Lists

5 Works of Fiction Featuring the Famous Robin Hood

 

Robin Hood and His Adventures by Paul Creswick. Interior Illustration by N.C. Wyeth (PD)

Robin Hood might have been based on a real historical figure, or he could be a composite of several. He might not have existed at all. Does it really matter? What Robin Hood represents — fraternity, generosity to the less fortunate, and commitment to a personal moral code — is more important than his historicity. The fictional Robin Hood is as potent a figure as any.

There’s really no authoritative collection of Robin Hood tales, as they originated as medieval ballads, poems, and plays. He’s a stock character. Generations of storytellers have added to his myth over the centuries, and they still do today. Here are some modern retellings of the myth.

  • The cover of the book The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood

    The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood

    Many will point to master illustrator and children’s book author Howard Pyle’s The Merry Adventures of Robin Hoodas the canonical collection of Robin Hood stories, and I’m not going to argue with them. Pyle was a great writer, and this collection hits all of the right notes. If it’s a memorable Robin Hood story, then you’ll find it in here. Don’t worry about this one being for “children”: The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood is an all ages read that adults will love as well.

     
  • The cover of the book The Adventures of Robin Hood

    The Adventures of Robin Hood

    Another classic collection! Roger Lancelyn Green pulled material from all of the old ballads, plays, and poems when he was writing The Adventures of Robin Hood. Like Pyle’s collection, Green’s book is written in modern English and as faithful to the original tales as you can get.

     
  • The cover of the book Lady of Sherwood

    Lady of Sherwood

    Jennifer Roberson’s imaginative retelling of the Robin Hood myth depicts Robin Hood and Lady Marian as equal partners in a war against the evil Prince John. Expect equal servings of adventure and romance in this popular take on the classic tales.

     
  • The cover of the book Outlaw

    Outlaw

    Historical fiction author Angus Donald tells the story of Robin Hood through the eyes of Alan Dale: a young man who joins his band after he is caught stealing. Donald’s Robin Hood is a ruthless ringleader who is more bandit than defender of the poor, and his story is rooted in the historical clash between the Saxons and Norman invaders. If you like Bernard Cornwell, then you’ll like this.

     
  • The cover of the book The Outlaws of Sherwood

    The Outlaws of Sherwood

    In Robin McKinley’s The Outlaws of Sherwood, short-tempered Robin Longbow is forced to flee deep into the forest after murdering an enemy. Once there, others join him: Saxons who would prefer to live freely than serve their Norman masters. McKinley is a master storyteller who should be quite familiar to fantasy fans. If you like her other work, then you’re going to love her take on the Robin Hood mythos.