Home

Calendars

Home Decor

Arts and Crafts

Aromatherapy
Candle Making
Celtic Cross Stitch
Celtic Knotwork & Calligraphy
Celtic Quilt Patterns
Celtic Stencils
Celtic Tattoos
Growing and Using Herbs
Illuminated Manuscripts
Making Mead, Ale, Wine
Medieval Architecture
Medieval Food
Medieval Furniture Plans
Soap Making
Stained Glass
Traditional Celtic Food
Weapons and Armor

History and Archeology

Ancient Celts
Ancient Scots and Picts
Anglo-Saxons
Crusaders
Dark Ages
Icelandic Sagas
Medieval Castles
Roman Britain
Romanesque and Gothic Cathedrals
Stone Circles
Vikings

Languages

Indo-European Roots
Irish Gaelic
Old English
Scottish Gaelic
Welsh

Mythology and Religion

Celtic Christianity
Celtic Folklore & Fairy Tales
Celtic Halloween Traditions
Celtic Mythology and Religion
Celtic Prayer
Celtic Saints
Celtic Wedding Traditions
Druids and Druidism
Icelandic Sagas
Irish Mythology
Norse Mythology
Welsh Mythology

Fantasy Fiction by Author

Joe Abercrombie
Marion Zimmer Bradley
Terry Brooks
Steven Brust
Lois McMaster Bujold
Glen Cook
David Eddings
Steven Erikson
Raymond E. Feist
Robin Hobb
Robert Jordan
Stephen Lawhead
George R.R. Martin
Terry Pratchett
Terry Pratchett - Kids
R.A. Salvatore
J.R.R. Tolkien
Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman

Other Fiction

Arthurian - Medieval
Arthurian - Modern
Historical England and Wales
Historical Ireland
Historical Scotland
Medieval Murder Mysteries
Robin Hood

Commentary and Reference

Fantasy Reference Books
Fantasy Writing Tips
Lord of the Rings Movie Books
Middle-Earth Maps and Atlases
Tolkien Art
Tolkien Biography & Commentary

Fantasy Artists

Bell and Vallejo
Susan Seddon Boulet
Brom
J.R.R. Tolkien

Art Books and Instruction

Celtic Knotwork and Calligraphy
Illuminated Manuscripts
Lord of the Rings Movie Art
Medieval Architecture
Medieval Stained Glass
J.R.R. Tolkien

Music CDs

Celtic Christmas
Celtic New Age
English Folk and Madrigals
Gregorian Chant/Medieval Church
Icelandic and Norse
Lord of the Rings
Medieval Christmas
Movie Soundtracks
Traditional Irish Folk
Traditional Scottish Folk

Movie Soundtracks

Best Fantasy Soundtracks
Lord of the Rings

The Legend of Robin Hood

The Robin Hood story is another of those timeless myths and legends that finds its root deep in the middle ages, and yet is just as relevant today as it was in medieval times. The poor are always faced with unscrupulous people in power, whether ursurping kings of medieval English kingdoms, or captains of modern industry, who seek to rob them blind out of greed and arrogance. Robin Hood rises up to defend the poor, stealing back from the rich what they have gained by flouting the laws of man and nature.

Is Robin Hood a true story? Not entirely, but like all legends it may have had its roots in fact before becoming fiction, just as the legend of King Arthur may have its basis in fact as well. Originally, the Robin Hood legend arose through popular medieval folk tales and songs, portraying Robin as a free commoner (or yeoman) robbing from the rich to give to the poor. Later, Robin was characterized as a nobleman with legendary sword and archery skills, who drew together a band of Merry Men to help his cause and the cause of the people. At that time, games and plays about Robin Hood were common as well.

The earliest literature referring to Robin Hood is found in 15th century compilations of poems and ballads, and place him in the famous Sherwood Forest in Nottingham. Other stories over the next two or three centuries place him in other English locations, including one literary reference listing his birthplace as Loxley in Sheffield. Later stories (16th century at least) that make him a nobleman sometimes refer to him as the Earl of Huntingdon.

We don't know if Robin Hood was a true historical person or not, though the earliest references begin near Nottingham. Perhaps the real Robin Hood was born near there, or an early balladeer in that vicinity invented him.

From the late 14th century through the 16th, ballads and poems about Robin Hood abound and include references to the other Robin Hood characters particular to the story we know, including the Sheriff of Nottingham, Will Scarlett, Friar Tuck, Little John, and Maid Marian. Robin Hood became known not only as a hero for the poor, but a champion of women as well. He became known for fighting justly against the abuses of the medieval church, too.

By the end of the 16th century, the Robin Hood legend had evolved into the story we see portrayed over and over again in our day. The story is placed in the 12th century, with Robin Hood being a noble lord returned from the Crusades and finding the evil King John and the Sheriff of Nottingham in collusion against the people while good King Richard the Lionheart is away. It is the more modern stories that emphasize the romance between Robin and Marian as well.

For more detailed information about the history of Robin Hood in literature and a more thorough discussion of whether Robin Hood is fact or fiction, you'll want to visit the Robin Hood wiki page. Following here is a summary of Robin Hood books in fiction.

Buy Robin Hood Books - Fiction and Literature
Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott
Get More Info
Ivanhoe (1819)
by Sir Walter Scott

Sir Walter Scott's classic tale of adventure and romance set during the Crusades has young knight Wilifrid fighting alongside Robin Hood and his men against those opposed to Richard the Lionheart, as well as the Knights Templar and others, while trying to win the hand of the lovely Rowena. The first of the modern Robin Hood tales.
Maid Marian by Thomas Love Peacock
Get More Info
Maid Marian (1822)
by Thomas Love Peacock
A lively story of Maid Marian and Robin Hood by a 19th century author and satirist. In this version of the Robin Hood story, Robin is not as perfect as we are accustomed to, while Marian is quite modern as a woman skilled in weapons and the hunt. Peacock's novels seem to be reviving in popularity.
Robin Hood the Outlaw by Alexandre Dumas
Get More Info
Robin Hood the Outlaw (Robin Hood le proscrit) (1863)
by Alexandre Dumas
translated into English

Not nearly as well-known as the other Dumas classics (eg, Three Musketeers, Count of Monte Cristo), this novel can be a bit hard to find in English. Famous French author Dumas characterizes Robin Hood more as thief than savior, but it's a good read, especially for Dumas fans (and who can resist Dumas?)
The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle
Get More Info
The Merry Adventures Of Robin Hood (1883)
by Howard Pyle

Howard Pyle was a very well-known children's writer and illustrator and my first introduction to many classic tales. His collection of the Robin Hood stories in this book has introduced at least three generations to the Robin Hood legends and form the basis for most of the present day Robin Hood characters, myths and legends. If you can possibly find an old version with the original illustrations, do not hesitate to buy it.
Robin Hood and His Merry Outlaws by J. Walker McSpadden
Get More Info
Robin Hood and his Merry Outlaws (1891)
by Joseph Walker McSpadden,

J. Walker McSpadden's take on the Robin Hood legend has legions of fans. His lively account follows Robin of Lockesley as he finds himself an outlaw, meets up with the other members of his Merry Men, and pursues romance with Maid Marian. Told in episodic fashion, you can dip in a chapter at a time and enjoy the adventures. This older version has delightful illustrations by Greg Hildebrandt.
Robin Hood by Henry Gilbert
Get More Info
Robin Hood (1912)
by Henry Gilbert
illustrated by Frank Godwin

Not as popular as other versions, Gilbert's legend of Robin Hood is written in an old-fashioned style that may be difficult for younger readers.
Robin Hood by Paul Creswick
Get More Info
Robin Hood (1917)
by Paul Creswick
illustrated by N. C. Wyeth

In this version of the story, Robin of Locksley, son of the Ranger of Locksley, has his lands seized by the evil Prince John and, cast out, finds himself an outlaw. This book is best known for its beautiful illustrations by N. C. Wyeth.
Robin Hood by Geoffrey Trease
Get More Info
Bows Against the Barons (1934)
by Geoffrey Trease

According to the wiki, this is a children's book with a young adult hero who joins Robin's band to fight the feudal elite and is notable for its leftist political content. Might be just the ticket today, though in 1930s Britain it could have been rather helpful to the pacifists/appeasers. Interesting.
Chronicles of Robin Hood by Rosemary Sutcliff
Get More Info
Chronicles of Robin Hood (1950)
by Rosemary Sutcliff

This book is extremely hard to find and I don't personally know anything about it. However, Rosemary Sutcliff was one of the best known children's historical fiction authors of the mid-20th century, particularly for her King Arthur series and her Eagles of the Ninth series about Roman Britain.
The Adventures of Robin Hood by Roger Lancelyn Green
Get More Info
The Adventures of Robin Hood (1956)
by Roger Lancelyn Green

Roger Lancelyn Green was a member of the writer's group The Inklings and has been overshadowed by the success of fellow members J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. His Adventures of Robin Hood is a very thorough retelling of the stories from folklore meant to be read by children.
The Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinley
Get More Info
The Outlaws of Sherwood (1988)
by Robin McKinley

McKinley writes fantasy and folklore for the young adult audience and is perhaps most well-known for her award winning Beauty based on the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale. This book received better reviews from readers than critics; fans seem to love it. Most notably in this retelling and reflecting changing times, Marian is a better shot than Robin in these adventures, and there are other women active in the Merry Band.
Sherwood by Parke Godwin
Get More Info
Sherwood (1992)
by Parke Godwin

Finally, some Robin Hood for grown-ups. Parke Godwin's Sherwood is fine historical fiction with many, but not all, important elements from the usual Robin Hood tales. He sets his novel in 1066, just after the Norman invasion. Robin and his father fight with others against William the Conquerer. When they fail, and Robin's father is killed, he returns home but finds he cannot stick the laws of the conquerors and retreats to Sherwood with his men. Fine reading for everyone who enjoys historical fiction, though purists might not like the change in setting and the alterations to the story.

Godwin published a sequel, Robin and the King, in 1994, which picks up with Robin's character several years later. While you might enjoy the book, it's nothing to do with the Robin Hood legend.
The Forestwife Trilogy by Theresa Tomlinson
Get More Info
The Forestwife Trilogy (1993-2000)
by Theresa Tomlinson

These books are not in print at this time, but Tomlinson is apparently a respect young adult author. The book cover says, "This is a powerful retelling of the Robin Hood story from Marian's point of view. When fifteen year old Mary flees into the forest to avoid a fearsome marriage arranged by her uncle, she little knows what challenges lie in store for her as the wise and magical Green Lady of the Woods." So, mystical and completely non-historical retelling. I suppose we would characterize this trilogy as "loosely-based" on the Robin Hood legends.
Robin's Country by Monica Furlong
Get More Info
Robin's Country (1994)
by Monica Furlong

Written for children in the upper elementary range, this novel is about a mute orphan boy who runs away from a cruel master and hooks up with Robin and Marian and their crew. With their help, he finds himself and a new life.
Robin Hood According to Spike Milligan by Spike Milligan
Get More Info
Robin Hood According to Spike Milligan (1998)
by Spike Milligan

This guy wrote a series of parodies based on classic novels.
Robin Hood Trilogy by Marsha Canham
Get More Info
Robin Hood Trilogy (1991-1997)
by Marsha Canham

Marsha Canham is a romance writer whose three books on Robin Hood, Through a Dark Mist (1991), In the Shadow of Midnight (1994), and The Last Arrow (1997), have proven very popular. This Robin Hood trilogy sticks to the traditional themes, with all our favorite characters exhibiting courage and honor, though it includes updates in terms of empowered women warriors, as well as explicit violence and sex.
The Rowan Hood Series by Nancy Springer
Get More Info
The Rowan Hood Series (2001-2005)
by Nancy Springer

The first book in this series is Rowan Hood - Outlaw Girl of Sherwood Forest, followed by three more. The title says it all, or almost. This is a children's series with a female protagonist (Robin's lost daughter, apparently), lots of paganism and magic. I doubt we will find many books from the mid-1990s on that do not contain paganism and magic and tough chicks. Times change.
The King Raven Trilogy by Stephen R. Lawhead
Get More Info
The King Raven Trilogy (2006-2009)
by Stephen R. Lawhead

Lawhead's a very popular historical fiction author with a bent in favor of Celtic Christianity (which I personally will take over paganism any day). This series includes Hood (2006), Scarlet (2007), and Tuck (2009). Lawhead moves his legend of Robin Hood to the deep forest of eastern Wales, renaming his hero Bran, and sets it in the period after the Norman invasion. So instead of having Robin as a saxon knight fighting the Normans, he is now a true Briton fighting the Normans. I haven't read this series, but I have read quite a few other Lawhead books and find some of them entertaining.
Hodd by Adam Thorpe
Get More Info
Hodd (2010)
by Adam Thorpe

Hodd is a literary novel about a medieval monk/minstrel who lives with and chronicles the evil doings of Hodd (Robin Hood) in his ballads, thereby accruing a heavy burden of guilt when these songs inadvertently produce a folk hero. One of those novels that purports to be true history, by having Monk Matthew's writings discovered in modern times. Pure fiction.