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Springer, Nancy. Lionclaw; a tale of Rowan Hood.

Penguin Putnam, Philomel. 160p. c2002. 0-399-23716-X. $16.99. J

In last year's appealing Rowan Hood: Outlaw Girl of Sherwood Forest (reviewed in KLIATT in May 2001), Springer cleverly imagined an intrepid daughter of Robin Hood who takes refuge in Sherwood Forest and creates a fugitive band of her own. This sequel takes up the tale from the point of view of a member of this hand, the huge but gentle minstrel, Lionel. This seven-foot-tall 15-year-old loves music, not battle, and he puts on a "whining sissy act" that so disgusts his father that he banishes his son and sends the bounty hunter Guy of Gisborn into the forest to kill him. This vicious hunter sets steel traps and endangers Rowan Hood and the other band members too--Etty, a brave runaway princess; Rook, a wild boy; and loyal Tykell, half-wolf, half-dog. Robin Hood tries to lure Guy away from Sherwood Forest, but he is not easily tricked. And even though Lionel abhors violence, he discovers he can fight ferociously in defense of those he cares for when Rowan is caught in a trap and they are captured. Lionel's music is as important as his strength, however, and he uses his harp and his voice to summon spirits from the woods to heal Rowan.

As in Michael Cadnum's recent Forbidden Forest: The Story of Little John and Robin Hood (reviewed in KLIATT in May 2002), which tells Little John's story (a sequel to Cadnum's Sheriff of Nottingham tale, In a Dark Wood), it's fun to consider the legends of Sherwood Forest from different points of view. Springer is a fine writer who enjoys turning stereotypes on their heads, and her feminist take on the Robin Hood legend is full of action and adventure.
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Author:Rohrlick, Paula
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Sep 1, 2002
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