Wednesday, May 3, 2017

League of Archers by Eva Howard

Elinor Dray can’t handle being a novice nun. Mercifully, the Reverend Mother uses Elinor’s archery skills to supplement the nunnery’s scarce provisions. Escaping the abbey, Elinor rejoins her friends—her League of Archers—to hunt and daydream about Robin Hood’s deeds. One night Elinor meets a mysterious archer. As they talk, he is shot with a poisoned arrow. While the man dies in the abbey, Elinor learns he is Robin Hood and the Reverend Mother is Maid Marion. As if planned, the constable arrives to arrest Marion—still a wanted criminal—and take Elinor to Baron Lord de Lay’s castle. Once she is there, the baron proclaims Elinor killed the well-loved Robin Hood.

There are many stories based on what happened after Robin Hood and his men finished their excusable plundering days. Most have clumsy structures based more on Hollywood fluff and less on the actual Hood legend. League of Archers, however, is a successful exception. Howard shows the real price one pays when playing a thief, even if it is done for righteous reasons. Trust and communication are lost when one is constantly stealing from others. Elinor and the League must learn from Robin’s mistakes because they are all slipping into his lifestyle, whether they like it or not. Only by building on the solid foundation of friendship and integrity can they have a chance at surviving. League of Archers is a suspenseful, stunning start to a new middle-grade series.