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The Arrow of Sherwood Hardcover – 15 Aug 2013

4.8 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Pen and Sword Fiction (15 Aug. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1783030011
  • ISBN-13: 978-1783030019
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 3 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 713,441 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Writing and telling stories has been Lauren's passion since she was a child. Since graduating in History from Oxford University she has pursued her interest in story-telling in her role as Research Manager for a historical interpretation company based at heritage sites including Hampton Court Palace, Dover Castle and the Tower of London. There, she had plenty of practice at immersing visitors in a living historical world - a skill she has now brought to the world of historical fiction in her first novel.

Customer Reviews

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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Though I found the book to be a bit of a slow-starter, I stayed with it and it picked up. The author's historical research shows on the page and many aspects of the period are authentic (and verifiable). Having read up a fair amount on the period, I might quibble over a few details in the author's historical notes, but for the most part this book is a very fair representation of late 12th century England in the reign of Richard the Lionheart.

The author's take on Robin Hood is not wholly original: once more he is the returning crusader, Robin of Locksley, arriving to find England is not the safe and lawful land he left behind; once more he has been deprived of his rightful holdings as a baron of the realm, and once again he has been rendered unfit to seek the hand of his intended bride, Lady Marian. (That could just as easily sum up the premise of the 1950s Richard Greene Adventures Of Robin Hood TV series, the 1991 film Robin Hood - Prince Of Thieves or the 2006 BBC Robin Hood series.) There are other plot elements which seem attributable to this film or that TV show, as well, notably Robin's relationship to Will Scarlette, which puts one in mind of a similar approach taken in the 1991 film.

Having said that, Ms. Johnson creditably takes those familiar trappings and weaves new webs within them in some clever and innovative ways.

Most unusually, her Robin begins by trying to work within the system to regain his lands and titles within the law. His concern for the common people of his Hundred for whom he feels responsible comes across as believable and genuine. Robin finds a truly clever and original way to hide his people in Sherwood Forest.
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Format: Hardcover
The Arrow of Sherwood skillfully turns the Robin Hood myth on its head and brings refreshing originality and rich historical detail to a much loved icon. The book sharply highlights the social injustices of the 1190s whilst submerging the reader in a medieval world which is alien yet resonant, seen through the eyes of the fallible, flawed Robin of Locksley. As social order in England unravels the plot encompasses real Plantaganet power politics whilst keeping a tale of human adventure at its heart. I literally couldn't put this book down!
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Format: Hardcover
Right from the first chapter this book draws you in to a historical world that is far from the Disney-esque version of Sherwood we are familiar with. Using her knowledge of the period Johnson creates a finely drawn cast of characters whose adventures, loves and loyalties are given an authentic depth, while writing with a lightness of touch that keeps the plot zipping along. A delight to read!
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Format: Hardcover
Lauren Johnson's "The Arrow Of Sherwood" is a refreshing, original and entertaining take on the ever-popular legend.

The author shows great knowledge of the England of the Twelfth Century in which she places the story, and she weaves the factual and the fictional together very skilfully and subtly (among the familiar characters of Robin, Marion, Will Scarlette and Much the Miller's son she adds names of real families of the Nottinghamshire of the time, real events, plus short but memorable cameos from King Richard and Prince John) to give the story a deep and fascinating rooting in England's actual past. Particularly of interest here are the voices of the medieval women; far from the usual wispy object of desire, her Marion is a brilliant character - a tall, intelligent, forthright woman struggling awkwardly with her perceived place - whilst there are new intriguing characters to get to know like Robin's mother, Agnes Scarlette and young Edeva. Her Robin himself is a complex and believable creation who demonstrates many skills and flaws in his quest for justice and redemption, rather than relying solely on his bow arm.

Like the troubadours of old, Ms Johnson is first and foremost a great storyteller; from the first chapter the reader is immersed in the fascinating world of Medieval Nottinghamshire with its customs, laws and characters, the pace of the action never falters as you are carried along in a story filled with humour, adventure and, most tellingly, a great compassion for the people of the time. Highly recommended.
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By AC on 4 Sept. 2013
Format: Hardcover
I really enjoyed reading this book. Even though Robin Hood is a mythical character, the entertaining, fast paced story is placed in an authentic historical setting, full of interesting detail. You learn a lot about medieval life and the detail about the social set up, the laws, the food, the towns and much more is fascinating. The author has an easy, engaging style which makes the reader keep reading to find out what happens next in the eventful story. There are lots of recognisable characters, including Maid Marian, the Sheriff and Will Scarlett, although I wondered why he was called Friar Toki and not Friar Tuck. All in all a great read and I look forward to Ms Johnson's next book.
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Format: Hardcover
Historian Lauren Johnson's debut novel "The Arrow of Sherwood" is, as one might expect, rich in historical detail, plunging the reader deep into the England of Richard the Lionheart and his brother Prince John from its opening sentence. The tale of Robin Hood, Marian and the men and women surrounding them (merry or otherwise) is a familiar one, but the real treat for readers lies in the surprises which await as characters and stories half-remembered from childhood have new life breathed into them. In Johnson's hands, both Robin and Marian are determinedly original creations, yet each swiftly develops to engage the reader's sympathies as they strive against circumstances and institutions which are shown to be of their own time, but also of ours. Johnson's great achievement with "The Arrow of Sherwood" is to capture the late 12th-century world in a novel which is at once meticulously researched, richly detailed and above all a gripping page-turner.
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