The earliest references to Robin Hood date back to the 14th century, and the earliest surviving copies of the story are from the 15th century. The details may change, but the core of the legend concerns a nobleman turned outlaw with a band of followers known as the Merry Men. He is a highly skilled archer and swordsman, who is loyal to the absent King Richard. He challenges the treatment of common people by Prince John and the Sheriff of Nottingham by robbing the rich and giving to the poor. He also has a legendary romance with Maid Marion. The story is one of the best-known British folktales and has been retold in virtually every form of media over the centuries. Now Carrie Vaughn adds another tale to the Robin Hood legend in The Ghosts of Sherwood.
Robin Locksley and Marion are now married with three children. It has been almost two decades since Robin’s exploits with his Merry Men in Sherwood Forest against Prince John, who is now King. There is a fragile truce, but it could be shattered at any time. And, that time may have come when Robin and Marion’s children are abducted from the forest. While their parents gather their old allies to retrieve them, the Locksley children will prove to their captors that kidnapping them may not have been the wisest choice.
In The Ghosts of Sherwood author Carrie Vaughn adds her own story to the centuries old legends of Robin Hood. The characters are older, and some of them are commensurately wiser, and they are dealing with the increasing responsibilities of being parents and nobles under the reign of a king they challenged before he took the throne. Mary, the real focus of the story, is Robin and Marion’s eldest daughter, whose berthroyal in marriage to another local landowner is being explored by Robin, much to Marion’s consternation. Mary is smart, restless, and cunning in a difficult situation, and she is every bit her parent’s child, as are her siblings.
The Ghosts of Sherwood is an exciting and interesting addition to the lore of Robin Hood.
For more background information on the novella’s creation, read the author’s interview