by Robert Louis Stevenson
The novel opens with the murder of a man by a black arrow. A letter is later found attached to a door that informed the reader that more men were marked for the black arrows – a powerful and crafty knight named Sir Daniel and two of his underlings. They were accused of killing men close to the writer of the letter, John Amend-All, including the father of the protagonist of the story and ward of Sir Daniel, Richard (Dick) Shelton.
Dick ends up running an errand for Sir Daniel and comes across a young man in the forest who was trying desperately to get to Holywood. Dick promises to escort him but they encounter several problems in the forest, including running into The Black Arrow, the fellowship of outlaws that live in the woods. The two eventually wind up back with Sir Daniel.
Dick starts to question Sir Daniel about the death of his father and finds out two things: 1. Sir Daniel can’t be trusted and 2. The young man from the woods wasn’t who he claimed to be.
This book was great! (Once you get used to the antiquated language.) It was fast-paced, action packed and it had a riveting story line. There was even a little romance in there, but not enough to gross out my eight-grade son. I loved it. My son said it was fascinating (which, I think is a word he just learned because he keeps using it to describe anything I ask his opinion about). It was an excellent way to enter into life in England during the War of the Roses. It was also a good story of a boy maturing into a man as he learned from his mistakes and became wiser as the result. I would definitely recommend this one. And, if you can track it down, I’d recommend the vintage copy illustrated by NC Wyeth. The pictures were lovely!