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Hawksmaid: The Untold Story of Robin Hood and Maid Marian


Hawksmaid: The Untold Story of Robin Hood and Maid Marian

The year is 1187, and Matty is about to turn 10 when her world shatters into a million pieces. The beloved King Richard has left England to fight in the Crusades, leaving Prince John in charge. Unfortunately, Prince John has decided to make a few changes while his brother is away. He is assaulting the people, taking their money and jewels, destroying their homes and murdering the innocent, all to make himself more powerful. During one of his evil rampages, Matty’s mother is killed, and Matty and her father are reduced to scavenging the land just to feed themselves. It is then that Matty’s father begins to teach her a new set of lessons other than sewing and dancing --- the art of falconry.

Matty’s father has trained hawks, including Morgana the Kestrel, Ulysses the Goshawk, Lyra the shortwing hawk, and Moss the peregrine. And now he teaches his daughter how to care for them, train them, and hunt with them. Matty instantly develops a deep relationship with the birds, even talking with them in their own language. She soon comes across a young merlin that she names Marigold. Merlins are the hardest to train, but their connection is instant and magical. She and the birds manage to keep the family alive with their hunting trips. Of course, Matty’s dear friend, Fynn, also makes sure they’re adequately fed. He sneaks into the forest, hunting forbidden deer; once he even stole a hen and gave it to another hungry family. Unfortunately, everyone outside of Prince John’s circle is on the verge of starvation.

Over the next few years, Matty, Fynn and their friends become bolder, refusing to sit on the sidelines while their country falls into ruin. They form a band of outlaws with complex codes, secret hideouts, and ambitious plans to rescue the country from Prince John. Fynn becomes Robin Hood, and Matty is now Maid Marian, going undercover at Prince John’s castle to spy on the enemy. Maid Marian, her loyal hawks, Robin Hood and their merry men join forces to confront the enemy. They steal from the corrupt prince, give to the starving people, and fight to keep their beloved England free.

Prolific author Kathryn Lasky offers a unique look at the famous legend of Robin Hood through the eyes of Maid Marian. She writes with a classic style and a formal voice, presenting her story with grace and elegance. Matty/Maid Marian is a superb role model --- strong, honorable and brave, with a kind heart --- and has an enviable connection with her bird friends, characterized by commitment, love, and a unique bond that takes them far beyond any average relationship. Lasky has done a wonderful job in her research, both with the history of the time period and the legends of Robin Hood, and the fascinating hawk information. This amazing book is a charming mix of legend and history, romance, adventure and mystery, sure to please any reader.

Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman on May 10, 2011

Hawksmaid: The Untold Story of Robin Hood and Maid Marian
by Kathryn Lasky

  • Publication Date: May 10, 2011
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins
  • ISBN-10: 0060000724
  • ISBN-13: 9780060000721