This is a lively story, a twist on your typical version of Robin Hood; featuring the son of a lord who ends up deep in the woods, the prisoner of the Merry Men. “Rob”, is the least merry among them, but he grows on you just in time to live up to his hero’s reputation. This is mostly because, during this time, the group is still just a raggedy bunch of bandits, instead of the whole “robbing from the rich, giving to the poor” ideal that apparently came later.
As you may know, we are big Jessica George (Tuesdays at the Castle series) fans in our house, so I was a little wary of comparing these two stories as I read, as they seemed to have similar themes. (Parents be warned, it’s one of those, “my parents are gone, and I am carrying on pretty well without them, even though I am only thirteen”.) And, while Will is our main character, there is also a girl involved (and she is also parent-less); though, to be fair, some people did not realize they had let a girl into their adventure until it was too late.
Don’t tell Jessica, but I liked this book. I won’t say it was better than hers, because it wasn’t, but maybe it was just as good. As far as I’m concerned, that is high praise. More importantly, I like to recommend books, and sometimes, since I live with two girls, I lose my credibility with the boys. Though we do like the occasional adventure, it can get pretty girly around here. When I read Will in Scarlet, I was excited to find a book that will not embarrass any boy I know when he takes it out at the library, or asks for it at the local bookstore. It is a rare and wonderful thing, when I can say with some certainty, “This is a great adventure. There are bandits and royalty, kidnappings and fires, and all kinds of pillaging. There are swordfights and fistfights, and horses and knights, and even, a Horse-Knight. You will love it, I promise.” Read on.