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Robin Hood Demon’s Bane: Mark of the Black Arrow by Debbie Viguié & James R. Tuck

Most people must know the story of Robin Hood, and so I was super excited to hear about this new series that takes the legend and gives it an action-packed fantasy twist. 

With a darkness spreading overseas, Richard the Lionheart leaves his beloved England on a Holy mission and entrusts the safety of the realm to his brother Prince John. But the new false King brings a darkness of his own, namely in the form of the supernaturally scary Sheriff of Nottingham. 

He introduces intolerable taxes, executes anyone who disagrees with him and even inflicts illness on the people to bring them to heel. 

One small band of unlikely allies form in the face of the burgeoning terror; Robin, a feisty Maid Marian, a bard, two clergymen and a noble, who help create the legend of “The Hood” and plot ways to save England from certain destruction. 

I really liked this portrayal of Robin. He’s quite aggressive and definitely has a touch of the fey about him. Although a natural leader and hero, he still struggles to come to terms with the role, and I’m very interested to learn more about his character over the coming series. 

For me, Marian is likeable on and off; she’s brave, clever and has an honest heart, but she can also be quite stubborn and sensitive, which given her other character traits, I wanted her to be the ultimate heroine, but I guess that she has a lot of growing up to do. There is totally a spark between Robin and Marian, although with everything happening to the characters, will they ever get the chance to be together? Another thing to watch out for! 

There are lots of references to Arthurian legends and magic both natural and more occult which is a great spin on the Robin Hood tale. The Sheriff of Nottingham is a truly terrifying baddie and the good guys really have their work cut out dealing with him and his awful powers. There are many characters with their stories woven in, which sets up lots of exciting new storylines for future books. 

There’s always something happening; plenty of action to get your teeth into, with a bit of sex, gore and violence which makes this book even more fun to read. There is so much to look forward to in this brilliantly devised series, and with the epic epilogue in this first book, you will definitely be left wanting more. 

Fast paced, action packed and brimming with fantastical potential, this is a real treat for fantasy and adventure fans. I really cannot wait to read the next instalment! 

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