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A Cold Summer Night: Trouble in the Forest    by Trystam Kith Amazon.com order for
Cold Summer Night
by Trystam Kith
Order:  USA  Can
Five Star, 2004 (2004)
Hardcover
*   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

My favorite animated Disney movie is Robin Hood. In it, the heroes are heroes and the villains are villains I always want to Boo whenever the Sheriff of Nottingham appears. And even though it does become a little bleak in the middle, you know the good guys will win and the bad guys will get their just desserts.

In A Cold Summer Night, first in his Trouble in the Forest series, Trystam Kith takes the classic Robin Hood legend and flips it completely around. The book starts out with a sense of foreboding that never leaves. A series of vampiric murders are ravaging Sherwood Forest. As the story unfolds, it slowly becomes clear that the leader of the vampires is none other than Robin Hood himself, and the hero of the story, Hugh deSteny, is Robin's greatest adversary the Sheriff of Nottingham. As Hugh tries to put an end to these dreadful killings, he loses more and more citizens to Robin Hood and his Merry Men.

Lately there has been a trend in retelling well-known tales from the bad guy's point of view. In these, the villain becomes rather likeable and the reader comes to understand the differences between the villain and the hero. Kith does succeed in making the Sheriff of Nottingham a sympathetic character and portraying Prince John as an intelligent ruler. However, in order to make Robin Hood unlikable, Kith turns him into a vampire. He also ends this first episode with absolutely no resolution. Hugh deSteny has just begun implementing the trap to draw Robin into the fair when the book abruptly ends with a short epilogue.

While I know how the legend of Robin Hood works out, I am very curious to see what Kith does with it. I think most readers who make it to this point will feel the same. Trystam Kith's A Cold Summer Night is an original read - one for those who like a little horror mixed with their fantasy, but not for the casual reader.

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