Author: Olivia Longueville & J.C. Plummer
Title: Robin Hood’s Dawn
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Angevin World Publishing LLC
Pages: 409 pages
Release Date: January 16, 2018
My rating: ♥♥♥♥
Blurb: England, 1154-1194. A kingdom under assault. A conspiracy born of anarchy. A hero standing against tyranny.
Falsely convicted of a shocking crime, Robin Fitzooth, the Earl of Huntingdon, finds refuge in Sherwood Forest and becomes Robin Hood. Leading a band of men against the injustices of a malevolent sheriff and his henchmen, Robin begins to unravel a web of treachery threatening the English royal family. As shadowy forces gather to destroy the future of a nation, Robin faces deceit, betrayal, and the ravages of war as he defends his king, his country, his people, and the woman he loves from a conspiracy so diabolical, so unexpected, that the course of history hangs in the balance.
From the mists of an ancient woodland, to lavish royal courts teeming with intrigue, to the exotic shores of the Holy Land – Robin Hood leads the fight in a battle between good and evil, justice and tyranny, the future and the past. Part one of an exciting three-part retelling of the Robin Hood legend!
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in participation with a blog tour.
Have you ever wondered exactly who Robin Hood was before he robbed the rich to feed the poor? In all my years of having read Robin Hood and watched several variations of it, I’ve never stopped to wonder – until now.
What I loved: The story begins with a fair amount of exposition. Unlike other stories that thrust you in media res, Robin Hood’s Dawn takes a moment to explore the history of each important character. I expected the same-old tale of Robin Hood versus the King and a damsel in distress smack dab in the middle, but that’s not at all how the story went and I was pleasantly surprised.
Plus, the romance between Hood and Maid Marian didn’t take over the plot, which I liked. The authors created the perfect villain: Guy of Gisborne. His character was well developed, breaking free from the all-too-easy mistake of making one-sided bad guys. There were times I truly felt for him and other times, I knew exactly where he stood and what he was capable of. This made it conflicting for me to decide if I should trust him or not and question who the bad guys really were.
As opposed to a book written purely as fantasy, Robin Hood’s Dawn spins a historical twist. I love the endless mind-spinning conspiracies and heroic characters who are easy for any underdog to relate to 🙂 Robin Hood’s Dawn blended elements of historical facts with fantasy, creating a vivid tale both familiar and refreshing.
What I wasn’t crazy about: Thankfully, there was a glossary and chart to guide me through the vast number of characters in Robin Hood’s Dawn. It’s rare that I read a book this packed full of characters and when combined with the seriously heavy plot, I had to take a break from it once or twice. There were almost too many twists and turns with too many characters and too many details. Topped by occasional awkward and clumsy lines, I felt the story tried to answer every single question and fill every blank.
Conclusion: In the end, it was almost too good. Is that even possible? I certainly love a decent plot and diverse characters and twists are always a plus, but there is such a thing as adding too much into the mix. That aside, I really enjoyed Robin Hood’s Dawn and consider it one of the better reads I received this month.
Chapter 17 EXCERPT :
22 February 1192, City of Acre
As he led the royal procession, Robin worriedly looked back at the litter carrying Marian. Her flaxen hair was concealed beneath a Saracen-style headscarf, and her litter had a fabric canopy to hide her from view. Marian was oblivious to the perils she faced in this land, where great wealth could be obtained by selling such a fair-haired beauty to the highest bidder. Although she had scoffed at Robin’s orders that Much and Allan march beside her litter with their swords drawn, the two men had obeyed Robin’s stern directives without hesitation.
Next to Marian’s litter rode a sullen King Richard; he was still furious at Robin for his criticisms of their stalled Crusade. The fact that Robin was right had only fueled the king’s temper, which burned hotter than the accursed desert sun. André followed Richard, and there were eight mounted knights protectively situated around the king and Marian.
Robin sighed loudly as he resumed his forward scrutiny of the road. He didn’t have enough men to properly guard the king, but Richard, who was supremely confident in his fighting skills, had flatly refused to wait for reinforcements. Robin deeply resented the king’s willingness to expose Marian to danger. It was inexcusably selfish and thoughtless in Robin’s opinion, but he had no choice but to acquiesce to the king’s demands. Because of the threat to Richard, Robin had instructed his men to wear helmets and chainmail hauberks under their surcoats. Additionally, they carried Norman-style kite shields, which had both neck and arm straps.
Robin had traveled too far ahead of the group, so he stopped and examined his surroundings with care. They were on a road flanked by the Genoese and Venetian quarters, and the harbor was a short distance away. Like many areas in this war-torn city, the buildings were heavily damaged. Removing his helmet to wipe the sweat from his brow, Robin observed that the street was strangely deserted, and he felt a stirring in the pit of his stomach. He signaled for the procession to halt. In the resulting eerie stillness, Robin concentrated all his senses.
“What is the problem?” the king gruffly complained with unmistakable impatience.
Robin did not respond; something was wrong, and he could feel it. Suddenly, a small rock fell from the heavens and rolled across the street. At first, he gave it little consideration as he put his helmet back on, but then his mind was filled with the awareness that stones do not drop from the sky like rain.
His eyes darted upward, and fear seized him as he recognized the familiar shape of a bow. Urgently, he yelled over his shoulder, “Shields up, left!” The well-trained knights, including the king, promptly raised their shields as the archers released a volley of arrows.
Robin turned his horse and sped to the king. He had seen three archers, and they were clearly targeting King Richard. Rejoining the others, Robin saw ten men brandishing swords and riding towards the royal party from a forward position, while another eight were approaching from the rear. There was no avenue of escape, and the king’s elite guard arranged their horses in a defensive semi-circle around Richard and Marian, using the façade of an adjacent structure to prevent the enemy from completely surrounding them.
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