“Nottingham: The True Story of Robyn Hood” by Anna Burke— A Return to the Forest

Burke, Anna. “Nottingham: The True Story of Robyn Hood”, Bywater Books, 2020.

A Return to the Forest

Amos Lassen

Growing up, I was a voracious reader but for whatever reason the tales of Robin Hood and his gang were never books I wanted to read. It was not until I saw “Robin and Marian” and then later Mel Brooks spoof, “Men in Tights” that I realized what I had missed. I read as many adult versions of the story as I could find and you can imagine my excitement when I learned that Anna Burke was writing yet another version of the tale. I just finished her “Nottingham: The True Story of Robyn Hood: and I loved it. It is a familiar story that she has reimagined and it is wonderful.

Running from the law, Robyn is in Sherwood Forest. She  does not want to break the law; she just wants to take care of her family but the Sheriff of Nottingham has levied the largest tax in the history of England, making her take matters into her own hands. She needs help and so she depends upon “her merry band of misfits and Marian, the Sheriff’s daughter who he has made off-limits. Robyn needs to figure out how to pull off the biggest heist that has ever been in Sherwood.

We really see what kind of person Robyn is when she puts all at risk in order to make sure that her family will be okay. I love writer Anna Burk’s twist on a story is familiar to so many of us and that she is able to use a queer angle in relating it. It is beautifully written and filled with great detail. As I read, I mused about being surrounded by lust greenery with birds tweeting in the trees. It is also a thriller of a read and I was wrapped up in the tensions of the plot. Both Robyn and Marian are wonderfully drawn characters and when they are together, I felt the love between them. Even as a male, I identified with Robyn a bit and wished I could be more like. Her strength of character is amazing.

As I have said before (and with every Anna Burke book I have read), there is something in the way Burke writes and the stories that she tells that make me a fan.