Friday, May 14, 2010
Robin Hood Week: Robin Hood Novels
The Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinley was the first novel about Robin Hood I ever read. I was familiar enough with the essential legend to know the liberties taken and I enjoyed them. Not surprising since I had already enjoyed McKinley's earlier novels and was an unabashed fan. (Still am actually.)
I'll admit I haven't read many other Robin Hood based novels. A few years after reading McKinley's, I discovered Lady of the Forest by Jennifer Roberson. I enjoyed it and have kept it on my shelf, but haven't yet read her sequel published much later, Lady Of Sherwood. And, wow, what a difference in covers a decade makes! Or the transition from hardcover to paperback. The earlier versions were Thomas Canty art, I believe and not nearly as bodice rippery as the one pictured above. Follow the Amazon links to see the original overs. I wasn't able to embed them in this post.
Sherwood by Parke Godwin as well as his Robin and the King have been the most frequently recommended to me over the years, but I have never tracked down copies of them.
In more recent years, Stephen R. Lawhead's King Raven trilogy has been more visible, with the third released just last year. I haven't read these either, but the reviews have been top notch overall. The first two are also bargain priced right now at these links: Hood (The King Raven Trilogy, Book 1) and Scarlet (The King Raven, Book 2). I'd be tempted by them if I didn't so much prefer using my Kindle these days, especially with bulky novels.
There are many more Robin Hood novels, but surprisingly about half of them are from the 1800s when Robin Hood was popular. Some can be found online. Others are elusive.
I am, I admit, amazed that there aren't more Robin Hood based novels. When I consider the glut of Camelot and King Arthur novels, it is amazing there aren't more of Robin Hood, Maid Marian and the Merry Men. The Camelot novels are numbered in the hundreds, bordering on thousands. Robin Hood, not so much. For a list of some of the better known ones, see the two lists I have created on Amazon for the week: Robin Hood: Novels and Other Fiction and Robin Hood: Nonfiction. The Robin Hood Project has a lengthy list, not divided into fiction and nonfiction, nor updated with recent titles--the Lawhead titles are missing, for example--but it is the most comprehensive I've found. My own lists supplement it.
So what is your favorite Robin Hood novel?