The Blind Bowman 1: Shadow of the Wolf

The Blind Bowman 1: Shadow of the Wolf

By Author / Illustrator

Tim Hall


Myths & Legends

Age range(s)



David Fickling Books




Paperback / softback




Robin Hood is transformed.  Blinded by the Sheriff, he takes refuge in the ancient heart of Sherwood Forest, where primal powers and forgotten magicks reach out to him. But the wildwood itself is under threat, and the old gods face extinction. Only the blind bowman, Robin Hood, together with his soulmate, Marian, can stand against the forces of darkness . . .



Robin is seven years old, alone and frightened, abandoned by his father one night in the feared Sherwood Forest. Angry, lonely, and surviving on his wits, one day a young girl rushes across his path and their lives are entwined forever. Largely left to live as they please, they fill their days with adventure and dreams, staying in a derelict tower on her father's estate. But a life of utopia cannot go on forever and soon the harsh realities of the wider world and particularly the iron rule of the Sheriff changes the course of their lives forever.

This is the tale of Robin Hood and Maid Marian, but not as ever told before. A book of many parts, Shadow of the Wolf is a gripping read, and I was hooked from the outset. Who could fail to fall in love with the young Robin, abandoned and lonely, brought back to life and love by the vivacious and energetic Marian? Their childhood friendship and freedom they experience can only be described as idyllic after the tortuous and lonely existence Robin has lead after being abandoned by his loving family and comforting homelife.

I found the narrative changed midway through the book, in part three, entering into the magic, myth and folklore of old as Robin encounters the Gods or spirits of the woods. Possibly confusing at times, it is an integral part of the story, but I do feel less devoted readers may find it hard going. We are transported from the action, heartbreak, and humanity of the world, into a strange place, almost suspended in time and reality. Personally, I loved each part of the book, but this was the place my heart ached for Robin and all he could have been.

The book's characters and setting are solid and easy to imagine, as are the torture and punishments meted out to villagers, so be warned; this is not for the faint hearted.  Also included is a scene of what could be classed as sexual abuse, as well as later hints of the same.  They are however, handled very subtly such that they could be overlooked by the more innocent or misunderstood for what they are until later in the book, when events become clear. There is no foul language but instead rather well-described and sickening torture and violence throughout, which suits the time period.

I absolutely fell in love with Robin and Marian, as well as the gorgeous, lyrical description throughout of the wildwoods and the creatures that dwell there. Robin's use of their senses and spaces allows the reader to experience the woods and freedom of a more natural environment of olden times.

A mix of action, love, mystery, myth, horror, and nature I think teens will devour this book for the most part, perhaps only stumbling slightly in the middle. It is worth the read for what is to follow and with two sequels in the pipeline, I cannot wait to see what happens next. It reminds me slightly of the Chaos Walking trilogy, with its twists and turns, and places where you have to put the book down as the story has broken your heart. Highly recommended

448 pages /  Reviewed by Lorraine Ansell, school librarian

Suggested Reading Age 14+


It's always a thrill to find a new writer who can deliver a story with panache and integrity. In Tim Hall's debut, a retelling of the Robin Hood myth (published by David Fickling Books), you also have a talent for writing that is sure to see this book on plenty of award shortlists in the coming year.

Shadow of the Wolf traces how Robin Hood and Maid Marion are drawn together against a medieval backdrop of violence, the abuse of power and corruption where the poor struggle to survive. When Robin and Marion try to flee together, Robin is captured by the Sheriff of Nottingham, blinded and left to fend for himself in the vast and mysterious Sherwood Forest.

It's at this point that the story develops its own mythology as mythical characters and gods are brought forward to give Robin the knowledge and power he needs to survive and to help him to find Marion once again. Sherwood Forest, Robin Hood's home turf, becomes tinged with the wonder and sadness of the Norse myths that trace the end of the world and we wonder what the future is going to be for the forest and its gods. As Robin assumes his own mythical powers, he sets off once more in pursuit of Marion but in this story, it is Marion who demands revenge and we know that a final conflict between the Outlaws of Sherwood and the Sheriff and his men is inevitable, but we will have to wait until book two to find out what happens.

This is a multi-layered and intriguing story that will leave you breathing and hearing the smells and sounds of the great forest and willing Robin and Marion to survive. It will be enjoyed by confident readers aged 12+; I for one will be looking out for the follow-up.

450 pages / Ages 12+ / Reviewed by Melissa Chard

This review is taken from an earlier edition of Shadow of the Wolf

Suggested Reading Age 11+


Other titles