Friday, February 21, 2014

Will in Scarlet

Will in Scarlet
by Matthew Cody
Alfred A. Knopf, 2013, Historical Fiction, 260 pages

Why does the Robin Hood story fascinate us so much? It has been retold more times than anyone can count, and each retelling has its own spin.  This version is told from the point of view of the two youngest members of the Merry Men, Will Scarlet and Much.  The son of a wealthy lord, Will is driven into Sherwood forest when evil Guy of Gisborne seizes his family's castle while the father is away fighting alongside Richard the Lionheart.  Much the Miller's Son is really the Miller's Daughter who began dressing as a boy to make her way in the world after her father's death.  At first Will is bent on revenge, but gradually he comes to realize that he, with the help of Robin, Much and the Merry Men, can do a lot of good for the people of England, and foil the Guy's greedy plans at the same time. It is an interesting and fresh retelling of an old story that has enough swash-buckling action to keep young readers engaged, and philosophical depth to keep them thinking. Recommended for grade 5 and up. 

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