The tale of Robin Hood and his band of merry men has appeared throughout popular culture for years, but in their dramatic adaptation Olivia Longueville and J.C. Plummer have imbued new life into the familiar characters. Robin Hood’s Dawn is the first novel in The Robin Hood Trilogy and delves into the shadowy realm of royal ties, treasonous activities, and blood curses.
Longueville and Plummer begin their story not with Robin himself, but rather his father and a series of events that has brought a curse down upon the heads of a number of men. Two factions have been created in connection to the throne of England. While one side believes that Henry Plantagenet was the correct choice, others insist that William should have ruled England. This division in thought leads to the death of Robin’s father and sets in motion future attempts to take the crown from Henry through duplicitous means. The story then moves to Robin and while initially it appears that while his life has been tinged with loss, he will find true happiness with Marian after her father announces their betrothal. When Marian’s father is murdered and Robin is framed for these crimes he finds himself becoming Robin Hood. The novel then moves through a few years in Robin’s life while also highlighting the life of Marian during this same period. Longueville and Plummer create a rich story that frames Robin within the larger history of England while also creating an almost mythical being out of the character.
Robin Hood’s Dawn was a fantastically well written read and it not only creates a Robin that I found myself relating with more than any version of the character before, but also a character who is not a perfect hero. He may still be the forest thief, but he is also tinged with a duty to his country and those he loves. Robin is constantly trying to balance his life and be with Marian, while also trying to live up to what he feels he must do for others. The other element of this novel that I tremendously enjoyed was Marian’s character. Instead of being written solely as a damsel in distress this version of her wants to help Robin and insists on being part of his new life as a rogue. She learns to protect herself and when Robin is not there she takes matters into her own hands. Beyond these two characters, Longueville and Plummer provide strong personalities to the merry men as well as the villainous men plotting to overthrow the established monarchy. The ending of this novel had me desperately yearning for the second volume and I can’t wait to see where this series goes.
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