THE STAR AND THE SWORD by Pamela Melnikoff


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No anti-Semitism in Sherwood Forest. Fleeing from a massacre of the Jews in their Yorkshire town, almost-thirteen Benedict and his sister Elvira, ten, meet Robin Hood, pretend to be runaway apprentices, and become the pets of his outlaw band; but Elvira can't keep quiet when a Jewish traveler who resembles her uncle is threatened. Rather then recoiling, Robin extracts their story, shortly after asks their help in passing off a Crusader friend of Richard the Lion-Hearted as a merchant with family on route to London, pointing out that it's in the Jews' interest to have Richard ransomed and back on the throne. Apprehensively -- Sir Edward, as a Crusader, is a natural enemy of Jews -- they set out, feel impelled to assert their Jewishness at the sight of his stolen-from-a-synagogue menorah, find they have a friend: he never knew Jews as real people before. In a quick succession of ruses, Benedict goes to prison to shield Sir Edward and Friar Tuck rescues him. Safe in London at last, the children are made welcome in Sir Edward's household but opt for their relatives at Oxford; besides, it's almost time for Benedict's bar mitzvah. Only one thing saves this pastiche: the merry men don't say mazel tov.

Pub Date: Sept. 4th, 1968
ISBN: 0827605285
Publisher: Crown