Here are the five earliest ballads of 'Robyn Hode', retold in vivid modern prose. They still constitute the best version of the famous English outlaw - fast and violent, earthy and satirical, dangerous, sinister, mysterious and revolutionary. The king is always referred to as 'Edward our comely king', pointing to the reign of Edward I, when a Robert Hode of Wakefield, an outlaw at the time, entered the king's service for a year. There is no Friar Tuck or Maid Marian, these being later additions in Elizabethan times. The only woman in Robin's life was Mary the Mother of God, with the single exception of the Sheriff's wife. This is an exhilarating new telling of Robin Hood for our time, full of valour, passion and bloodshed.
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