An utterly unique history book that attempts to chronicle the life & times of the real Robyn Hoode from the perspective of a genuine historical character & in the form of a complete journal of his life, & the lives of those around him. The result is possibly the most complete genuine framework for the investigation & discovery of a character that represents heroic resistance to powerful & corrupt authority the world over, but who appears here as a solitary mortal man with all his human failings. Utterly relevant to modern archaeological & historical investigation, this voyage of discovery reveals hidden mysteries of the true power of the north at the time of the founding of democracy through Magna Carta 800 years ago & includes a gazetteer of sites to visit & all the latest discoveries.
REVIEWS & ENDORSEMENTS
With no proven, undisputed historical evidence being available as to just who Robin Hood actually was, the “man or myth” conundrum has continued to be a mystery that has fascinated generation after generation and turned the English folklore hero into an iconic global legend. Consequently, there are numerous speculative and plausible theories about his existence, lineage, birthplace and burial site etc. to keep academics and enthusiasts occupied for years to come or until there is an extremely unlikely “Richard III moment” when someone discovers a DNA linked skeleton!
In the meantime, historians and individuals fastidiously comb through centuries of manuscripts and medieval records to try to piece together the intriguing puzzle that is further complicated by a blurring of the historic fact and the development and fusing of the tales into traditional folklore legend. In fact, it is often said that Robin Hood has become a million times richer as an icon of popular culture than as a genuine historical figure!
Whatever your views and opinions, Mark Olly’s “The Life and Times of the Real Robyn Hoode” is an excellent place to start.
Using literary archaeology, the author has logically brought together the historical background authenticated by existing material and records and produced a credible timeline into which the various aspects, characters and locations associated with the legend can be feasibly connected. His decision to place all the original source texts relating to the life of the real Robyn Hoode in BOLD TYPE so it can be read as a complete separate narrative if desired and to show all the source manuscripts and quotes in Italics, also helps the reader to differentiate between the origins of the material.
Mark has deliberately avoided getting “side-tracked” by the explosion of contemporary popular culture associated with the legend and perhaps the book’s greatest achievement lies in the style of writing and presentation. Although it is packed with interesting, relevant information, this is not a “stuffy” reference source and in its easy- to-read 202 pages Mark Olly has compactly set out the background for any interested readers to “investigate” the complexity of the Robin Hood legend for themselves.
Over the years, I have read and reviewed many Robin Hood related books, both fact and fiction and in my opinion this is one of the best recent reference works on the subject.
~ Bob White, Chairman , World Wide Robin Hood Society.
Most of us have grown up with the film versions of Robin Hood, from the Disney classic to the Hollywood giants, not to mention the television series that ran for years. According to Mark Olly in ‘The Life and Times of the Real Robyn Hoode’ these portrayals are a long way from the historically accurate portrait of England’s greatest hero. The author’s research leads us back to the early 12th C century – to exactly the period in which the majority of the old tales place his life. To emphasise which is original source material relating directly to the life of the real Robyn Hoode in bold type, so it can be read as a complete separate narrative. The author also uses a historical time-line to help us find our way through the intricate story and advances some interesting information that never appears in the popular narratives about Robin Hood – one being the fact that Robin Hood is around 60-years of age at the time of his ‘famous’ exploits and lives to a grand-old age. Mark Olly also purses the tales and legends long after Robin Hood’s death to demonstrate how they were embellished by bard and story-teller. A first-class scholarly project and highly enjoyable.
Suzanne Ruthven – author and freelance writer.
~ Suzanne Ruthven, Compass Books