and scarred by the fire that devoured Loxley and their own lives.

The way the novel crosses their paths in an inextricable tynged is simply marvellous. In turns tense, complex, frustrating, passionate and romantic, Shirewode has all the marks of a great classical saga. Plot-driven and character-driven, but also meditative and profound, it drives the story forward by mixing and messing up any reader's previous knowledge or expectations about this well-known story.

And the characters! The three apexes of the main triangle (Robyn-Gamelyn-Marion or rather the Horned Lord-the Summerling-the Maid) are so intricate and powerful that each page seemed to add yet another layer of complexity to their characterisation. The secondary characters, however, are also amazing. The band of Merry Men sharing Robyn's outlaw life in the woods is rich in fascinating touches. John with his quiet, steadfast loyalty, Will and his boisterous behaviour, Gilbert and his fascinating background... I'd be hard-pressed to pick my favourite one amongst them. The villains are satisfyingly cruel, animated by a hatred that takes on many nuances, from siblings' rivalry to religious fanaticism and thirst for power.

There were perhaps a few passages that would have benefited from tighter editing, but the book is otherwise so solid and its characters so fascinating that I would never give it anything less than a full star rating.

Profile Image for Rosa.
677 reviews6 followers
February 3, 2020
I don't know what to say apart from, if you haven't read this series, what are you waiting for?
I'm officially trapped on The Wode. This world and characters are so layered and complex than nothing I could say would made them justice.
The writting is as good as in the first book but this is more action packed than the previous one. We're faced again with old foes and friends, and for a moment, it looks like there's no way forward possible.

Since I finished this in the early hours of Sunday, I haven't been able to stop thinking in this world and characters, and I'm really grateful to my fellow buddy readers, Cristina, Ele, Linda, Moony, Shile, Teal and Xia for this awesome journey, thank you for leading me to this awesome series. I'm looking forward to coment still some more.
Profile Image for Rhosyo BW.
142 reviews
November 9, 2021
April 2020
5 stars for Characters and Story!

Everyone knows the leyend of Robin Hood with its multiple adaptations but, after reading and falling in love with this Shirewode, I truly can't Imagine any other version as good as these books.
These characters will definitely stay with me for a while.

I love any Celtic-culture related story, and this one was outstanding!

August 2020
After reading many of my GR friends’ experiences with the next books, I’ll stop reading here. I won’t be reading the next books... too much angst and drama in a way I think I won’t be able to find the characters’ voices as I pictured them.
The duology was beautiful❤️
Profile Image for Carole Cummings.
Author 32 books224 followers
September 10, 2013
1) A love of words and how they’re put together
2) An appreciation for in-depth characterization
3) An admiration for grand, striking world-building
4) The ability to just let go and let the author take you where the story leads
5) Oh, and a nice long chunk of available time to read without interruption

These are the things you’ll need to appreciate the ‘Wode series the way it should be appreciated. And I’m serious about that last—don’t read this on the bus to work; don’t read it while you’re working out at the gym; don’t try to squeeze in 15 minutes on your lunch break. Set aside a weekend, stock up on snacks and comfy pillows, send the kids off to the grandparents and your SO off to… wherever your SO goes, turn off your phone and just… sink in.

This series is a story of so many things—right and wrong, whose truth matters when it comes to “right” and “wrong”, who has a right to decide who God is and what God wants of us, whether or not "right" or "wrong" has anything to do with love, politics and family and love and betrayal… There are so many Big Picture aspects to this story, all brought ’round and intersected with the smaller picture lives of the three main characters. It’s a testament to the author’s knowledge of the history and her skill with words that all of these aspects intersplice to mean something, to speak to the reader in ways that touch the heart and tweak at our own moral ambiguities, make us think them through and name them, define them so we may understand them better, and through them relate to each character, be they “good” or “bad”. We may not agree with the villains in this story—or even the heroes sometimes, for that matter—but the author makes sure we know why they are who they are, the history that made them, and she leaves us the opportunity to understand them if we so choose.

I’m not sure many understand the skill that takes. Then again, as readers, we don’t really need to; all we need to do is sink in, let the words wrap around us and take us away into the worlds of Rob and Guy and Marion, take their hands and let them show us, listen to them as they tell us, feel with them while they break our hearts and rebuild them.

This series is not merely words on a page. It’s an experience. Often painful, at times infuriating, sometimes frustrating, occasionally sensually erotic, and always, always sensuously authentic. It’s an experience that demands to be experienced. Let it pull you in.
Profile Image for MLE  .
Author 3 books88 followers
October 30, 2015
Loving these. Review to come when I'm feeling more reviewerish.
Profile Image for Jesse.
219 reviews
September 10, 2016
A few years have passed since the events at Loxley that forever changed the lives of Rob, Gamelyn, and Marion (not to mention several others). Each, in his or her own way, is lost...stumbling toward their destiny...toward their tynged. The game isn't over yet, not by a long shot.

Gamelyn--now Sir Guy de Gisbourne--returns to his homeland from the Crusades. Rob--now Robyn--rules the Shire Wode and has grown into the Robyn Hood of lore. Marion is in the last place one would think to look for her, drifting, waiting for the Archer and the Knight to set her free.

Once again, J Tullos Hennig does not disappoint. On the contrary, Shirewode knocks it out of the park for me. This book is wonderfully strong and satisfying and very much a story in its own right; not just a continuation of Greenwode, but something more. Something so much better.

First, there is the story itself. Plenty of twists and turns, and the whole gamut of emotions. This is a story that draws you in, invests you in its outcome. I read this book much more slowly than most books I read simply because I did not want it to end. It's that good. The struggles, triumphs, and failures of the characters really endeared them to me.

Which brings me to the characters. I am big on characters, and character development. It's one of my favorite parts of reading, and loving, a new book. And there is much to love, here. We get glimpses into the personality of each of the 'band of merry men' (no small feat, to cover this many characters and make them all seem vivid and unique). And Little John, of course...there is definitely a spot in my heart for John. His quiet strength, his knowledge that things just are the way they are (I confess I want to give him the biggest hug). Marion is another one whom I want to hug. To say she 'steals the show' isn't fair, because she doesn't really steal the show in the meaning of detracting from other characters. She definitely doesn't take anything away from Robyn and Gamelyn, yet she builds on their relationship...and shines brightly on her own...in a way that is really brilliant. Once again I echo my comments from Greenwode in saying that many stories which have a male-male love interest at the forefront generally don't have any really vivid female characters. Well, this story does, and just like its predecessor, it has more than one! Marion is the type of person you'd always want on your side. And Siham is also a great character...I definitely liked her too.

And then, of course, there's Robyn and Gamelyn. As a couple, they're irresistible. It is so satisfying to read a love story that goes the way I want it to. So many times I read stories, or watch movies, that come close, but are missing something. This story isn't missing anything. Robyn's and Gamelyn's relationship is too complicated to sum up in one word...but the combination of love and rivalry is heady, to say the least. Incendiary, is more like it! They are both strong, rugged, 'strapping' lads if you will...which really makes it so satisfying to see them paired together, because it is an amazing pairing.

I'll probably come back and add more to my review later...I just finished the book today, and I'm still mesmerized by the whole story...so more points will come to me later. Anybody who likes adventure, daring, lots of plot twists, emotions that get right in there and squeeze mercilessly at your heart and soul...then you have to read this book.

Someday, my dream would be to write something even half as good as this. Shirewode, along with Greenwode, are at the very top of my list of all-time favorite books, and I know I will read them over and over again. This book choked me up a few times...and also made me cheer twice as much. I love Robyn and Gamelyn and Marion and their adventures and sincerely hope we will see more of them :)
Profile Image for Jax.
865 reviews35 followers
November 6, 2013
I don't have the words to do these books justice. This has been a reading experience like no other. I've come to love all of these characters and am so sad to leave them now, but it's been a glorious, unforgettable, epic adventure and I am totally and completely satisfied by this conclusion. I am grateful to the author for giving me this wonderful gift.
Profile Image for Alison.
771 reviews29 followers
May 19, 2017
ETA: My fourth time reading this, and it's even more riveting now. Completely enthralling.

Incredibly good! I loved this so much! This series is so special to me. This is the second book in a superb historical fantasy series that re-imagines the Robin Hood myths. It does not stand alone, so do read the first book, Greenwode, before getting into this one. Pretty much everything I said about the first book applies to this one as well: amazing storytelling, amazing characters, amazing characterisation, amazing secondary characters, amazing historical setting, amazing writing, amazing feeling, amazing depth, and so on and so on. It's awesome and so well done.

We catch up with our three heroes a few years after the end of the first book and things have changed a lot. They all lost everything and are not at all the same people they were in the first book, and, by circumstance or necessity, have since become Robyn Hood, badass outlaw forest lord and Sir Guy de Gisbourne, badass Templar assassin just back from the Crusades (and I won't talk about Marion because that's not in the blurb). This is a grand, epic story, full of excitement and adventure and magic and love and darkness and so much feeling. It's very satisfying and a vivid reading experience, and the story is not over yet. As with the other books in this series (so far), this is on the long side (over 170,00 words/550 pages), but it never feels long and it's very well paced. It's even better on re-reading. I love that the female characters in this series have agency and are interesting, important people in their own right. I feel like I understand all these characters so well, and they are so well drawn and so real. This series is completely all-consuming and has a special place in my heart. I think it's stunningly good.
Profile Image for Serena Yates.
Author 98 books768 followers
January 19, 2020
This second book of the retelling of the legend of Robin Hood is as fascinating and thought-provoking as the first. It is actually far more than a retelling or a reinterpretation, and that becomes more obvious as this series progresses. J Tullos Hennig has taken the basics of the stories as we know them and has built a whole new world around that foundation, including magic and a complete spiritual lore. This series presents the battle of the Pagans versus the encroaching Catholic church in a new light, one that sounds very plausible to me. I was as fascinated and impressed with the story and the world in this second installment as I was in the first.

Please find my full review of the third edition on
Profile Image for Paul.
648 reviews
March 8, 2017
Audiobook Production 5 STARS

As a lover of fantasy and high fantasy Shirewode (The Wode #2) is not the kind of novel I"d usually gravitate towards as I'm not a fan of Robyn Hood, but this was just fantastic.

I had absolutely no idea that book #1 Greenwode, was setting the scene for book #2 to become a M/M take on the tale of Robyn Hood.

It is extremely well written and the narration is excellent. The MC's obviously make this book because they're just so strong in their convictions due to such great writing and are both larger than life. When you have a headstrong young druid that's just received his pagan birth rite that falls for the son of a king who is educated in the ways of the new religion and is pious to boot, well lets just say things get interesting. They were also quite young when they meet too, but as they grow older that's when the trouble begins in earnest.

The other main players are also fantastic which is something I personally enjoy a lot within a long book, and by not keeping it too insular character wise within such an epic it enriches it for me. The extra personalities made this book shine, as do all the delicately woven sub-plots that keep branching out and coming together so well.

What begins as angsty young love between a druid boy and a christian prince soon changes to star crossed lovers and moves on from angst to tortured souls. They're extremely sad but also funny at times but in general they're really quite heart wrenching.
Profile Image for Euraylie.
140 reviews25 followers
May 3, 2014
This is one of those stay-awake-until-3am-reading-on-a-work-day books.
It's also one of those books where you are at loss afterwards as to what to read next. You won't want to leave this wonderful world and its characters behind.

I've become somewhat stingy with my five-star ratings, but if there is one book that deserves one, it's "Shirewode".
Absolutely gorgeous and epic. I was reading with my heart in my mouth the entire time.

I loved the first part, but consider it more of a beautiful, extended prologue to this fantastic story. We got to know all the characters in the "Greenwode"; all the pieces were moved into place so we could have this highly original, meticulously researched and beautifully written reinterpretation of the Robin Hood myth with a m/m twist.

And speaking of the m/m element...I adored the twisted, heart-wrenching, wonderful romance. It's definitely not you're typical lovers/rivals with all the gods against them tale.

I'm so glad the author hinted that there may be a continuation of their story in the future.

A last quick note, this series has been described as "fantasy" by some, and I know some m/m readers may be bit wary of the genre, but "Greenwode" and "Shirewode" are definitely more magical realism than fantasy, as the story is very much set in 12th century England.
Profile Image for Abi Walton.
572 reviews36 followers
June 23, 2018
on my second re-read of this incredible series I have to admit that I think I love this series more the second time round. I was captivated again by the Wode and the struggles of Gamelyn, Robyn and Marion go through. On the second read I felt more for Gamelyn than any other, even with the ice covering his heart and the grief clouding his vision.
Shirewode is set three years after the devastation that the first book finishes on, and the repercussions of this tragedy. Gamelyn, now Guy of Gisborne is a hard and unfeeling Templar who has been asked to take down the Wolfhead called Robyn Hood. Guy feels as though Rob's place has been filled by someone undeserving and grief and pain cloud his judgement. I really felt for Gisborne as he struggles to hide from what he did all those years ago when he was nieve and young and trusted the ones around him.
Robyn on the other hand still believes Gamelyn betrayed him and is brought back from the brink of death to seek revenge for his family. However three years later he believes Gamelyn to be dead at the Crussades and he has become head of the notorious group of Wolfheads, many who we encountered in the first book.

Robyn is still devoted to Gamelyn and their love for each other makes this book extremely special. The lengths these two will go to to be with one another had me on tenterhooks the whole way through even on my second read.
Before I re read these novels I found out there is to be another three books to this incredible series and I cannot wait to get my hands on them. This series has captured me and I could easily start reading the books again for a third time. Each time I delve into the Wode series I am always finding things that I have missed, foreshadowing that I had not understood on the first read through. Now these books sparkle with the magic of the wode and I will forever treasure them.
II would recommend this series to anyone who enjoys myth, folk-law, a twist to a tale and Historical Romance. I can promise you that if you buy these books you will not be disappointed.
Profile Image for The Novel Approach.
3,082 reviews135 followers
September 8, 2013
Epic is such an overused word, but that’s what this series is. It is bigger than the confines of the page. It is grand and glorious and a feast for anyone who loves the mythological adventure of heroes and heroines, enemies and villains, the battle of good and evil, the tales of those who know that without endings there can be no beginnings. Just as without beginnings, there can be no journey, no trials, no foes to best, no need for heroes, nothing to fight for and nothing to gain. J. Tullos Hennig’s storytelling is dense with imagery and lush with the obvious love of the legends around which her artistry pays perfect compliment.

The Wode series, without a doubt, is well on its way to making my list of Top Picks for 2013.

You can read the rest of this review at The Novel Approach
Profile Image for Lindsay M..
274 reviews6 followers
May 22, 2016
This series is all consuming, and I can't ask for much more than that from a reading experience.

I feel as if I've been on a lifetime of adventure with Robyn and Gamelyn. J. Tullos Hennig creates such a breathtaking world that makes it impossible to accomplish anything but hours and hours of reading and escapism.

These books are long, and many times I'm presented with unfamiliar vocabulary and language, but that only takes me deeper into the story. The characters have been created with such finesse and their personalities unique and unforgettable.

I almost don't want to read any other reviews, because this series touches me deeply, and any negativity sent its way will get under my skin. And I know this isn't for everyone.

It's truly a labor of love when an author puts this much effort into bringing a story to life.
Profile Image for retro.
359 reviews1 follower
August 13, 2016
Liked it a lot better than Greenwode. Tighter plot, far more action, fewer vision quests. The bad guys got what they had coming to them and the ending, unlike in the previous book, was not some ridiculous cliffhanger.

Could have done with more from Marion, but then I'm one to always be rooting for the Maiden. Gamelyn/Guy and Rob/Robyn have finally achieved that level of maturity where they can kick each other's asses and still be in love: entirely my cup of tea.

Finally, it's really nice to read a gay romance that's both filled with adventure and tension, and still focuses on the love story.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Serena Yates.
Author 98 books768 followers
January 19, 2020
This second book of the retelling of the legend of Robin Hood is as fascinating and thought-provoking as the first. It is actually far more than a retelling or a reinterpretation, and that becomes more obvious as this series progresses. J Tullos Hennig has taken the basics of the stories as we know them and has built a whole new world around that foundation, including magic and a complete spiritual lore. This series presents the battle of the Pagans versus the encroaching Catholic church in a new light, one that sounds very plausible to me. I was as fascinated and impressed with the story and the world in this second installment as I was in the first.

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Profile Image for Hemmel M..
590 reviews37 followers
April 28, 2020
I started Greenwode and loved how original it was in language and story. Beautiful characters. Borrowing the names from the Robin Hood ballads lessened the originality, in my opinion.
The Shirewode was strong until it catched up with the RH stories. Then it became just another retelling. Predictable and thus boring. I can reread the final battle at Hogward a dozen times and be thrilled, although knowing the end. In Shirewoood, from approximately 50%, I knew the rest and was bored.
Profile Image for Maria.
16 reviews
March 17, 2023
another example that stories based on middleages' ballads and tales are still able to capture the essence of what we know long gone but cry about that beauty buried in the past. despite the age of the source materials, we can't but wonder how many of issues shown in the story (social inequality, neglect of women rights, religious intolerance) are present in our times even now.
Profile Image for Pixie Mmgoodbookreviews.
1,206 reviews43 followers
September 11, 2013
4 1/2 Hearts

Review written for MM Good Book Reviews

This story is part of a series and must be read in order. Robyn Hood is making the nobles pay where it hurts most, in their pockets and their dignity, Robyn and his band of outlaws harry the nobles until the nobles turn to the Templar's for aid... where Robyn will face his greatest challenge. Guy of Gisbourne is back from the Crusades with his fellow Templar's, when he is given the task of hunting the wolfshead who has claimed the Shirewode as his own, Guy has his own personal reasons to halt the outlaw... but he discovers far more than he bargained for. Marion is in Nottingham with the Abbess lost to all that once was, but meeting the Templar she discovers just who she is and what she once was... and the vengeance beating in her heart.

At the end of Greenwode we saw how three youths lives were ripped apart, the bloody massacre that destroyed all that they loved and the fates that each were left to. Now they are 3 years older and the time has come for them to reunite. Robyn was born of Rob, he is the avatar of the Horned Lord and bids his time for his revenge, unable to forget all he lost. Robyn does what he can for those of Shirewode and now the final battle is about to begin when the Templar returns to England. Guy was born of Gamelyn, a man who has forged himself in battle and never looks back refusing to remember what he lost and burying the boy he was. Guy does Templar justice but now the time has come to face the past. Marion has been lost to herself for over three years, terrifying nightmares are all that linger of the past. Marion is about to awaken.

This is an absolutely fantastic story that weaves history and folklore into a wonderful tale that has danger, heartbreak and faint hope. We see what has become of our three young people after the night that tore them apart, we see how each of them have continued with life. As we progress through the story we discover that Robyn hasn't changed all that much but the scars linger deep. With Guy, we find that he is completely different to the Gamelyn we took to our hearts, and is now a man who is hardened by battle and has buried his heart. With Marion we discover a lost soul who will enact vengeance once her memory is returned to her.

The dance we see through this story of both Robyn and Guy is fascinating, just what will become of them as they face each other as enemies? Will they ever rediscover their friendship and love? Or has the past forged them into foes forever? We fall headfirst back into this incredible story as J Tullos Hennig weaves the incredible Robin Hood folklore with the Greenman, bringing the Templar's into play and making an incredible story come to life. We see danger and death, regret and hope, lost dreams and new beginnings and every step of the way we see the internal conflict of both Robyn and Guy. The lengths these young people go to when faced with insurmountable odds is daunting, but with the backing of the Horned God and the Lady they all might live to see another day.

I recommend this to those who love historical's mixed with legends, conflict and hope, reemerging feelings, justice, vengeance and the reuniting of a couple which is far from smooth sailing.
Profile Image for Christopher Moss.
Author 10 books25 followers
March 11, 2014
As an inveterate Robin Hood nut, I was bound to love this book and I did. My favorite rendition of The Hooded Man before this was the British series with its satisfying dose of Paganism. I found that here too, but in this and the earlier novel the added bonus of Rob being gay just pretty much made it perfect. How delightful then to find Rob's old lover returned as the world weary crusader knight and learn his name, "Sir Guy of Gisbourne" deliciouslyy a Templar knight , te cherry atop the sundae.
It is a few years after the cataclysmic events of GREENWODE. Rob, Marian and Gamelin all survived, but none knows that the others have as well. Alone, they have variously coped with the heavy burden of the disaster the Abbess visited on them and their folk. Rob has allowed the earthy but not earthly Lord to rule his actions. Marian is under the Abbess's eye at the convent, having lost her memory. Gamelin departed for France where he joined the Knights Templar and fought in the Third Crusade. Rob is now the Robin Hood we all recognize, driving the Sheriff of Nottingham batty. The sheriff asks for help from the Templars, and they send one of their best trackers, a knight who is none other than Gamelin, rechristened Guy of Gisbourne. Seeing her brother's old lover sparks recall in Marian, and together they learn that Rob is also alive and is the very man Guy is expected to hunt down.
My former practice of paganism really enlightened so much of the imagery and archetypes in this lyrical interpretation of the Robin Hood legend. The Three, a pagan precursor to Trinity, is there in the siblings and Guy. The Three must come together for the natural world to function, but in paganism it isn't all sweetness and light but, like nature, is savage and impersonal. I said it before and I'll say it again, this is the best Robin Hood I have ever read.
Much of the time the book is quite painful, unless that's just because these characters have so long been so important to me. The heartache they all suffered and still do and the evil in the name of the "God of Love" is hard to bear. But between the carefully woven natural spirituality of paganism and some exquisite prose like the following"
The stones lay beyond him, looking like a thrown set of thick, gray bones across the clearing. The far copse bordering them still bore traces of blackened, fire-stunted trees, but the green Wode was covering man’s follies as she always did, a steady encroachment upon the scarred land. She seemed to wait, silent patience.
The sum total left me breathless. I read a phenomenal number of books in a year, most being good but not artistry. Hennig's books have been among the aesthetic pleasures of my recent intellectual life.
Profile Image for Elaine White.
Author 41 books237 followers
May 8, 2017
Book 2: Shirewode
POV: 3rd person, multi-character
Pages: 390
Star rating: ★★★★☆

To be quite honest, after the mixed-feelings book 1 left me with, I really wasn't sure I wanted to go ahead with this book. I mean, I've always been fascinated by the Templars, so that helped inspire me to keep going, but I just really didn't want to re-enter the whole “will-they-wont-they” drama that had the possibility to be a total rehash of book 1, just older, not-wiser and with new ego's and challenges to keep them apart. By the end of book 1, my only thought was “see if Gamelyn reunites with Rob and still has a crisis of religion/confidence and “I don't know”, I'm going to break something.”

Thankfully, this was the “Robin Hood” inspired story I was looking for with book 1, which actually is more like a “how Rob became Robin” story. The story in this book was much more original, much more what I'd expected of a book about Robin Hood and had more natural twists and turns.

There are some things that are the same as the previous book – inconsistent italics for dreams and present tense for dreams/prelude/postude etc; the timeline is confusing and inconsistent, as explained more below; there is a really badly placed short story that comes after the four pages of End Notes, which lasts from 95-98% and doesn't belong at the back of the story.

The story “Solus” should actually be at the start of the book or right at the end of book 1, while the story at the end of book 1 should have been at the start of this book, too. It can't be a matter of page/word count, because it's included regardless, only in the strangest place and where it makes no sense. In fact, the story doesn't give anything away that would ruin a shock in the novel of Shirewood, but actually makes sense of a lot and feels like it was added at the end as an after thought.

The characters were the same as before – I loved Rob and Gamelyn, like Marion and Will, loved John and Much. I want to see more of John and Much, would be intrigued to find out if Siham is staying with Gilbert and whether Will and Much will fight over Marion. I love that John doesn't say much, but that he and Rob understand each other anyway (and, in Solus, this is actually explained much more to my liking, though it would have been much better to have it within the actual story). Just as the cover tells us, Marion is now in the grip of the Abbess for most of the story and that was a great twist, however I still felt that she was the least interesting/important character of the whole story and has she only kept her trap shut, half of the awful things that happened would never have happened. Guy (Gamelyn, by his new name) is a lot more vicious than Gamelyn ever could have been and doesn't snivel nearly as much, but I much preferred the inbetween of who he became after being reunited with Robyn, than the purely empty, mechanical Guy he'd been before that. And, as ever, Robyn was even more cunning that before.

In the blurb (at the back of book 1, not the one on Goodreads) it says that Rob believes Gamelyn is dead, yet he acts as though he knows Gamelyn isn't dead for most of the book, bothers to ask Johan about him and gets an answer that isn't an outright “dead” and even his God doesn't say that he's dead. So, I felt a bit cheated by that, because if he was grieving for Gamelyn that would make sense of how he'd been behaving, but it was quite clear that he didn't believe Gamelyn had betrayed them, didn't believe him dead and this whole set up, from book 1 had me wondering what I was missing. And the answer? Solus. If that piece had just been at the beginning of the story like it should have been, or the ending of book 1, as it would probably fit there better, then none of that confusion would have been necessary.

However, it was really annoying and confusing to think of Gamelyn by another name; at least Rob's new name of Robyn is similar enough to avoid confusion. Though, instead of acting like horny teenagers, they act like 30 year old war-hardened men, when the reality is so different. They embrace their hate for each other, rather than admitting to what they really feel. Similarly, most of the characters are more mature, more forgiving of their sins, more accepting of who they really are, but Robyn and Gus still shy away from what they once were.

Once again, the timeline is confusing. In Chapter 1, we see Gamelyn taking up his place as a Templar squire, who claims that he's sixteen. He never disputes this and it's never implied in the story that it's wrong. So, for Gamelyn to be 16 now, he would have had to mean that Rob nor Gamelyn were only eleven years old at the beginning of Chapter 1 of that book. It doesn't explain to me why this wasn't clarified at the time, because back in the 1100's it was perfectly normal for people to have sex from thirteen and up, so the fact that these guys were sixteen when they were having sex is nothing to be squidgy about; it's still a legal age in countries nowadays. However, the fact that it was never clarified and the fact that there was no way to figure out the ages for ourselves until now, in book 2, left me with a whole lot of questions at the end of book 1 that could have easily been explained if I only knew what was happening with the timeline.

Overall, it was a much more well-rounded story, more consistent and intriguing than the disjointed storyline of book 1. The characters had evolved and, at times, I was able to actually enjoy the story rather than feeling bored by the predictability or caught up on the details that were never explained. I still find the timeline and consistency of “dreams” a real problem that I wish the author would decided one way or the other upon. It's one thing to switch POV's frequently, but it's another to switch between past and present tense, disorientating readers without any warning.
I cried, smiled and I loved the chemistry between John and Rob, Robyn and Guy, Marion and Much, Marion and Will, and the plot of this story was a vast improvement on the jumbled heap of twisted arcs that made up book 1. Though I love the premise of the story/series and characters, I find that the execution leaves a lot to be desired. By book 2, I'm willing to gauge that I won't be reading this author again, once the series is finished.


Favourite Quote

“Don't go there, Robyn Hood. You won't like what you see.”

“Say my name,” he pleaded. “Just tell me...tell me who I am.””

“Guy chuckled; it choked into a grimace. “I really am going to have to teach you how to use a sword some day.”
“I'll hold you to that, y' git. What were you thinking?”
“Not thinking. Like you,” Guy mumbled. His eyes rolled up in his head; he was shivering violently. “Guess was...my turn...to die...””
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