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Book Review: Robin Hood

The Adventures of Robin HoodThe Adventures of Robin Hood by Roger Lancelyn Green

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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.

Author DJ Edwardson's seal of approval

Comments (4)

  1. Jenelle Leanne Schmidt August 6, 2015 at 9:04 am

    Okay, is this the one where he goes to the archery contest and introduces himself to everyone as Nibor Dooh? Because I read a version of Robin Hood many moons ago with that particular bit of humor in it and have never been able to find it again…

    • DJ Edwardson August 6, 2015 at 9:54 am

      That’s too funny, but no, I don’t recall this one being in there. This one is written as just a straight up legend or epic, very formalized and “high” sort of style. Not much humor in this version, but quite a bit of action and chivalrous speeches.

      There is one truly memorable scene where Prince John’s foresters are fleeing after having killed Robin’s second in command, Will Scarlett. Robin sets aside 15 arrows on the ground and then proceeds to shoot at the fleeing men, killing one with each shot. The last man dies just before reaching the town wall at a distance of nearly one mile! Crazy feats of archery in this one.

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