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Grade 4-7-The main character in this sequel to Rowan Hood: Outlaw Girl of Sherwood Forest (Philomel, 2001) is Lionel, the timid son of Lord Roderick Lionclaw. He is a harp-playing bard who refuses to fight or act more "manly" despite his large size. When his father disowns him and puts a bounty on his head, Lionel hides out with Rowan in the forest. Rowan's band comes under attack, but won't leave the forest despite Robin Hood's urgings. When Rowan is caught by the bounty hunters, Lionel is ready to give his own life to save her. In the end, Lord Lionclaw does not accept his son, but he doesn't kill him either, and Lionel is proud of himself for overcoming his fears. The plot is slight, and readers are sometimes dropped into action scenes without being quite sure what is going on. Familiarity with the first book is necessary in order to have any understanding of this one. Lionel's development is predictable, and he is so annoyingly quivery and wimpy for most of the novel that he isn't a likable or sympathetic character. Other members of Rowan's band are intriguing, though, and their stories could produce interesting sequels if they are thoroughly developed.
Cheri Estes, Detroit Country Day Middle School, Beverly Hills, MI
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 5-8. This sequel to Rowan Hood: Outlaw Girl of Sherwood Forest (2001) focuses on Rowan's good friend, Lionel, Lord Lionclaw's cowardly, seven-foot son, who has been banished from home because he prefers playing his lute to being trained as a warrior. In this book, Lionel tries to make peace with his father after Dad is captured by Robin Hood--only to have his vicious, tyrannical parent declare a bounty on his head. At first Lionel tries to hide, but when hunters capture Rowan, Lionel sets off to rescue her, without regard for the consequences to himself. Springer excels at keeping the action and adventure in high gear, and she creates strong characters with clear motivations. Although Lionel rises to the occasion when fighting is called for, his essential gentle nature does not change, and he comes to accept his father for the person he is, even as he realizes that his father will never accept him. This volume fits in beautifully with the series, but it can also stand alone. Either way, it is sure to be popular with adventure enthusiasts. Kay Weisman
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