In a Dark Wood – Michael Cadnum

As with a few books I’ve gotten via Netgalley from Open Road Media, I have had a paperback copy of this book kicking around for-virtually-ever. It’s Robin Hood – of course I have. Though it is told from the point of view of the Sheriff, which has not been awfully successful in my experience… Still, it has had all sorts of acclaim and … well, Robin Hood. So much potential.

Unfortunately, this Sheriff is kind of a putz.

Sorry, but that’s the word that was uppermost in my mind throughout. He is completely overwhelmed by his wife (I think that was his wife); he frets about what to wear to go see an important visitor (“We want to seem comfortable, but manly”). He makes the visitor wait to make himself appear more important.

Michael Cadnum caused damage to a theory of mine, to wit: a boar hunt in a medieval or fantasy setting is going to result in the severe injury or death of a named character, or at least a dog. Not here, though – the only death is the boar’s. Oh well.

The writing is extremely self-conscious (“‘I know all about what goes on in the forest,’ she said, and long after her skitterish horse and nervous dogs had slipped by the carcass, her words hung round him like a necklace of thorns.” – What?), and in its self-consciousness is stiff and stolid, like … like a yokel dressed up in satin and paraded in front of an important visitor. Perhaps it is in an effort to give the story a grounding in reality that there are all sorts of bodily functions described needlessly (“The horse was stocky and shaggy. It shat…”)

This was not what I was looking for. Abandoned.

The usual disclaimer: I received this book via Netgalley for review.

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