Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Review - The Arrow of Sherwood by Lauren Johnson

The year is 1193 and Lord Robin of Locksley returns home after years of fighting in the Holy Land.  He has changed from the headstrong, hedonistic boy that committed a crime and was sent away as punishment.  Where there was once a boy, a man now stands.

However, in the time he has been away his father has died and his lands have been usurped.  The county is in turmoil as the Vipont family and their supporters squeeze the local villeins and serfs for every penny in tax and fine them heavily for any transgression - however small.  Innocent people are condemned to hang just for standing up for their rights and Robin begins to realise that as a lord, he has a responsibility to defend the people whom he once ruled.

He tries to regain his lands legally, but when he uncovers a plot between the Viponts and the John, Count of Mortain to wrestle the crown from King Richard his life becomes threatened and he is banished from the Locksley Estate.  A cold blooded murder finally pushes Robin into a corner, when the only thing he can do is what he does best......fight.


The tale of Robin Hood is one that everyone can recite.  Will Scarlette, Friar Tuck, The Sheriff of Nottingham and Maid Marian are all well known characters whose part in the tale are well known.
However, Lauren Johnson, cleverly twists the characters in this imaginative reworking of the legend and not all the usual suspects play their pantomime roles.

The author is a historian and it shows as her accuracy to the period is exceptionally accurate.  Combined with a natural flair for story-telling, The Arrow of Sherwood is a very impressive debut by the Bristol born author.  Being very interested in this period of history, I am always drawn to stories like this but even though the legend of Robin Hood is well known, this is a refreshing and unique perspective and one that deserves to be read.

I am proud to give the Arrow of Sherwood 5 Crosses and bestow Lauren Johnson with the Golden Hammer and Anvil Shield for writing a very impressive debut novel which surprises and thoroughly entertains.
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