You are invited underneath the great greenwood tree to hear how a young man became a hero, and a hero became a legend. When Robin takes a shortcut through Sherwood Forest, the path he chooses leads not to Nottingham’s archery contest, but to a life on the run from the law. Unable now to become a knight, and joined by his childhood friends, Robin Hood leads the most infamous outlaw band ever to evade the king and his sheriff.
Blending true history with new stories, popular inaccuracies, and some almost forgotten medieval legends, The Scarlet Forest: A Tale of Robin Hood brings a new life to the greenwood, which here feels as fresh as it does traditional. With an academic background in medieval English studies, A. E. Chandler captivates with this unique and nuanced reinterpretation of Robin Hood’s struggles and adventures. The forest is waiting.
This expanded second edition contains additional bonus material, including a translation of one of only five surviving medieval Robin Hood “ballads.”
Targeted Age Group:: Adult and Teen
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
At four years old, I first saw the Disney movie of Robin Hood, and since then he has been one of my heroes. I read Howard Pyle’s The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood, which is still my favourite novel, in grade five. In grade eight, I researched the real Robin Hood for a self-directed projects class. That was when I developed a lasting passion for history that resulted in my novel The Scarlet Forest: A Tale of Robin Hood, and a Medieval Studies MA from the University of Nottingham.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
Robin Hood's character goes back more to his satirical medieval roots, when he stood for the ideal social order, while Marian – whose character was added in modern times – takes on the role of the rebel, which is also a modern idea that was added to the legend. I also wanted to develop Will Stutely's character more. Will is a yeoman in the novel – like the medieval Robin Hood, before he was saddled with the earldom of Huntingdon – and I enjoyed exploring how he would interact with the high-ranking Maid Marian, walking that tightrope between social inferior and lifelong friend.
The monk astride Robin leapt from his mount, pinning the outlaw against the next monk’s horse with a dagger to his throat.
“Be easy, friend.” The horse halted, and Robin stood with his hands raised, to pacify or to snatch for the dagger. “I mean no harm, and only wished to succour the church’s chosen.”
“Thou art no friend, however little harm thou meanest.”
Robin squinted at the voice, staring up at the tall monk.
The man took his empty hand from the outlaw’s shoulder a moment to push back his hood.
Robin stared wider. “Baron Fitzwalter!” He smiled. “Sir, welcome with all mine heart to the greenwood.”
The dagger stayed at his throat. All the monks halted.
“Sir, what means this?”
The baron, his dark brown beard unable to hide the tightness of his jaw, glared at Robin. “Where is my daughter?”
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A. E. Chandler holds a Master of Arts with Merit from the University of Nottingham, where she wrote her dissertation on the social history behind Robin Hood. Living in England, and travelling in Europe, Asia, and Africa have also contributed to her stories and characters – she has been chased by a camel rider through the Sahara Desert, skated down a volcano in Sicily, and gotten unintentionally locked inside of a medieval prison in France. Chandler has had short stories, poetry, and articles published, in addition to a book of collected non-fiction entitled Into the World, her humour book Questionable Quizzes, and the bestselling historical novel The Scarlet Forest: A Tale of Robin Hood. Currently, she is a visiting expert with the Glenbow Museum’s military collection, and writes "Original History": books about little-known people or events surrounding popular history.