A young novice nun wrongfully accused of Robin Hood’s murder must clear her name.
Elinor Dray has been living at Kirklees Abbey since her mother was hanged for poaching on the baron’s lands four years prior. Nevertheless, need outweighs danger, and Ellie often slips out to hunt in Sherwood Forest with her friends, the League of Archers. One evening she helps a lone archer injured by a poisoned arrow only to discover he's Robin Hood—and the mother abbess is Maid Marian. Third-person narration communicates Elinor’s confusion, elation, and disappointment in meeting her hero only to have him die—and wonder if he was a hero after all. Readers may need to suspend disbelief when the baron accuses Ellie—who, though a skilled archer, is just 12—of Hood’s murder. Ellie eventually escapes the baron’s clutches and reunites with the League, but in order to stay safe and save Maid Marian, she must find the Merry Men while grappling with such questions as whether the sacrifice of life for the greater good is ethical. This book doesn’t shy away from deep moral dilemmas often unexplored in middle-grade novels and important to acknowledge in a story with life-or-death stakes. Unsurprisingly, the principal characters are white.
Perhaps a tad longer than necessary, this generally well-paced post-legend take on the Robin Hood myth will captivate action and adventure fans and lovers of historical fiction alike. (Historical fiction. 10-14)