King Richard is dead.
With a new king on the throne, the Sheriff of Nottingham knows he will soon be replaced. The only way he can survive the constant vagaries of political whim is to become wealthy in his own right. And the easiest way to do this is to see the king’s taxes fall into his own pocket.
When the thefts are reported, he simply claims that a band of bandits has taken up residence in Sherwood Forest and has stolen the money. A good idea and it works… until King John decides the sheriff needs some help in hunting down the bandits.
Sir Guy is dispatched with a unit of soldiers and orders to find the bandits and retrieve the king’s taxes.
A single stray word will put the sheriff’s head in a noose. He must find a way to play both bandit and lawman until he can escape with his life. He must become the villain to survive the hunt for Robin Hood.
Well written twist on the Robin Hood story we grew up with. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, and wish there was another book to follow up on the characters.
I wish more authors would break out of the formulaic story line and try something new as this author has done. The characters are interesting and watching the legend develop with a wholly new dynamic made it the best free book I’ve read.
Robin Hood was one of my favorite books growing up and reading this re-telling of the legend was not only not a let down but in my opinion better than the Pyle’s classic work. For Robin Hood fans, this one will be quite the treat!
CIR: What inspired this book?
HARP: Myths and Legends have always fascinated me. When I was a child, under 10 years of age, I vividly remember reading both Bullfinch’s Mythology as well as Edith Hamilton’s versions of the same tales. The Song of Roland, King Arthur and Pyle’s Robin Hood stories all inspired and stirred in me the idea of gallantry and adventure. When I think about Robin Hood, though, and I see the actual historical progression, it becomes apparent that unlike some other folk heroes (Roland and William Tell for example), there is no historical figure that he can be traced to. Even the Authurian figures may have been based on a man or a collection of men whose exploits were exaggerated and mythologized. So where did Robin Hood come from? One day, I was thinking about the traditional settings of Robin Hood’s stories. The situations and the villains involved didn’t make any sense. And then it hit me: what if he was made up to cover for someone elses crimes? But who would benefit from an unstoppable outlaw who had stolen the King’s taxes? The King’s tax collector himself. The Shire Reeve. The Sheriff.
CIR: What is your writing process like?
HARP: I generally start with a single idea or character and try to see their story as a whole. In this book, I started with the Sheriff and saw the opening scenes where we learn of his thefts and the last scenes, where he is confronted. I then plan out two or three major plot points and just start writing. It’s always exciting to see what will happen and how my characters will behave.
CIR: Besides the new angle, what makes this story different from other Robin Hood tales?
HARP: While this isn’t a comedic book, it does have elements of a classic farce. The Sheriff has everything in hand at the beginning of the story, but more and more complications are thrown his way. He has to juggle many different problems at once, and if he drops one, his entire act is over.
CIR: Who is the main character, and what is he like?
HARP: Robert Brewer is a typical man of his time. He’s a commoner, never seeking nobility, but with appetites that appreciate little work and good pay. He has fallen for a destitute noble woman in town (Marian) and is not liked by most people in general because of his job. As Sheriff, he is the King’s representative to the town of Nottingham and the surrounding area; when people see him coming, it’s to collect taxes for the King. He’s not the classic villain of the Robin Hood tales, just a guy trying to get away with his life after stealing from the Crown.
Learn more about Wilson Harp and his writing at www.wilsonharpbooks.com