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The Outlaws of Sherwood is a retelling of the Robin Hood legend by Robin McKinley. It deliberately deconstructs the figures and setting, trying for historical accuracy and psychological plausibility.

Examples of The Outlaws of Sherwood include:


  • Bittersweet Ending
  • Historical Domain Character: Richard the Lion Heart at the end, with more historical nuance than is often the case when Richard appears at the end of a Robin Hood tale.
  • Runaway Fiancee: Cecily is fleeing from an Arranged Marriage with a Norman lord more than twice her age.
  • Second Place Is for Winners: Uses the traditional Robin Hood story of an archery contest set up to lure Robin in by using a golden arrow as the prize, and comments in passing that the other contestants are likely to miss their shots to win the lesser, more practical prizes of livestock. (This being an unusually pragmatic version of Robin, he has no interest in the contest at all, demanding to know what on earth he'd do with a golden arrow.)
  • Shrouded in Myth: Robin Hood. Among other things, Robin is quite possibly the worst archer in the band; all his famous trick shots turn out to have been dumb luck or have actually been performed by one of the other Merry Men and attributed to him.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: Cecil(y). Someone ends up Sweet on Polly Oliver.
  • Twice-Told Tale
  • Wound That Will Not Heal: References a less uncanny version of the trope when Richard says that the climate in the Holy Land means wounds don't heal like they should.
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