Fiction - Historical - Personage
379 Pages
Reviewed on 08/01/2023
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Alexis Storey for Readers' Favorite

Rogue by Charlene Newcomb is a Robin Hood retelling that puts a person at odds with what’s right versus reasonable. During King John’s rule, brother to former King Richard, the king has set out to capture Allan a Dale, or Robin Hood—a man who steals from the rich to give to the poor. However, Sir Robert, a childhood friend, is now a knight in King John’s service and must decide if he should look the other way or assist in helping Allan escape before King John’s return from war, especially when his father and potential love interest get involved. Does he save the lives of many, or does he save the life of one? Is it right what his father and old family friends agree to do to save one person who has helped many by wronging others?

I have not found a Robin Hood retelling I have enjoyed more than Rogue by Charlene Newcomb. She took creative liberties and kept the story very true to the original telling, which I appreciated. Her way of crafting the story and making you, the reader, struggle to figure out the right calls and choices alongside Sir Robert was fun. I enjoyed following along and deciding if he made the right choices or if I would have done things differently. The story was also written to suit the era it is set in, which helped me immerse myself in the story. Newcomb has done her research and put together a great, entertaining, fast tale that is enjoyable for anyone who loves fairytales and legends, especially Robin Hood lovers. I loved this story.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

Rogue by Charlene Newcomb introduces Sir Robert Fitzwilliam, a servant of the English crown. But he had a family secret he must hide, or suffer death by hanging together with the rebels of the Hood - the rogues of Sherwood Forest. His childhood friend Allan a Dale had been captured and faced death. Meanwhile, Sir Robert’s father Robin had resurfaced, joining forces with the Hood gang to free Allan. King John was on a mission to capture his old nemesis Robin and hang him but didn’t know the relationship between Sir Robert and Robin. If he did, the king would think nothing of executing the son alongside his father. Sir Robert was torn between family ties, friends, and the world in which he lived. It was the early thirteenth century near the end of King John’s reign and no one could be trusted, especially not the man Sir Robert served.

Charlene Newcomb’s historical novel Rogue rejuvenates the legend of Robin Hood. Full of adventure and intrigue, the age-old mantra of robbing the rich to feed the poor takes on a whole new perspective as loyalties are challenged, sacrifices are made, and spies are everywhere. The author is well-versed in English history, particularly events surrounding the era of King John and the rebels of Sherwood Forest. The account begins with the capture of Allan a Dale, with Sir Robert as one of the party of knights who captured him. The conflict is evident right from the beginning and readers will feel the agony of the inner battles raging about and within this loyal knight of the crown. This thrilling adventure will have history and Robin Hood fans spellbound to the end. A captivating tale.

Tracy Traynor

Rogue by Charlene Newcomb is an extension of the well-loved classic Robin Hood and is intelligent, well-thought-out, and thoroughly enjoyable. Sir Robert Fitzwilliam from l’Aigle (in Yorkshire, England) works as a knight for the sheriff of Nottingham, who answers to King John. He is estranged from his father and doesn’t know that in his father’s past life, he was known as Robin of the Hood. The people of the Hood live in Sherwood Forest and hold up travelers to feed the poor. Robert’s old friend and current leader of the Hood, Allan a Dale, is captured, which sets off a path of confusion in Robert. Where should his loyalties lie? Joanna Miller works in the kitchens and has caught Robert’s eye. Could someone as lovely as Joanna fall in love with a man who doesn’t have much to offer except his honor?

Historical fiction lovers will enjoy this tale of knightly adventure. Charlene Newcomb has done a marvelous job combining history and fiction and creating a believable story. Her rich prose is smooth and drew me along the pages. The author has researched every detail of both medieval life and the myths of Robin Hood. The plot delivers a slow build-up of tension, each chapter heightening the risks the group must take to free Allan - right up to the thrilling (and very satisfying) ending. The story portrays a vivid and realistic picture of life in England in 1216. I found Rogue a satisfying medieval adventure with a pleasing amount of tension, a thrilling plot, and a great ending.