Monday, February 01, 2010

Books: Lady of the Forest

Lady of the Forest
By Jennifer Roberson
Copyright 1992
593 pages

I picked this book up in the bargain bin at Books-A-Million over the Christmas holidays. While it was rather long, I greatly enjoyed it.

This a re-telling of the Robin Hood legend. It is more of a prequel, really. The author introduces the main characters - Marian, Robert of Locksley, Little John, Will Scarlett, the Sheriff of Nottingham - and the sets out to explain how they all come together.

The tell dwells on Marian and Robert and is told, generally, from their point of view. Marian in the beginning is a bit of a bubble head but she quickly moves from budding young woman into adulthood and "finds her spine," as she puts it. While she is still acted upon, mostly, it is fitting in this setting. After all, she is of somewhat noble birth and that is how she was raised to act and perform.

Robert is tortured young man in this book. His time in the Crusades have not been years of rejoicing. Rumors of an affair between him and King Richard are rampant. His father, the Earl of Hunnington, is a humorless and powerful man who thinks of Richard not as his son, or even as a man, but only as the possessor of his bloodline.

The Sheriff of Nottingham turns out to be a rather complex character. Near the end of the book his ideology changes and it seems to me that, out of this whole long exposition of nearly 600 pages, a paragraph went missing at that point that aptly explained exactly why his lust for Marian vanished. Or maybe I just missed it. In any event, except for that puzzle, his character was finely crafted and nicely done. He wasn't necessarily a bad or evil man; he was a product of his time, and the author did a nice job of portraying that.

I had never read a Jennifer Roberson book before but apparently she has written over 20, mostly fantasy. There is a sequel to Lady of the Forest, as well. While I may not go hunting for it, certainly should I find it in the bargain bin, I won't hesitate to pick it up.

1 comment:

  1. I love Robin Hood! Sounds like a good book. If I ever see one of her books, I'll have to try it.

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