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The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood    by Howard Pyle order for
Merry Adventures of Robin Hood
by Howard Pyle
Order:  USA  Can
Tantor Audio Books, 2005 (2004)
* *   Reviewed by Lance Victor Eaton

The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood are just that - the merry and many adventures of Robin of Locksley. Each chapter contains several adventures that Robin and his band of Sherwood outlaws have over the span of years. Earlier chapters explain how various members (including Robin himself, and also Will Scarlett and Little John) came to join the rebellious community of Sherwood.

Howard Pyles' version reveals many discrepancies from contemporary adaptations. Robin is depicted as a yeoman, even though most current versions imply a noble birth. The King of England during this tale is King Henry, not King John or Richard. And while cultural reproduction often reiterated to us that Robin Hood was about economic equality and loathed the nobility, hoarding all the money (the famous chant, 'he stole from the rich and gave to the poor'), criticisms here focus much more on the corruption of the Church. While Robin's adventures often have him disenfranchising the rich, his sharp comments and anger is most-often directed towards the bureaucracy and corruption of the Christian Church.

We find through all his adventures that Robin Hood can present a cunning intelligence on par with Odysseus, and a good sense of humor to follow it up. He continues to outwit the Sheriff of Nottingham, while still enjoying revelry and jokes with his friends. This audiobook has no real straight narrative, except that the stories mostly appear in chronological order and the end of the audiobook makes obvious Robin's adventures have come to a close. But beyond that, each adventure transpires, often with little overall consequence to the next. The 'bowed outlaw' can be seen arranging marriages, dueling with friars, and disguising himself to enter in archery contests from one chapter to the next.

David Case aptly tells us the tales of Robin Hood, reading the narrative quite smoothly and efficiently. Given the wide scope of characters that Robin Hood comes into contact with, Case effortlessly gives clear distinction to each one, proving himself talented with such challenges. Moreover, The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood include many a song and ballad that Case sings quite well. If you like the story of Robin Hood as told in contemporary culture, then you might want to avoid this audiobook. But if you like the idea of a Robin who has many adventures and enjoys great friendship among his Sherwood Forest comrades, then it will provide you hours of excitement.

Note: This review refers to an unabridged (11 hours) audiobook read by David Case, available from Tantor Audio in 10 CDs or one MP3 CD, and also from

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