cover image Robin and the King

Robin and the King

Parke Godwin. William Morrow & Company, $21 (366pp) ISBN 978-0-688-05274-4

Sherwood Forest no longer rings with the daring exploits of Edward ``Robin Hood'' Denby; now middle-aged, Robin lives contentedly with his beloved Marian and their two children. He's even become friends with the Sheriff of Nottingham, who has married his cousin. In this sequel to Sherwood , Robin gets into trouble again when he argues in court against a plan to convert part of Sherwood into a royal hunting preserve for William I, who rules England from Normandy. Banished for his insolence, Robin becomes a body servant to the king and his second son, the brave, licentious Rossel. He changes the course of English history by convincing William to alter the line of succession, a development that Godwin's spellbinding storytelling makes totally believable. Not just a first-rate adventure, this is also a fascinating account of everyday life in the 11th century, whose customs, beliefs, superstitions and fears are vividly evoked. Witchcraft, intrigue and betrayal lead to a shocking denouement. Deft characterizations, superb battle scenes and more than a little wit make this a worthy addition to Robin Hood lore. ( June )