The Heirs of Locksley (The Robin Hood Stories, #2) By Carrie Vaughn

Really fun story about Robin's kids at King Henrys court. I loved the authors note were she stated that all the stories about Robin Hood are fan fiction, from the very first till now. If that's true then I need to read more fan fic because I just love the stories about Robin, his family and followers along with the setting. 9781250756626 4+ stars. Final review, first posted on Fantasy Literature:

The adventures of Robin Hood’s three children continue in The Heirs of Locksley, the second novella in Carrie Vaughn‘s ROBIN HOOD STORIES series. It takes a unexpected four-year leap forward from The Ghosts of Sherwood. The eldest, Mary, is now aged twenty and still hasn’t met the young man she’s semi-betrothed to, and her feelings have shifted from fear and uncertainty to irritation that William de Ros still hasn’t bothered to come meet her; in fact, she’s beginning to wonder if he even exists. John (named after Little John) is in his later teens now, and the youngest, Eleanor, is thirteen.

Robin’s old enemy King John died a few years ago, and his thirteen-year-old son Henry is having his second coronation, which historically occurred in May of 1220. Vaughn sets this story in the midst of this actual event, when the nobility have gathered in London for the coronation. Young King Henry III takes a shine to the Locksley children when they’re presented to him, and impulsively announces an archery contest. John and Mary, both excellent archers (especially Mary) who are well-taught by their father, decide, in for a penny, in for a pound, and dress in Lincoln green for the contest.

Friends are made, but also some enemies (not everyone approves of women archers in the thirteenth century). Robin encourages his son John to befriend the lonely young king, and John decides what Henry really needs is to get into some mild mischief. Specifically, he weasels his way into Henry’s chambers late in the evening and suggests that they sneak outside so Henry can try climbing a tree for the first time in his life. While hidden in the tree, Henry and John overhear and see dangerous goings-on that they weren’t intended to. It all gets complicated from there, and great fun.

The Heirs of Locksley, like the first book, is a quick, light read, but it felt more fully fleshed-out than The Ghosts of Sherwood. Vaughn tells a straightforward tale that isn’t particularly complex, but I found it highly entertaining — enough to turn back to the start and reread most of it immediately after I finished. It includes a couple of diverting and rather meta scenes that underscore how Robin Hood is already becoming a legend.

Those who watched King Henry’s coronation archery tournament thought it was a joke at first, the two fresh-faced archers from Nottinghamshire acting like Robin Hood’s heirs, making jokes about shooting Normans … It must have been a joke. Robin Hood was only a story.
The characters continue to grow on me, and Vaughn offers insights into their thoughts and motivations that help bring them to life. Robin still has a wicked grin and a rather rebellious soul, but having children has made him realize that it’s more useful to have royal favor than to be sworn enemies of the king. Mary hopes to find love, or at least a man whose character she can admire, but the practical reality of arranged marriages at this time in England still needs to be dealt with.

Vaughn comments in her author’s note at the end that the legends of Robin Hood don’t really fit into actual history — there were no friars in England during King John’s lifetime, for example — so all of the Robin Hood stories are essentially fanfiction. (It’s reminiscent of Robin McKinley’s afterword in her comparable novel The Outlaws of Sherwood, in which McKinley pointed out the scant historical evidence for longbows in England at this time.) But being brave and honorable, fighting against corruption, helping others: that’s the kind of fanfic we need.

Many thanks to Tor for the ARC! 9781250756626 This was even better than the predecessor novella, The Ghosts of Sherwood!

Taking place four years later, Mary, John, and Eleanor accopany their parents to the coronation of Henry III. Henry is still a boy, only 13, and sadly inexperienced in childhood fun and adventure. Who better to provide an introduction than the heirs of Locksley?

An archery contest, the foiling of nefarious plots, and even a tiny bit of romance, are all tidily packed into this fun and readable adventure tale. Another not-to-be missed story by Vaughn. 9781250756626 The Heirs of Locksley is the second book of Vaughn's Robin Hood stories, and is set four years after The Ghosts of Sherwood. It's a fast, fun read, and I enjoyed reading it, although I didn't think it was quite as good as the first book. (I thought that the way Mary met her betrothed was a little too coincidentally fortuitous, and John suddenly becomes a bit too hastily inclusively p.c.) I hope the series continues. 9781250756626 This delightful tale brings to life the children of Lord Locksley or as many refer to him Robin Hood. Mary, John and Eleanor are at court to see the new boy King Henry for the first time. However following on from some advice from his father John decides to help thirteen year old Henry get away from his staid and stressful life and embrace just a very small rebellion. Trouble is what seems just a harmless bit of fun turns quickly into a grand adventure !
I absolutely loved this story with its vividly written characters that easily came to life in the theatre of my mind. Mary is capable, brave and everything I want in a heroine. John is on the cusp of manhood and starting to realise that his life is about to go in directions that previously he hadn't foreseen. Eleanor is perhaps less fleshed out but she's sneaky, perceptive and her actions certainly help save the day. There is even a slight touch of romance deftly written in that made me smile for Mary but also wonder what the future holds for John. This is perfect for younger readers than myself as well as those who like me are long past our days of climbing trees !
This voluntary take is of a copy I requested from Netgalley and my thoughts and comments are honest and I believe fair 9781250756626

We will hold an archery contest. A simple affair, all in fun, on the tournament grounds. Tomorrow. We will see you there.

The latest civil war in England has come and gone, King John is dead, and the nobility of England gathers to see the coronation of his son, thirteen-year-old King Henry III.

The new king is at the center of political rivalries and power struggles, but John of Locksley—son of the legendary Robin Hood and Lady Marian—only sees a lonely boy in need of friends. John and his sisters succeed in befriending Henry, while also inadvertently uncovering a political plot, saving a man's life, and carrying out daring escapes.

All in a day's work for the Locksley children... The Heirs of Locksley (The Robin Hood Stories, #2)

I loved this I just wish it was longer, I could really see it developed into a full novel and it would be even better than it already is. It’s a fantastic re-imagining of the Robin Hood myth and legends. I love how much Carrie’s novellas are character driven and I hope she writes many more of these. A fantastic way to escape for awhile.

Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for a free copy for an honest opinion 9781250756626 Originally published at Reading Reality

I picked this up, admittedly rather early, because it combines two of my great reading loves, English history and fanfiction. And I really, truly was NOT expecting the second part of that equation.

I fell in love with English history at age 12, after seeing the movie Anne of a Thousand Days. I have no idea what drew me in so strongly. Certainly not any direct relationship to the history portrayed as I have zero English ancestry. Whether it was the pageantry, the politics or the power, I was absolutely hooked, leading to a life-long interest in British history, whether fictionalized or not.

Not that some of what grabbed me, like the Robin Hood and King Arthur, aren’t of dubious historical accuracy – at best.

But this particular novella duology – at least it’s a duology so far – does a terrific job of setting Robin Hood, Robin of Locksley, into a reasonably historical version of the time in which he was supposed to have lived, and skirts around the issues of exactly which, if any, of the tales about him might be true by making him a secondary character in these stories.

In these stories, Robin is no longer the outlaw of Sherwood. And he’s no longer a young man. Instead, he’s well into middle age, still powerful, still feared and hated and loved in equal measure, but also someone who recognizes that his time will inevitably draw to a close, sooner rather than later.

These stories focus on his children with Marian; his oldest daughter Mary, his son and heir John, and his slightly fey child Eleanor as they take their first steps into adulthood.

They also do a good job of giving bits of long-ago English history a face that makes them still feel relevant. The first book, The Ghosts of Sherwood, was a story about reckoning. About the nobles who favored King John still trying to eliminate Robin as a threat or a power, while the political maneuvering brought the negotiations surrounding the Magna Carta becomes personalized through his enemies attempt to kidnap his children – and his children manage to rescue themselves using the lessons their father and life on the edge of Sherwood have taught them.

In The Heirs of Locksley, the times have changed and the story has moved on a bit. It is 1220, and King John is dead. His 13-year-old son sits uneasily on the throne that he will occupy for the rest of his life. But Henry of Winchester, Henry III, is still a boy. A boy who never knew his father, but still stands in his shadow. The shadow of a man who seems to have pissed off everyone he ever knew.

Robin’s son John knows all about standing in a father’s long shadow. The two boys make a surprising common cause that leads them on an adventure that neither expected – to the consternation of all of the adults that surround them.

Escape Rating A-: I said at the beginning that this combined my loves of English history and fanfiction. The setting of these tales is between two of my favorite historical mystery series, both set in England and both occurring at times of great upheavals in history – as this series does.

I’m speaking of the Brother Cadfael series, by the late Ellis Peters, set in Shrewsbury, English between 1135 and 1145, at a time when the country was in the midst of a civil war. This series was also one of the first historical mystery series I have read, and the foundation of the popularity of the genre to this day.

The other series is the Owen Archer series, set in York in the late 1300s during the events that would eventually lead to yet another civil war, the Wars of the Roses. Both of these series, like these Robin Hood stories, do a fantastic job of drawing the reader directly into their time and place while still managing to comment on either our own, the immutability of human nature, or both.

(And now I’m missing Owen and will be moving the latest book in that series all the way up the virtually towering TBR pile!)

But I also referred to the Robin Hood stories as fanfiction – as the author does in the afterword to this book. It’s a concept that now that I’ve seen it, I can’t un-see it – and it resonates.

After all, the Robin Hood stories that we all know today weren’t written down until the late 1400s at the very earliest, three centuries after the adventures they portray. And even then, those written stories were merely printed versions of oral traditions that had arisen during the interim, sometime between Robin’s own time and the invention of the printing press.

As part of an oral tradition, the stories that were printed were the ones that were remembered, whether because they were the best stories, the most memorable ones, were just told by particularly charismatic storytellers – or all of the above. There’s no historical canon version, just a lot of stories that center around a larger-than-life character and his band of outlaws as they rebelled against an unjust authority.

It’s a “Fix-it” fic where the heroes fight wrongs and make things better in the end, as occurs when Richard the Lionhearted returns to his kingdom and the evil Sheriff of Nottingham is forced to leave Robin and his gang alone. The story conveniently ends before King Richard is killed and John takes back over, this time for good – or ill.

The Robin Hood Stories series are a kind of “next generation” fanfic where the author takes the beloved characters and tells readers what happened after the happy ever after, moving the story to the literal next generation, the earlier heroes’ children.

So she’s right. Not just that these stories feel like fanfiction but that the original Robin Hood stories were too. Complete with the “so many variations that the original canon is obscured” problem. In my review of the first book I noted that there’s a trend towards retellings going on right now. The world has gone mad and we’re all looking for the comfort of stories we know and love, in variations that may hold a few surprises but ultimately lead back to the tales that we already know.

And that’s what these Robin Hood Stories have been so far for me. A lovely comfort read with an interesting view of a historical period that I enjoy, an ultimately a visit with some old and very dear friends.

I hope there will be more.
9781250756626 King John is dead and thirteen-year-old Henry III has ascended the British throne surrounded by advisors and sycophants. When the nobility is to be introduced to the new king, Robin of Locksley aka Robin Hood suggests to his children, especially his son, John, that they go in his stead as Henry might need a friend, someone close to his age who wants nothing from him. Henry is immediately fascinated by the three having heard all the legends about their father. When he admits wistfully that he has never climbed a tree, John decides to sneak him out of the palace for a night of mischief, a vey dangerous plan since the discovery of it could be construed as kidnapping. Worse, as they sit high up in a tree, they overhear what may be a murder and a possible plot against an adviser of the king.

The Heirs of Locksley is based on the legendary character of Robin Hood, or to be more precise, his children, and I enjoyed it quite a bit. It's very short, really a novella, and it's well written with a fair bit of action and palace intrigue to keep the story moving. The three Locksley children are very likeable as is Henry. I had not realized this was the second in a series but it worked fine as a standalone.

I do, however, have to say that the length of the story worked both as a plus and a minus here. It felt that many of the plot points lacked both purpose or closure. They added little to the story and just seemed to be included here to, for example, allow the introduction of another character. Perhaps they'll be addressed in a future book but, here, they felt out of place. That aside, however, I would recommend it to any young reader (10+) who is looking for a quick read with likeable characters, lots of action but little violence.

Thanks to Netgalley and Macmillan-Tor/Forge for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review 9781250756626 There’s a running gag in this second instalment about Mary never getting to meet her now five-years-ago betrothed. The family gets to meet the young King Henry III, and when what should be harmless night of fun for the king and middle son of Marion and Robin, John, turns into a dangerous, possibly treasonous, situation. Mary and youngest sib Eleanor quickly get involved to protect John and the King.
This and the previous instalment are wonderful continuations of the Robin Hood legend, and I wish Carrie Vaughn would write more of these stories. 9781250756626 ARC provided by via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

I enjoyed this even more than the first book. They're very short and quite light reads, which is sort of the point. While they are not YA, they would probably be suitable for a YA audience (including the 12 - 14 end.) While Vaughn is clearly not writing the gritty 13th C for the sheer hell of showing the plagues and bloodshed, she doesn't shy away from the nastier aspects - hinting at them and leaving the reader to form her own opinion. As far as what are essentially fantasy reimaginings of the High Medieval period go, the history is also fairly accurate.

This book picks up some years after the Ghosts of Sherwood. Mary has still not met her betrothed and now that she is an adult, is starting to feel frustrated as well as nervous with the situation. Her younger brother, John, is now sixteen and while still a mischievous scapegrace, his judgement has matured. The youngest child of Robin Hood, Eleanor, is still mute but here we see her as a clever teenager who is just as adventurous and competent as her siblings. King John is dead and his son - 13yr old Henry III - is receiving oaths of fealty. Robin of Lockesley would like his children to befriend the lonely young king, since he wants a better less tempestuous life for his children than he and Marian suffered in their early years. John takes this advice to heart with disastrous consequences...

These novellas are a lot of fun. They're quieter fantasy stories but there's a lot of intelligent character development going on and they have a lot of heart. I really hope there are more in the series. Highly recommend. 9781250756626

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