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The Adventures of Robin Hood

February 4, 2018
Robin Hood cover
Published: 12/1/1995
Page Count: 320
Robin Hood is champion of the poor and oppressed against the cruel power of Prince John and the brutal Sheriff of Nottingham. He takes refuge with his Merrie Men in the vast Sherwood Forest, emerging time and again to outwit his enemies with daring and panache. This classic version brings sense and clarity as well as excitement to the varied myths, ballads and legends about Robin's adventures.

Robin Hood hits dead center when it comes to excellence in fiction. It does not read like mid-twentieth century novel which it is. It feels much, much older. This is presumably due to the fine research which the author did in preparation for its composition. Reading this book one feels transported back to “Merry Old England”.

The story itself is a series of episodes which at times do not see strongly connected except for the fact that they further the legend of Robin Hood and his band of outlaws. Robin Hood himself is portrayed as unerringly chivalrous and nobel. He is not fighting against mere “the rich” as his reputation has come to suggest, but simply against Prince John and those not loyal to King Richard who for most of the novel is imprisoned somewhere after having fought in the Crusades.

The style is almost Shakespearean, though much easier to understand that that. The character’s motivations never waver and you can count on villains to be villains and heroes to be heroes to the very end. Robin Hood does use a generous amount of trickery in his comings and goings through Sherwood forest, disguising himself as every sort of character imaginable in order to rescue those in trouble or sneak into one of the many archery contests held throughout the novel.

Though I suppose it’s now old enough to be considered a classic, this novel feels like a fresh retelling of even more classic material, making it accessible to a wider audience through simple, straight-forward prose. A wonderful romp from start to finish, Robin Hood will leave you with a twitch in your arrow fingers to go out and try your hand at knocking a few arrows on your own to see how you measure up to this iconic and unforgettable hero.

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