The Outlaws of Sherwood
by Robin McKinley
This version of the Robin Hood legend, from the novelist who brought us the award-winning The Hero and the Crown
and such book-length fairy tales as Deerskin
and Spindles End
, is an enthralling & uplifting account that combines believable detail from Richard Lionhearts England with compelling emotional insights into the characters of Robin and his merry band. It is a story full of danger and adventure, pain and sorrow, love stories and the bitter hatred between a greedy Norman sheriff and a band of Saxon outlaws. And though a strict retelling of the age-old tale is tempered by the authors own creative ideas, it also strikes many a well-loved chord.
Behold Robin: the son of a kings forester and a woodsman himself, an indifferent archer, no kind of idealist at all, but entirely practical and careful in all his ways. He loses his father, then his fathers small land holding, when he is barely a man himself. Then, goaded into a crime he didnt mean to commit, he becomes a hunted man, living off the kings deer in the kings forest of Sherwood, avoiding the kings foresters, and assembling a small band of similarly disfranchised people.
Behold Marian: a noblemans daughter, chafing against her fathers ambitions to marry her off to the richest man who will have her, chafing equally against Robins insistence that she stay away from him and from danger. He insists because he loves her; she disobeys, because she loves him.
Behold Much, a millers son who could almost talk the legs off a horse; Will Scarlet, a runaway nobles son who gives up a life of luxury to become an outlaw when his beloved sister is forced into a horrible marriage; Little John, a giant with a dark past and a grim outlook on life; Alan-a-dale, a completely absurd, lovesick minstrel; Tuck, the dog-loving, people-hating priest and friar; and the mysterious Cecil, whose explosive secret turns all of Greentree on its ear.
Behold, in addition, a wealth of colorful characters, a villain that will make your blood run cold, a non-stop plot that simmers with suspense and pops with action, a vein of merry humor, and a legendary forest in a legendary time that comes to life in such a way that you never doubt that it is real. And dont neglect the informative Afterword, which may give you some short-term reading goals from among the dozens of other books about Robin Hood, from which Ms. McKinley drew, and which she transformed in her own unforgettable way.
Recommended Age: 14+
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