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The Arrow of Sherwood Hardcover – November 2, 2013
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About the Author
Writing and telling stories has been Lauren's passion since she was a child. Since graduating in History from Oxford University she has pursued her interest in story-telling in her role as Research Manager for a historical interpretation company based at heritage sites including Hampton Court Palace, Dover Castle and the Tower of London. There, she had plenty of practice at immersing visitors in a living historical world - a skill she has now brought to the world of historical fiction in her first novel.
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Top customer reviews
Short review: I loved it. Longer review: One similarity that Johnson's Lord Locksley shares with the more traditional Robin Hood is that Robin is coming home from the Crusades to find Nottingham being slowly crushed by its rulers' greed. And Robin himself finds that he was thought dead and he no longer has the title to his own home, though his mother still lives in Locksley Hall - along with her new husband, Sir Walter Peverill, the Sheriff of Nottingham. In a nice twist, though, this sheriff is a decent fellow, and when Robin starts trying to do right by the commoners in Nottingham, Sir Walter is one of Robin's few overt supporters. Sir Walter also happens to be Marian's father. Marian and Robin were once betrothed, but Robin blew it (as they say), ended up being exiled to the Crusades after committing a murder in a drunken haze, and now Marian is betrothed to Sir Guy - who isn't exactly friendly with Robin, but is not his enemy either.
And Will Scarlette, by the way, is Robin's half-brother, and one who could pass as his identical twin. That's important later.
The enemies are the Viponts, the most powerful family in Nottingham, and allies of Prince John, who is the power behind the English throne while his brother King Richard is a prisoner in Germany. They are also the wards of Robin's nephew and the heir to Locksley Hall. In wanting to establish himself as a lord in Nottingham, Robin initially avoids reestablishing ties with commoners like John Blunt, who he knew and reveled with in his younger years, but the more abuses he sees perpetrated against them by the Viponts and their like, all done out of greed, the more Robin realizes he wants to help them. He tries working within the system first as a lord, but the more efforts he makes to help, the more he comes into conflict with the Viponts, until he begins shaping into the master of Sherwood Forest that fans of Robin Hood have known for centuries. His allies include Will, who can be seen as Robin while the real Robin is in the woods, and Marian, who grows closer to Robin again as he fights more and more for the people of Nottingham.
You're certainly not going to find a rehash of Errol Flynn (or Kevin Costner, or Russell Crowe) here, but I didn't want that anyway. What Johnson presents is a realistic Robin - one who found his courage in the Crusades and discovers his heart at home, one who is a thinking man when thinking needs to be done and takes action when action is required - amid a realistic late 12th century Nottingham. And one, who in the best spirit of the Robin Hood legend, needs Marion, Little John, Will Scarlette, Friar Tuck, and all the rest as much as they need him. I recommend The Arrow of Sherwood to anyone who enjoys Robin Hood or just good medieval fiction in general.