Author: Rosemary Sutcliff
This book, written by the -since few years- dead author Rosemary Sutcliff is very closed to the Robin Hood - Legend nevertheless you get a realistic impression of Robin Hood. Additionally a Marian got her life who is Robin's wife but neither an emancipated woman not a stupid little girl.
Robert of Locksley, returning from a trip, gets to know that his old enemy Guy of Gisborne said he is a poacher. Much, the small Miller helps his to free Robin's caught farm hands which remained loyal. Together with those people they escape into the woods and 'Robin of Barnesdale' becomes their leader. So a band of outlaws, swearing to help every poor and oppressed and only to rob rich who got their richness because of unjustice, begins. The band grows and grows not only with outlaws but with people, being known as brave and noble. Robin visits them every time when he gets to know their names, then they fight each other and after defeating or being defeated, he asks them to join the band. e.g. Little-John, Friar Tuck, George O'Green etc.
Some time later, when Robin is well-known all over the shire, he gets to know that his love, Marian Fitzwalter, is forced to marry the cruel Baron Sir Roger of Doncaster. Disguised as a minnesinger Robin visits the marriage and there he - and the other people, too - gets to know, that Marian is vanished. Back in the forest, Robin gives some instuductions for looking for Marian but nobody can find her. Few days later, walking through the woods, he meets a young man who attacks him without any reason. The fight a short time and Robin wins. At this moment, he recognizes Marian, both return to the band and marry short time later.
The outlaws get a knew friend, a knight: Sir Richard at-Lea with giving hima credit when he needs money. Later they also can help his son, Allan A'Dale, whose love is forced to marry, too and after freeing her, Alan and his wife become members of the group, too. When the outlaws are in danger some time later, Sir Richards opens the doors of his castle and so they aren't caught by the evil Sheriff of Nottingham. Sir Richard is outlawed, too, and joins them.
The king of England, Richard the Lionhearted, wants to get to know this famous outlaw. He visits the outlaws and impressed by Robin, he amnesties everyone. Robin and Marian stay 16 happy years at Malaset (Marians home-castle). Later, a great fight against king John [Richard is dead] commences. Robin joins the fighters. Marian is killed when some soldiers attack Malaset and after this Robin - together with Little John who didn't leave Robin all the time - returns to Barnesdale Forest.
After a while, he meets his great enemy, Guy of Gisborne, and can kill him. Sir Roger of Doncaster - who also became a great enemy - gives Robin's cousin, the abbess Ursula, money for killing Robin. Then he escapes to France.
The Cousin cuts Robin's artery and gives him some poison. John, finding the almost - dead Robin, helps him to shoot his last arrow and promises to put his body into earth at this place, where the arrow landed. It lands at the border between Forest and grass, an area which is liked by Robin very much - he dies. All outlaws visit his burial and it's the end of the band of outlaws, most start a new life - like John and Much - and live in peace until the end. Peterkin, a juggler, who was also a member of the outlaws, once, avenges Robin and kills Sir Roger of Doncaster in France.
This book is written in a great way and so realistic that one can have the feeling that a part of former times is in the room. The charakter of Robin is a bit glorified but not too much so there is still the feeling that Robin could have been like this Robin.