historical Novels Society, issue 83



The legend of Robin Hood, begun in the oral tradition during the medieval period, is retold here with a blending of history and legend. A.E. Chandler also wrote her graduate dissertation about Robin Hood, so don’t miss her historical notes at the end. The story begins with Robert carrying his bow through the forest to an archery competition. Possessing a bow in the forest is illegal to prevent poaching of the king’s deer. Young, naïve Robert meets a group of drunken foresters who dupe him into proving his archery skills. This ends badly with both a deer and a man dead. He becomes a fugitive in Sherwood Forest and is given the name of Robin Hood by the Sheriff of Nottingham. Robin Hood joins up with other outlaws and peasants down on their luck. His childhood love, Marian, also joins him. This band swore a code of honor “never to menace woman nor child, to always give aid to the poor, to be plain in their dealings, and to value all men at their true worth, regardless of rank… to fight fairly and lay down their lives for woman, king, or honest man.”

Each chapter is an episode of an adventure of Robin Hood and his merry men, and reading it felt like I was being told a story while sitting under the stars by the fire. There are Robin’s crafty schemes to steal from the rich, his kindness to the poor, and his cunning exploits to taunt the Sheriff then slip from his grasp. Marian is at his side, along with his merry men enjoying life fully and living by their code of honor. Their much-loved forest home is their sanctuary. I fell in love with Robin Hood and the idyllic home in the forest. This is a wonderful read.

— Janice Ottersberg
Historical Novels Society





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