Wednesday, December 05, 2012
"The Black Arrow" by Robert Louis Stevenson
So anyway, The Black Arrow: A Tale of the Two Roses runs in the vein of Robin Hood and Ivanhoe and things like that -- it's about a young man named Richard Shelton who learns that the man who became his guardian long ago when Richard's father died is actually the man who murdered said father. This happens just when the Lancasters and Yorks are engaging in what's called the War of the Roses, battling with each other for England's throne, as was their wont. Richard runs off and joins up with these guys known as the Fellowship of the Black Arrow who are sworn to kill off four evil men (Richard's ex-guardian included) and are headed up by none other than Richard's dead father's best friend. But Richard doesn't care much for them, as they're involved in a bit too much thievery for his taste, so he runs off again and joins up with someone else, and falls in love, and has lots of adventures. This was originally serialized, so it has that Dumas thing going on where we have a cliffhanger at the end of every chapter/installment, and lots of excitement throughout. Anyway, Richard ends up fighting side-by-side with the future Richard III at one point.
If you like rousing adventures where everyone says "ye" and "anon" and "by the Mass!" and "forsooth," this is quite fun. I happen to like such things, so I quite liked this. It's not of the same caliber as Kidnapped or Treasure Island (or Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, I expect, but I haven't read that yet), but it's quite enjoyable. I'm always trying to learn more about England's history, as it's all a bit fuzzy in my head, so this is helpful there too.