Robin Hood News-Line:
Feb
16

Interesting New Robin Hood Novel Puts The Legend and Its Traditional Chracters On Unfamiliar Ground

Interesting New Robin Hood Novel Puts The Legend and Its Traditional Chracters On Unfamiliar Ground

As its bold title suggests, “King Robin”, the new novel by R.A. Moss, presents a surprisingly fresh approach to the traditional Robin Hood story.  The author has really “shaken-up-the-bag” by taking familiar elements and characters from the popular tale and weaving them into a fast-moving, contemporary narrative that quickly captures the reader’s attention.

Using comparatively short chapters, the tale unfolds like a film story-board, making it a real page-turner. It’s a style that could easily adapt into a script for an historical drama in the vein of the popular “Game of Thrones” saga, which probably explains why the book has already generated interest in its cinematic rights potential.

The timeless Robin Hood legend is well known for its appealing mix of action, adventure, social justice and romance and this hard-hitting interpretation has all this and more. Often violent, brutal and sometimes racy and explicit; the thrilling twists and turns in the tale sustain the story telling momentum and carry the narrative along at a crisp pace. But it soon becomes apparent that the plot has evolved into being more about the burdens of monarchy and the power of treachery and corruption - together with the harsh responsibilities of trying to juggle well-meaning principles with the difficulties of reality. Taking Robin Hood down such a controversial road, may, for some academic purists and folk hero fans, be a step too far!

 The Robin Hood legend is a strange phenomenon - as there is no undisputed historical evidence to prove the iconic outlaw actually ever existed, let alone who he really might have been. Consequently, over the centuries, the globally-loved folk hero has turned fiction into fact and the 800 year-old traditional tale and the expected roles of its key characters are indelibly stamped into the Robin Hood legend like its DNA!  Messing with its genes can be catastrophic and history is littered with the corpses of movies, books, poetry and endless academic theories speculating on just who might have been the “real” Robin Hood?

 “King Robin” is a bold venture indeed but also one that, despite its controversial direction, still stands up as an entertaining and well-written novel. So readers should also be brave and be prepared to give R.A. Moss a chance to show his fictional Robin Hood in a fascinating and thought-provoking new light.

Bob White – Chairman of the internet-based World Wide Robin Hood Society (2021)

 

“King Robin”:  a novel  by R.A. Moss,  (ISBN 978-0-9972644-8-7), is published by Beck and Branch Publishers, Putney.

Jan
04

Review of The Original Robin Hood by Thor Ewing

Review of The Original Robin Hood by Thor Ewing

Most Robin Hood related books are usually either factual, historical reference works or dramatic interpretations of the traditional popular story, re-imagined for children and adults. Thor Ewing’s new book logically falls into the first category. But don’t let that put you off, because the author presents the traditional ballads in diligently re-worked translations in modern English that make the iconic legend easier to understand and to more fully appreciate the stories being told. Whether you are an academic student; a medieval history buff or just an interested reader, having this compact book to hand could prove to be a useful and well-researched reference to the background of the Robin Hood legend.

In the book’s comprehensive introduction, the author clearly sets out the structure of the book’s contents and puts forward some interesting observations and plausible assumptions. He touches on potentially sensitive and controversial issues such as the outlaw’s suggested Scottish heritage; his often-doubted noble ancestry; the introduction of Maid Marian as the legend’s love interest and the eternally thorny question regarding Robin’s Nottinghamshire or Yorkshire roots! All often fiercely contested factors when viewed from certain historical standpoints.

Together with a timeline and some useful appendices, Thor Ewing presents his collective translations of the traditional Robin Hood ballads and plays etc. for readers to draw their own conclusions. Always a vital factor, that provides the essential lifeblood of the popular, globally loved tales and ensures the iconic Robin Hood legend lives on!

BOB WHITE: Chairman of the internet-based World Wide Robin Hood Society.  (2/1/21)

 

The Original Robin Hood” by Thor Ewing (ISBN 978-1-910075-13-5) is published by Welkin Books Ltd., Ludlow, Shropshire SY8 2ST.

May
14

New Kindle Book – “Robin Hood: The Legacy of A Folk Hero”

New Kindle Book – “Robin Hood: The Legacy of A Folk Hero”

 

New kindle book - "Robin Hood: The legacy of a folk Hero" gives a brief but fascinating insight into one of Britain’s and the world’s most enduring and iconic legends. The title discusses interesting facts and trivia, along with the complexity and issues that surround the traditional stories and also explores how Robin and his Merry Men still impact on us to this day in various aspects of popular culture. Written by Robert White, long-standing chairman of the internet based World Wide Robin Hood Society, it has been recently published by BLKDOG and further details can be found at- https://www.blkdogpublishing.com/robin-hood-the-legacy-of-a-folk-her

Dec
06

Why The Legend Lives On!

Why the Legend lives on!

The start of the New Year of 2014 surprisingly also reminds us that it is around 800 years since the tales of Robin Hood first appeared in a written down format - although they had of course been passed on by word of mouth for some two centuries before that – which is an absolutely amazing length of time for such a story to survive and hold a dominant position in popular culture. So what makes the tale so fascinating that, even after eight centuries, (during which time it has been re-told thousands, if not millions of times) it can still fire the imagination of new generations and capture people's hearts? Whatever it is, the traditional story of Robin Hood and his outlaw band has got it "by the shed-load" and that's why it has acquired the iconic status of becoming a "legend"!

The essential "ingredient" that usually contributes the most towards the creation of a "legend" is having an element of mystery to the story that still remains in doubt. In the case of Robin Hood it is the question of there being no undisputed, historical proof of his actual existence. For other "legendary" characters and events, such as King Arthur's Knights of the Round Table, Joan of Arc's spiritual visions or, from more recent times, the conspiracy theories surrounding the assassination of President John F. Kennedy or the disputed suicide of actress Marilyn Monroe, it is the factor of "not knowing for sure" – which offers the opportunity for a potential "alternative" interpretation of the facts that we can all contemplate and theorise about and draw our own individual conclusions ! That is the elusive "magical" element that has the power to create a legend.

Looking back across 2013, Robin Hood was constantly featured in the global media and maintained his public profile through a variety of diverse news stories and events and during that 12 month period, I have personally reviewed 3 new books on the subject ("Robin Hood" an academic assessment by Professor Jim Bradbury; "The Tunnellers – Maid Marion's People" by Helen Dennis , a children's story with a science fiction twist and "The Arrow of Sherwood" by Lauren Johnson, a well-researched historical fiction novel) plus "Hood – Noble Secrets" a dramatic re-telling of the tale on an audio CD by the production company Spiteful Puppet. There have also been 2 new documentaries for television and DVD - plus yet another graphic novel interpretation to add to the rich tapestry of illustrative images that continue to fascinate the fantasy art genre. In October, the movie "The Last of Robin Hood" starring Kevin Kline and Susan Sarandon, had its premiere, although it is actually about the actor, Errol Flynn! In March, there was controversy over claims that Robin Hood originally came from Tunbridge Wells and later in the year there were also doubts about the authenticity of the pair of boots put up for auction that were supposedly worn by Errol Flynn in the 1938 classic movie "The Adventures of Robin Hood". The University of Nottingham held an afternoon public lecture event in October at which a team of academic experts presented their thoughts on the many historical faces of Robin Hood and even the daily BBC Radio serial, "The Archers", featured the cast putting on a Robin Hood musical play as part of the village of Ambridge's seasonal Christmas celebrations!

So, with 2014 barely out of the starting blocks, what "secrets" does the New Year have in store to ensure that the much-loved Robin Hood legend continues to occupy centre-stage and remain in the public spotlight? Well, there is a new Robin Hood-related film in the pipeline! DreamWorks have a revisionist version of the tale in production, provisionally titled "Merry Men" which, according to their publicity, incorporates "a revenge angle that is tonally reminiscent of "The Dirty Dozen" and "Ocean's Eleven". In the Spring, there will also be a 30th Anniversary Reunion of the cast, crew and fans of the 1980's iconic HTV television series "Robin of Sherwood". The City Council will learn if its revised application for Heritage Lottery Funding towards the proposals for a major visitor attraction at Nottingham Castle has been successful and we can also expect some controversial debate arising when Nottingham and Nottinghamshire's business and commercial sector is asked to "search its soul" in a hard-hitting Robin Hood Brand Awareness Survey designed to" once and for all get to the root of why, in the eyes of the world, the City and County repeatedly under-exploits the potential benefits of their Robin Hood connections"!

So there seems little doubt that the legacy of the Robin Hood legend will not only periodically feature through-out the months ahead but that it is clearly set to continue for centuries to come!

Dec
06

Robin Hood heads East to the Punjab!

Robin Hood heads east to the Punjab!

In his newly published first book, writer and broadcaster, Billy Babu, re-routes the traditional tale of Robin Hood into the Punjab region of Northern India.

"Rubinder Hood: Prince of Chors (Punjabi for thief)" adapts several stories about the English folklore hero and gives them a different multi-cultural twist! Maid Marian is re-named Mere Merion and the Sheriff becomes the Sharif of Not-eating-ham ! The author says that the idea of transporting the traditional legend into Indian culture came about through a conversation with his late mother.

The book is just the latest example of the global attraction the Robin Hood story has for writers and how the legendary tales can be re-told to appeal to a new audience and help ensure their continued popularity.

Dec
06

Review of the Novella “A Lonely Road” by Peter Morrison

Review of the Novella "A Lonely Road" by Peter Morrison

Having read hundreds of Robin Hood related books and articles over the years, I am always interested in how a new author incorporates a link to the traditional tales and what approach they adopt, so when Peter Morrison's "A Lonely Road" landed on my desk it was a real breath of fresh air.

The storyline addresses the subject from a distinct new angle and focuses on aspects of the familiar legend as a criminal investigation and cleverly ratchets up the drama in a plot that crackles with intrigue and interesting characters and unfolds against a background of events in Northern England in 1214. Thomas Sturdy, a young advocate, comes upon a grave at the edge of the forest and the discovery sets off a chain of events and revelations as interesting as any modern day detective novel.

Author, Peter Morrison says, "I wanted to write a short but intricate story which held the reader's interest all the way while evoking a sense of the distant past." Well, this excellent work of fiction with a difference has certainly delivered his intentions and also helped to re-establish the novella as a succinct and valid literary format.

This book is available from www.ypdbooks.com at just £3.99, this is definitely a Robin Hood book with a new perspective and highly recommended to all lovers of quality crime fiction.

Bob White - World Wide Robin Hood Society. 16/7/15

Dec
06

The Tunnellers 2

The Tunnellers 2


Book Review

“ THE TUNNELLERS 2 ”

By Helen Dennis

ISBN 978-0-9926063-2-9

(The book is published by the author and 10% of the profits will go to Childline 08001111)

“In “The Tunnellers 2”, author Helen Dennis continues the story of the families who lived underground beneath Maid Marion’s Cottage in Blidworth, where unexpected events have forced them to “come-up” and live in the realities of the modern world. Here they encounter the social issues of bullying , suspicion and homelessness etc. and face the difficulties of trying to “fit-in” in a new environment and the author cleverly introduces these issues into the narrative to help make young readers become more aware of the problems and their implications.

The blending of the storyline with real history and legend is an appealing “trademark” of Helen Dennis’ easy and interesting writing style that she successfully developed in the prequel “The Tunnellers – Maid Marion’s People” and she maintains the same balanced approach in this latest follow-up. At the end of the book she also includes lots of useful information references to encourage readers to re-live the adventures by visiting the places and locations for themselves.

There are less Robin Hood references than in the previous book but that doesn’t stop Helen Dennis from telling an absorbing and thought-provoking story that 8 -12 year olds will eagerly enjoy and adults interested in local history “can be 10 again!”

A thoroughly recommended book that effectively brings “The Tunnellers” saga into today’s world.

However, I do have great difficulty in coming to terms with the suggestion that Robin Hood’s horse would have been called “Pancho”!!!

Bob White, January 2016.

Dec
06

A recommended Robin Hood Reading List

A recommended Robin Hood Reading List

Thousands of Robin Hood books have been written over the centuries and the World Wide Robin Hood Society is often asked by students and enthusiasts to recommend books to read, so here is a very brief, personal selection by the Chairman, Bob White from the different categories specifically identified by the Society in their "Robin Hood Reading List" that will be published in 2016.

Traditional Classics: "Robin Hood and the Men of the Greenwood" by Henry Gilbert, plus any of the superbly illustrated books by Howard Pyle or Louis Rhead.

Historic/Academic/Factual: Richard Rutherford Moore's "The Legend of Robin Hood" succinctly puts the stories into a local context, as does the late Jim Lees' "The Quest for Robin Hood." For a more serious academic analysis, try any of the books by Prof. Stephen Knight.

Children's Books: My personal favourites are "Robin Hood" by David Calcutt and Grahame Baker-Smith; and the prize-winning modern morality tale of "The Sherwood Hero" by Alison Prince.

Film and Television associated: Any of Richard Carpenter's books linked to the 1980's HTV series "Robin of Sherwood" – my particular favourite is "The Swords of Wayland."

Poems and Ballads: For a comprehensive view on the various medieval ballads, plus lots of background information, try "The Robin Hood Handbook" by Mike Kennedy-Dixon.

Romantic Fiction: "The Arrow of Sherwood" by Lauren Johnson, offers a plausible blend of historical fact and fiction in this period drama of the Robin Hood tale.

Humorous Spoofs: "Robin Hood according to Spike Milligan" is a zany rendition that reflects a modern sense of humour and for an even more light-hearted connection, try Tony Robinson's "Maid Marian and her Merry Men" books from the popular children's TV series.

Science Fiction: "Arrowhead", an apocalyptic version by Paul Kane; or "Erasmus Hobart and the Golden Arrow" by local author, Andrew Fish, which links the legend to a time traveller with a medieval twist!

Comic Strips: Respected graphic artist, Frank Bellamy's "Robin Hood – the complete adventures", brings together his classic series that appeared in the Swift comic during the 1950's.

Novelty, and miscellaneous: "Robin Hood", a touch 'n' listen version by Golden Books, New York features audio sounds that can be added to the story where indicated in the text!

Dec
06

New Novel has Robin Hood living with the Iroquois Indians!

New Novel has Robin Hood living with the Iroquois Indians!

With the somewhat bizarre title of “Robin Hood in America” and a cover picture showing the outlaw’s face daubed with Native American war paint, potential readers might be forgiven for perhaps initially thinking about avoiding this new novel! However, if they did, they would certainly be missing out on what is undoubtedly one of the cleverest interpretations based on the traditional Robin Hood story and its legendary characters that I personally have ever read.

Against a background of a search in the New World for the kidnapped fiancée of the Sheriff of Nottingham, Nick Collins’ unique plot line portrays Robin in his early Twenties, just prior to becoming the iconic outlaw hero of English folklore and skilfully weaves familiar characters into roles that neatly fall into place to reflect the legend as we know it. All carefully juxtaposed to an accurate timeline that shrewdly adds credibility to the narrative. It’s a blend of plenty of surprises that combine some brutal action with deep moral and philosophical contemplation.

As the novel runs over 2 books, the pace of the story can at times seem to get bogged-down but then the author redeems himself with another unexpected twist. A particularly intriguing feature is the introduction of “the one who would betray them” that mysteriously intertwines with the main plot and keeps readers guessing until the end!

From the very first chapter, you are quickly aware that this is a narrative being written by someone who understands how to descriptively get visual imagery across to the reader and although it is Nick Collins’ debut novel, checking his credentials revealed that he is an experienced television scriptwriter who has worked on series such as “Apparitions”; “Murder in Suburbia” and “The Bill”.

I have read and reviewed many Robin Hood books over the years but this is the first one which I have found to be really “different” - perhaps even having the potential to become a movie that could fit well alongside the popular genre of 21stcentury historical fantasy drama, such as the “Game of Thrones” saga. You don’t have to be a Robin Hood fan to appreciate this book, as the storyline stands up in its own right, so I thoroughly recommend you give it a try and be prepared for a surprisingly new perspective on the background to the world renowned Robin Hood legend!

“Robin Hood in America” comes in two book parts: “A Finder of Trails” and “Great Deeds Done Beyond The Seas” and is available through Amazon and other retail outlets.

Bob White, World Wide Robin Hood Society.