Hawksmaid: The Untold Story of Robin Hood and Maid Marian

Hawksmaid: The Untold Story of Robin Hood and Maid Marian

4.7 38
by Kathryn Lasky
     
 

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Before she was Maid Marian, she was Matty. . . .

Matty has been raised to dance well, embroider exquisitely, and marry nobly. But when Matty's mother is murdered before her very eyes and her father, a nobleman, is reduced to poverty, Matty's life changes.

As the daughter of Nottingham's most famous falconer, she finds a new destiny in the hawks her

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Overview

Before she was Maid Marian, she was Matty. . . .

Matty has been raised to dance well, embroider exquisitely, and marry nobly. But when Matty's mother is murdered before her very eyes and her father, a nobleman, is reduced to poverty, Matty's life changes.

As the daughter of Nottingham's most famous falconer, she finds a new destiny in the hawks her father keeps. She begins to understand their thoughts and even speak their language. The beautiful merlin Marigold becomes Matty's closest winged companion and her fiercest ally.

It is a treacherous time in England. The sheriff of Nottingham is rising to power, and a true king has been kidnapped. Determined to fight, Matty's friend Fynn becomes Robin Hood. As Maid Marian, Matty joins Fynn and his Merry Men, famously robbing from the rich to give to the poor.

You thought that you knew the legend, but this is the untold story. Bestselling author Kathryn Lasky soars to magnificent new heights here, giving us a bold tale of bravery and romance.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Stephanie R. Pearmain
This book is in two parts. Book One, "When Robin Hood was Fynn and When Maid Marian was Matty," tells the story of young Matty and Fynn, and their friends. Matty is the only girl in the group and at times the boys leave her out even though she is often better at things such as building tree houses and strategizing important plans. It is twelfth-century England and Prince John is plotting to steal the crown from Richard who has gone off to the Crusades. The poor are getting poorer and those in control are becoming more greedy and corrupt. After Matty's father's castle is overthrown and her mother murdered, Matty and her father slip into poverty like many other people. Her father teaches her to become a falconer and soon she masters the art more than her father ever did. As Matty, Fynn, and the boys become aware that the new abbess is corrupt and clearly in on a plan to steal the crown, they decide to help fight for their king and the people of their country. In Book Two, "When Fynn Became Robin Hood and When Matty Became Maid Marian," Matty, Fynn, and the boys change their names. Maid Marian goes to work as a scullery maid in Nottingham Castle to try to uncover any secrets she can. Robin Hood and his band of Merry Men steal from the rich and give to the poor. Marian makes an enemy of the abbess and barely escapes Nottingham. Eventually she is captured by the abbess and held in the part of the castle where dying lepers are kept. Marian, weak from hunger, melds with one of her falcons and manages to retrieve the five rubies the abbess is after. These she delivers to Queen Eleanor so she can pay the ransom for Richard, who was captured and imprisoned. Meanwhile, Robin and his Merry Men break into the castle to save Marian, who is near death. Robin and Marian finally confess their love for each other and King Richard knights Marian, thus validating that she is not "just a woman" among the troupe of men, but one of the primary leaders and the one responsible for rescuing the king. The second book is much more of a page turner than the first. The action picks up as the mystery unfolds and the stakes heighten. The overall story is unique and Lasky does a beautiful job at weaving together legends and history as well as outlining the art of falconry. The fantastical element of Matty/Marian feeling like a bird and eventually moving her spirit into the body of one in order to save the king is a stretch but it works in this take on the legendary tales. Lasky includes a glossary on the birds and falconry terminology. At the end of the book, an Author's Note is included that briefly explains the legends of Robin and Marian. Lasky also discusses her goals with the book and what she chose to use from legends and history. This book is a great read. It is full of adventure with just enough "new" vision to make the old tales fresh and intriguing. Lasky has also created a wonderfully strong female protagonist, who has strength of body, mind, and character. Reviewer: Stephanie R. Pearmain
School Library Journal
Gr 5–9—After her mother is murdered and the family's castle is looted by followers of Prince John, Matty takes over the management of her father's hawks, learning their language and coming to share their consciousness. Half-orphaned and often hungry, she grows to be Maid Marian, friend and coconspirator with her childhood companion Fynn, renamed Robin Hood. In Lasky's reimagining of this legend, Marian is chief strategist of the band of boys who rob the rich, harass Prince John's evil supporters, and hope to ransom captive King Richard. There is a gentle but thoroughly modern love story, too. Matty may have been her father's jewel, but her growing affection for Robin does not turn her back into a decorative object; she is the heroine of her successful quest, leading both birds and boys. Her five hawks are distinctive, and for them, the author of the owl fantasy series "Guardians of Ga'hoole," has created a language and a convincing, if anachronistic, falconer. Lasky nicely weaves details of 12th-century life into this suspenseful adventure whose fantasy ending may surprise but will certainly please readers.—Kathleen Isaacs, Children's Literature Specialist, Pasadena, MD
Kirkus Reviews
Veteran Lasky combines the Robin Hood/Maid Marian story with falconry. Matty and Fynn are childhood friends, playing together when Matty is not being taught by her father, Lord William, to work with hawks. She begins to understand hawk language, getting inside their minds as she trains them. When Prince John and his allies murder Matty's mother for her jewels, her father pines away. Loyal to King Richard, Matty, Fynn and a host of local lads work to keep their families fed and Prince John hassled-and then to raise the funds to ransom Richard when he is captured. Flash-forward: Matty has metamorphosed into Marian and Fynn into Robin Hood, paving the way for more derring-do. Matty/Marian's uncanny communication with her hawks takes the novel into the realm of fantasy as she slips into the mind of bird after bird to effect her own rescue, bring ransom to Eleanor of Aquitaine and declare her love for Fynn/Robin. Each chapter begins with a bit of hawk lore (not sourced). It doesn't bear up under scrutiny, but it's fun to read. (author's note) (Historical fantasy. 9-12)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061993404
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
05/04/2010
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
329,750
File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

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