September 22, 2017 by Anne Barwell
Big thanks to LoveBound Promotions for the opportunity to read and review this book.
Reviewed by Anne
Outlaw’s Legacy #2
Publisher: Beaten Track Publishing
Characters: Robin of Locksley/Will Scathelock
Sub-Genre: Series, Historical
Robin returns to England after four years fighting in the Holy Land. On arriving at Locksley, he discovers that Guy of Gisborne, his most hated enemy, has been made Sheriff of Nottingham. Forced to flee into Sherwood, Robin sets himself up as champion of the poor.
But Robin has a secret. His feelings for his friend Will Scathelock have deepened, but to acknowledge the truth would mean facing up to his past. Meanwhile, Lady Marian Fitzwalter, heiress to the vast Huntingdon estate, is determined to claim Robin for her own.
This is the second book I’ve read in this series, and I’m totally hooked. Robin Hood has long been a favourite of mine, and I think this series does him justice.
Knight of Sherwood picks up at the tail end of the Crusades, which Robin and Will left for at the end of book one. I thought the imagery of the post battle ravaged land, and the comparison with the jackal was very powerful. I liked that the author didn’t shy away from the horror of the Crusades, and that it wasn’t romanticized.
Back in England, and the story catches up with what happened while Robin has been away. Robin and Will’s relationship has shifted too, but Robin wrestles with his demons, which I thought were realistic given the time period. He has been raised a noble, so it makes more sense that he’d struggle with his sexuality and the expectations of his position more than Will would. He’s also haunted from his experiences in the Crusades, and I thought the way the author wrote them felt very authentic. I also appreciated the way the author wrote King Richard—although he’s not very likeable in places his actions are realistic for the time, and for a man in his position.
Guy shows no signs of the boy he once was in the first book, and he more than deserves his fate. Sadly several other characters do not deserve theirs, and I liked that the author didn’t pull any punches as Guy’s part of Robin’s story plays out.
As the story progresses more familiar faces from the Robin Hood stories make their first appearance, as do some other original characters. I liked the women in the story, and the way they took their place among the bandits of Sherwood. Although Marian wasn’t very likeable, she acts as she does because of the impossible situation she is in. I didn’t agree with her choices, but it’s very clear why she chooses the path she does. I liked that way the author showed took the time through her POV to show her motivations. I also thought her reaction to her discovery about Robin was realistic. Unfortunately that is one of the harsh realities about historical fiction, and having all the characters react with modern day sensibilities would have felt like an anachronism. In saying that, though, I really hope fate deals her the hand she deserves as the series continues.
While I enjoyed the first book in this series—Heir of Locksley—I thought the author did a fabulous job with this story, and lifted the bar still further. I sat up late reading several times as I had to find out what happened next. Although Robin’s story is a well known, the twists in this series meant that I couldn’t predict the plot. Although this part of Robin’s story has finished, the author hasn’t left him—or Will—in a good place, so now I’m holding out for book three, although I suspect they still have a rough road ahead.
I’d recommend Knight of Sherwood to readers who enjoy well researched historical fiction. An interest in the stories of Robin Hood isn’t necessary though I did enjoy the easter egg references throughout the book. This story is action-packed, easy to get caught up in, and has interesting three dimensional characters. More please, and soon. Highly recommended.