An irresistible reimagining of the Robin Hood legend, Maid Marian brings to life the rollicking--and romantic--world of the Middle Ages.
An orphan and heiress to a large country estate, Marian Fitzwater is wed at the age of five to an equally young nobleman, Lord Hugh of Sencaster, a union that joins her inheritance to his and vastly enriches his family. But when she is seventeen, Lord Hugh, whom she hasn't seen in years, dies under mysterious circumstances. Marian is left alone again--a widow who has never been a bride. Like all unmarried young ladies of fortune, she is made a ward of Richard the Lionheart, England's warrior king.
But King Richard is away on Crusade and can’t be bothered with business at home. Marian's fate lies in the hands of his mother, the formidable Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine, who will arrange her second marriage. The lucky bridegroom will get Marian's lands and, in return, pledge his loyalty--and silver--to King Richard. Marian herself is irrelevant and she knows it. Determined not to be sold into another sham marriage, she seeks out the one man whose spies can help uncover the queen's plans: Robin Hood, the notorious Saxon outlaw of Sherwood Forest.
Marian is surprised to discover that the famed "prince of thieves" is not only helpful but handsome, likable, and sympathetic to her plight. Following her plan, Robin’s men intercept a letter from Queen Eleanor, from which Marian learns, to her horror, that she is to marry her late husband’s brother. His family has a history of mysterious deaths, and Marian knows she is in danger. Once married, her land becomes theirs and she can be easily disposed of--a fate she may have escaped once already. On the eve of her wedding, Robin Hood spirits Marian back to the forest, still in her wedding gown. Queen Eleanor believes her to be dead, and Marian begins a new life with Robin Hood's outlaws, who pledge to help her regain her fortune and expose the treachery of her enemies.
From the Hardcover edition.
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|Title of eBook: Maid Marian|
|Release Date: 04-13-2004|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Crown Publishing Group|
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|Parent title||Maid Marian|
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I dreamt that night of Atalanta, the fleet-footed maiden of my schoolroom lessons, who raced every man who dared to challenge her. Atalanta, dark hair flying, flashed through my dreams like a blackbird in flight. She danced everywhere, in the wind, in the sun, across a field of ripening wheat, but when a hand gripped my shoulder she danced away, a spark disappearing into blackness.
The hand belonged to the queen of England, who herself contained all the power a king's widow deserved. When I opened my eyes, I saw her there, heard her raspy breathing in the windless night, saw the age spots on her hands. She sat by my side, stroked my hair, and spoke without preamble.
"Your husband is dead, Lady Marian."
"Dead?" I stared at her a moment, stunned more by the words and the notion than by the loss of a husband I neither loved nor trusted.
"Dead?" How? How has he died?"
"A long sickness brought on by riding a tournament too early in the season. He had the best physicians, even the king's own man, but bloodletting, no matter how well done, cannot save one who is already far gone. These things happen, you know, tragic though it may be. I would not trouble yourself, my dear child, if I were you."
I believe I gasped, for to find my prospects so instantly altered stole away all of my breath. The queen had bid me not to trouble myself, but the more I considered, the more discomfited I became. In the strange ways of the mind, my thoughts became twisted, raveled together, so that Atalanta seemed almost to have brought death to Hugh's young heart. I thought of his face, of his blood pooling in the catch basin, and