Monday, January 22, 2018

Blogtour: Robin Hood's Dawn


Robin Hood’s Dawn:
Book One in the Robin Hood Trilogy
By Olivia Longueville and J.C. Plummer
A KINGDOM UNDER ASSAULT, A CONSPIRACY BORN OF ANARCHY, AND A HERO STANDING AGAINST TYRANNY
A story birthed from both history and folklore— step into a unique retelling of the Robin Hood legend.
Set in 12th century England and France, a time of anarchy, intrigue, and turmoil, Robin Hood’s Dawn [Angevin World Publishing, January 16, 2018] by authors Olivia Longueville and J.C. Plummer offers readers a carefully crafted story blending real history with key elements of the Robin Hood legend. In an intriguing story that highlights Robin’s family background and dynamics like never before, readers will be undeniably enchanted as they follow Robin Fitzooth, a man falsely convicted of a shocking crime who finds refuge in Sherwood Forest and becomes Robin Hood. Leading a band of men against the injustices of a malevolent sheriff and his henchmen, Robin begins to unravel a web of treachery threatening the English royal family.  
As shadowy forces gather to destroy the future of a nation, Robin faces deceit, betrayal, and the ravages of war as he defends his king, his country, his people, and the woman he loves from a conspiracy so diabolical, so unexpected, that the course of history hangs in the balance.
From the mists of an ancient woodland, to lavish royal courts teeming with intrigue, and the exotic shores of the Holy Land — Robin Hood leads the fight in a battle between good and evil, justice and tyranny, the future and the past.
  • Developed in a fast-paced storyline with elements of political intrigue, questionable morality, adventure, romance, suspense, and mystery, Robin Hood’s Dawn is part one of an enthralling three-part retelling of the legend of Robin Hood.
  • A timely and provocative read broadening the storyline of this well-known legend, Robin Hood’s Dawn reveals:
  • Historical detail in the events, characters, and locations throughout the storyline
  • The intrinsic value of all people, regardless of wealth and status
  • The inherently raw characteristics of Robin Hood—an indomitable, clever, and honorable man who is also overconfident and reckless
  • The transformation of Lady Marian into a powerful female character who faces danger with an intrepid spirit
  • The moral imperative of defending the powerless against tyrannical government officials
  • And so much more!
     
 Excerpt
Chapter 17: The Lion Hunt
22 February 1192, City of Acre

As he led the royal procession, Robin worriedly looked back at the litter carrying Marian. Her flaxen hair was concealed beneath a Saracen-style headscarf, and her litter had a fabric canopy to hide her from view. Marian was oblivious to the perils she faced in this land, where great wealth could be obtained by selling such a fair-haired beauty to the highest bidder. Although she had scoffed at Robin’s orders that Much and Allan march beside her litter with their swords drawn, the two men had obeyed Robin’s stern directives without hesitation.
Next to Marian’s litter rode a sullen King Richard; he was still furious at Robin for his criticisms of their stalled Crusade. The fact that Robin was right had only fueled the king’s temper, which burned hotter than the accursed desert sun. André followed Richard, and there were eight mounted knights protectively situated around the king and Marian.
Robin sighed loudly as he resumed his forward scrutiny of the road. He didn’t have enough men to properly guard the king, but Richard, who was supremely confident in his fighting skills, had flatly refused to wait for reinforcements. Robin deeply resented the king’s willingness to expose Marian to danger. It was inexcusably selfish and thoughtless in Robin’s opinion, but he had no choice but to acquiesce to the king’s demands. Because of the threat to Richard, Robin had instructed his men to wear helmets and chainmail hauberks under their surcoats. Additionally, they carried Norman-style kite shields, which had both neck and arm straps.
Robin had traveled too far ahead of the group, so he stopped and examined his surroundings with care. They were on a road flanked by the Genoese and Venetian quarters, and the harbor was a short distance away. Like many areas in this war-torn city, the buildings were heavily damaged. Removing his helmet to wipe the sweat from his brow, Robin observed that the street was strangely deserted, and he felt a stirring in the pit of his stomach. He signaled for the procession to halt. In the resulting eerie stillness, Robin concentrated all his senses.
“What is the problem?” the king gruffly complained with unmistakable impatience.
Robin did not respond; something was wrong, and he could feel it. Suddenly, a small rock fell from the heavens and rolled across the street. At first, he gave it little consideration as he put his helmet back on, but then his mind was filled with the awareness that stones do not drop from the sky like rain.
His eyes darted upward, and fear seized him as he recognized the familiar shape of a bow. Urgently, he yelled over his shoulder, “Shields up, left!” The well-trained knights, including the king, promptly raised their shields as the archers released a volley of arrows.
Robin turned his horse and sped to the king. He had seen three archers, and they were clearly targeting King Richard. Rejoining the others, Robin saw ten men brandishing swords and riding towards the royal party from a forward position, while another eight were approaching from the rear. There was no avenue of escape, and the king’s elite guard arranged their horses in a defensive semi-circle around Richard and Marian, using the façade of an adjacent structure to prevent the enemy from completely surrounding them.


Author Q&A with Olivia Longueville and J.C. Plummer
Robin Hood’s Dawn: Book One in the Robin Hood Trilogy

Robin Hood has been featured in many books, movies, and television shows. How is your story different?
We have taken a fresh approach to the Robin Hood story, and we’re excited to share our vision with fans of the legendary hero.
We have creatively reimagined the origins of the Robin Hood legend, which includes exploring the complexity of his family dynamics - an aloof, proud father loyal to King Henry II, and a kind-hearted, generous mother devoted to ministering to the poor with her gift for healing. One theme is that the consequences of immoral actions and secret sins can reverberate across generations, and this is part of the legacy that Robin receives from his father.
We wanted to cast him as a hero fighting against the tyranny of a lawless government official instead of a bandit redistributing wealth. When Robin is falsely accused of a shocking crime by the new Sheriff of Nottingham, he could have simply retreated to a safe place beyond the reach of the sheriff. However, he feels a responsibility to the people – he believes in the intrinsic value of every human being – so he takes a stand to defend the people from the actions of the sheriff. And this points to another theme: one person can make a difference by taking a stand for what is right.
Robin also feels great admiration for the newly crowned King Richard the Lionhearted. His loyalty to the king will create a number of conflicts and unexpected consequences in the story.
Lastly, we wanted to set our Robin Hood story in a fascinating time period: the 12th century. In our humble opinion, the 12th century has much to offer fans of sweeping tales of political, social, and spiritual upheaval.
We have carefully constructed our story within the framework of real history. We hope that this realism and devotion to actual history will add to the enjoyment of the story and encourage people to learn more about this time.
You’ve emphasized how your Robin Hood story has been reimagined. Will fans of the traditional ballads still recognize this as a Robin Hood story?
There is a lot of variety in the many books and screen adaptations of the Robin Hood legend. We wanted to create a story that was respectful towards fans of the original ballads and legends without necessarily adhering to the same storylines that have been previously written. It is our hope that all Robin Hood fans will enjoy this fresh retelling of the story.
For example, we feel that Marian is a character who deserves more attention. All too often she is a background character with little to do. With this in mind, we have focused on creating a Lady Marian who will figure more prominently in the story, especially in book 2.
Our Marian is more than a love interest for Robin. Over the course of Robin Hood’s Dawn, Marian transforms from a sheltered, somewhat pampered, girl into a brave woman who continuously strives to overcome both her fears and the obstacles that she faces. We also wanted her to be feminine and remain believable as a woman of the 12th century. Of course, keep in mind that the most prominent woman of the 12th century was the indomitable Eleanor of Aquitaine, an inspiration to any woman living in a male-dominated society.
Fans of the Robin Hood legend will find many familiar characters: Maid Marian, Little John, Allan-a-dale, Will Scarlet, Much the Miller’s son, Guy of Gisborne, and the Sheriff of Nottingham.
Readers will also meet real historical figures such as King Stephen, King Henry II, Richard the Lionhearted, King Philippe II of France, Prince John "the Lackland", and many others, including Ranulphus Besace. Who was he? Well, he was a real person who was King Richard’s personal physician!
This book is advertised as the first in a trilogy. Will the first two books end in cliff-hangers? Will any of the books be stand-alone?
Although the final mysteries and conflicts will not be resolved until book 3, we have structured the trilogy so that books 1 and 2 do not end in cliffhangers.
The readers will not be left wondering whether the main characters will live or die, and we have endeavored to create a sense of completion in each of the first two books. Some story threads will be resolved, and some of the mysteries surrounding the main characters will be revealed in each of the first two books.
We think readers will be excited and eager for the next installment without suffering undue frustration at the endings of books 1 and 2.
The books will not be stand-alone.
How did each of you become interested in writing this story and working together as co-authors?
Olivia:
I love to tell stories with multi-dimensional characters. I speak several languages, and I found that I enjoyed not only writing stories but also writing them in different languages. My favorite legendary hero is Robin Hood, and my favorite historical figure is Anne Boleyn. My first novel is an English-language re-imagining of the story of Anne Boleyn.
In 2015, I met Coleen (J.C.) on the Internet and we decided to co-author a Robin Hood Trilogy.
It is amazing that Coleen and I have managed to successfully work together on our project despite the fact that we have never met each other in real life. We talk on the phone and frequently exchange skype messages as well as emails. We have been working together long-distance despite living in very different time zones.
Coleen (J.C.)
I began writing about three years ago. I had previously done editing work for other authors, but I had never thought about writing my own stories until one day when I was suddenly inspired to start writing, and I’ve been writing nearly non-stop ever since.
I wanted to write a book that would honor the legend of Robin Hood as a man who stood against the tyranny of a powerful government official; a man who fought for justice and fairness because he recognized the intrinsic value rooted in the humanity of all people.
So, you’ve never actually met, you come from different countries, different cultures, and speak different languages. How can you co-author a book? Is it because you have similar writing styles?
Coleen:
Fortunately, Olivia is fluent in English, because that’s the only language I know!
Olivia:
We have found that we have a lot in common – especially our love of writing and of history. We have to work hard to merge our writing styles, but we have successfully done this.
Coleen:
That’s very true. Oliva and I have very different “voices” and writing styles. You might even say they are nearly opposite styles.
I tend to write in a straightforward, expository style, with a minimum of descriptive elements and metaphorical flourishes. I am good at explaining things, organizing ideas, and creating natural sounding dialogue.
Olivia:
My writing is characterized by lush romanticism and passionate lyricism. I love to create metaphors and descriptions which excite the imagination of the reader in a vivid and dramatic way.
Coleen:
In some respects, Olivia’s words are the emotional heart of the story, and my words represent the rational intellect. Of course, it’s not quite that cut-and-dried, but it is one way to describe how two people with such different styles have come together to create Robin Hood’s Dawn.


About the Authors:
Authors Olivia Longueville and J.C. Plummer met online and bonded over a passion for storytelling, history, and fiction. They began the journey of writing The Robin Hood Trilogy despite having never met each other in person.
Olivia Longueville has degrees in finance and general management from London Business School.  Currently, she is working in investment banking and is also helping her father run the family business. Longueville loves historical fiction, considering herself an amateur historian, and she is passionate about historical research, genealogy, and art. She has undertaken in-depth research into the history of the Valois dynasty, the French Renaissance, the Tudors, and the Plantagenets. As an established published writer of Between Two Kings, she is interested in creating strong and diverse characters, and giving voice to stories that are unique, compelling, inspiring, and amusing.
J.C. Plummer graduated Summa Cum Laude from Washburn University with a Bachelor of Arts in History and Anthropology. She then earned a Master of Science degree in Computer Information Science from Dartmouth College. Growing up on a small farm in Kansas, Plummer developed a lifelong fascination with history and a curiosity about other cultures and people. Coauthoring The Robin Hood Trilogy has merged her passions for history, culture, and technology into one unique, exciting project. As an author and historian, Plummer’s goal is to provide thoughtful and entertaining storytelling that honors the past, is mindful of the present, and is optimistic for the future.
To learn more about Robin Hood’s Dawn: Book One in the Robin Hood Trilogy, visit www.angevinworld.com.
Robin Hood’s Dawn: Book One in the Robin Hood Trilogy will be available wherever books are sold as of January 16th, 2018.

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