Thursday, December 19, 2013

Will in Scarlet: The boy behind the Robin Hood legend by Matthew Cody

Matthew Cody's Will in Scarlet is a wonderfully done retelling of the story of Robin Hood. We're transported to England at the time of Richard the Lionhearted and the Crusades. Will's father accompanied King Richard to the Middle East and his wife, son, castle and lands under his brother's control. These are good times for young Will Shackley - he gets into all sorts of mischief, exploring, hunting, and growing up very slowly. But the nation's politics come even to the slower, quieter areas and Will's castle is not exempt.

The Shackley family is wealthy and strategically located, so their property catches the eye of the Regent, John, who rules in Richard's stead.  John sends his men to test where Will's family's loyalties lie.  Though Will helps his uncle evade one trap, eventually tragedy ensues.  

The Shackleys find themselves on the run.  Will comes across the Merry Men in Sherwood Forrest and somehow with his involvement the thieves become local heroes of sorts.  There's murder, mayhem, secrets, hidden identities, deep friendships and crazy adventures. 

Full of humor, adventure and unforgettable characters, Will in Scarlet is an engaging story. Highly recommended!

  • ISBN-10: 037586895X - Hardcover $13.53
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers; First Edition edition (October 8, 2013), 272 pages.
  • Age Range: 10 and up.
  • Review copy courtesy of the Amazon Vine Reviewers Program.

About the Author, in his own words courtesy of Amazon:
I was born and raised just outside of St. Louis, Missouri. I was the baby of the family and when I wasn't dodging the tortures of three older siblings, I was making up stories to try and entertain whoever else would listen to me. 

After graduating high school a solidly average student, I studied theater and creative writing in college and went on to get a graduate degree where I focused on Shakespeare. I came to New York in 1999 and for several years worked in theaters there and around the country. When I wasn't working on plays, I tried my hand at short stories and even a few comic book scripts.

I began teaching English in 2004 and started work on my first novel, Powerless, around the same time. As a life-long fan of comic books and pulp stories, those influences began to pop up in my work more and more.

To this day I can be found in my local comic book shop every Wednesday (that's the day the new comics come out, for those of you not in-the-know!) and the bookshelves in our house are stuffed with the works of old-time adventure writers like Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert E. Howard, Fritz Leiber and Clarke Ashton Smith. If you haven't already, I recommend you head over to the library and check them out. It's great stuff!

My wife Alisha and I are still here in New York, with our young son Willem. I'm currently hard at work on my next novel for Knopf, which is has yet to get a title (but for a hint as to what it's about, just take another peek at that list of writers in the above paragraph!) Most days I divide my time between writing and teaching and being a generally nice family man.

If you see me in the comic shop, say hi.

Learn more about Matthew Cody on his website at