I tried. I really did. But, I didn’t make it past Chapter 10 of Mark of the Black Arrow before I set it aside. It went to places I wasn’t willing to follow and took forever to get there. There are just some things that break me from my suspended reality. In this case, it was the authors using Catholic clergy as occult figures who divine the future and keep relics like they are magical objects.
In some ways, the story seemed to be trying to shoehorn the Robin Hood legend into that of King Arthur. References to Merlin were made in a few spots and I got the impression they were trying to make Friar Tuck out to be the Merlin to Robin Hood’s King Arthur. If the writers wanted a King Arthur tale they should have written one. This could have been a great read, shame that they went that route.
The story opens with a violent scene of a midwife being hunted down, bitten by dogs and eventually burned at the stake. With that kind of opening, I thought the rest of the story would be fast paced. Was I wrong. It’s not until Chapter 9 when we start to get into the meat of the story. The earlier chapters are more vignettes that do little more than introduce the characters.
In this telling of Robin Hood, Robin is a Longshire rather than a Loxley, which threw me for a bit until I did a bit of research. A British historian claimed that the true Robin Hood was actually one Robin Longshire. So, at least this part wasn’t pulled completely out of the air. All of the usual characters are in the story along with supporting characters that you usually don’t find in Robin Hood stories.
Unfortunately, it takes way too many chapters to get to King Richard’s announcement that he will leave to go fight in the Crusades. I quit reading shortly after Prince John arrives to take over for Richard.
Everything about this story was so slow. I actually fell asleep…sitting up…while reading it.
While the writing was excellent the story just didn’t hold my interest.