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Carpe Librum

Reviews and bookish conversation with author Samantha Wilcoxson.

If I am lost, you will find me in medieval England.

You can also find me - and my books - on my blog.

Historical Novel Society

Currently reading

It Can't Happen Here
Sinclair Lewis, Michael Meyer
Paul Bannister
The Naked Public Square: Religion and Democracy in America
Richard John Neuhaus
A Year with Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Carla Barnhill, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Jim Wallis

Robyn Hode (I) by David Pilling

Robyn Hode: Part I - David Pilling

Many takes on the legend of Robin Hood exist, but I challenge you to find another quite like this one. Staying away from the infamous Prince John and heroic Lionheart, Pilling places his Robert Hode during the reign of John's slightly more capable (or at least longer ruling) son, Henry III.


As with all of this author's novels, the story is very gritty with no romanticizing of the time period with its hardships and violence. Robert is a character that is an clever blending of fact and fiction with a surrounding cast developed to mirror the well-known legend.


Rather than being motivated by a strong desire to help the worse off, Robert is driven into the arms of an outlaw band by his own impetuous actions. He finds that he enjoys the life and especially likes preying upon the clergy that he feels take unfair advantage of those who are supposed to be in their care. The story is just saved from becoming overtly negative to the Church by the character of Matthew Tuck and Robert's faith that is at odds with his feelings for priests.


Though it is a story of myth, Pilling's story is loaded with historical facts and figures who are expertly woven into the plot. The reader even gets a few glimpses of King Henry and his fiery Angevin temper.


This installment ends with a cliffhanger that leaves you grabbing for the second book, so be sure to have it on hand.


(Available through Kindle Owners' Lending Library.)