Scarlet must face a thief named Gisbourne while she joins Robin Hood's band of merry men in their mission to bring justice to the people of Nottingham. Scarlet is a lady thief who dresses up as a boy and is part of a crew of outlaws led by a man named Robin of Locksley that roam Sherwood Forest, the woods on the outskirts of Nottinghamshire. The outlaw group has a noble goal of being vigilantes that fight for justice for the people – though Scarlet herself couldn't care less what the group's goal is as she has been blackmailed by Rob to join their crew. Many years ago, Scarlet had tried to steal from Rob and was caught and forced to make the choice between being sent to prison or joining his group. Naturally, Scarlet joined Rob's group of outlaws. Since then, she's found herself falling grudgingly in love with Rob.
Rob himself is the rightful Earl Huntingdon of Nottinghamshire. It was because the prince – Prince John – named his father a traitor while Rob was away fighting with the crusades that Rob was robbed of his rightful inheritance. Now the people of their town are suffering under the greed of Prince John and his sheriff, who are collecting more taxes than the people can afford to pay. Rob and his "crew of merry men" steal from the rich to give to the poor, so that no one will be arrested for being unable to pay for Prince John's absurd taxes. The people of the town support Rob and his right to Nottingham Castle, however Rob refuses to claim his rightful title – yet. Ideally, he is waiting for King Richard to return from the battle over Jerusalem to set things right again.
Scarlet informs Rob that she knows of a new way into Nottingham Castle's prison and that she can quickly sneak out the wrongfully arrested boy. John, another member of the outlaw group decides to help Scarlet. The story begins with Rob telling his crew of merry men that a young boy has been taken to prison unfairly and that they must rescue him. Scarlet and John sneak into Nottingham Castle' prison. Scarlet finds out that Gisbourne – a famous thief-taker from London of which she has a bad history with – is in town. She overhears that the Sheriff of Nottingham has hired Gisbourne to capture Robin Hood and his men.
Scarlet discovers where Gisbourne's effects are being transported and Rob and his men ambush the carriage and steal all his things. They find out that Gisbourne had a fiancé and that he treated his fiancé like he owned her. Apparently, the fiancé ended up killing herself. Rob is suspicious as Scarlet seems to know a lot about Gisbourne but he doesn't press her for more information. They also discover that Gisbourne had a chest full of gun powder which Rob thinks he can use on their next mission. Later on, Scarlet overhears some of the Sheriff's men mention how Gisbourne plans on rounding up a whole lot of poachers and killing them all at once as a ploy to attract Robin's attention. Robin and his men show up on the day this deed is to take place and they cause a commotion which allows the poachers to escape.
When Robin and his men return to their meeting place by a tree in Sherwood Forest – a tree called Major Oak – Gisbourne is waiting for them. Robin and his men just manage to escape while the Major Oak is set on fire. Unfortunately Gisbourne's chest full of the baubles and gold that they were going to use to help the townsfolk pay their taxes has been taken.
They find out that one of Robin's closest friends, Godfrey Mason, has betrayed him and that was why Gisbourne knew where to look for them. Godfrey claimed to do it because he would have been thrown into prison. Also, Gisbourne promised him the position of marshal, a position he will need if he is to take care of his sister Ravenna and prevent her from being married off to a Frenchman. After talking to him, Robin forgives him as he understands Godfrey's situation. Soon after, however, Godfrey and his sister are arrested by the angry Sheriff, forcing Rob to have to come up with another plan to rescue them.
Scarlet comes up with a plan to make a fake attempt to break into Nottingham Prison. They would then drop off some guard costumes so that Godfrey and Ravenna can be smuggled out as guards a day later, once Gisbourne thinks they have given up a rescue attempt. Unfortunately, when they return, they find that Gisbourne, having taken a fancy to Ravenna, has taken the girl back to the castle. Scarlett, feeling terrible that her plan backfired so horribly, goes back to save Ravenna only to find that Ravenna has decided she should marry the Sheriff since she has no other marriage prospects in life.
One day, Gisbourne makes an appearance at Tuck's tavern – another place where Robin and his men are known to hang out. Gisbourne threatens to kill Much, a member of Robin's crew, if they don't forfeit Robin. Scarlet takes it upon herself to cause a distraction which allows everyone to escape while Gisbourne rushes off into the woods after her.
Over the next few days, Robin and his men go hard to work stealing from rich nobles as they journey through Sherwood Forest. After they've collected enough, they distribute the money, in secret, to the townsfolk. On one of her errands, Scarlet is finally caught by Gisbourne. It is revealed that Scarlet was Gisbourne's fiance before she escaped and resorted to thievery to survive. Robin manages to save Scarlet however he must immediately rush off to warn the rest of his men as they have been betrayed by someone. Gisbourne kills his informer and scrawls “Give me Marian” on the informer's face.
Scarlet explains to Robin and his men that she was betrothed to Gisbourne however she became afraid of him and ran away with her sister, taking up a life of thieving to survive. Since then, Gisbourne has been on the hunt for her. Robin and Scarlet have an intense conversation about who loves who with Robin pretty much revealing that he loves Scarlet a.k.a. Lady Marian.
Robin and his men make a plan to free all the prisoners that the Sheriff has wrongfully arrested. To sneak into the prison, they disguise themselves as Holy men. On their way out, however, Gisbourne sees Scarlet and tries to kill her. Robin saves her, however he ends up being recaptured. Before anyone can stop her, Scarlet rushes back into the prison to save Robin. She hears sounds of Rob getting tortured and she thinks Robin is dead or near death.
The next day, Ravenna is slated to marry the Sheriff. During the ceremony, the Sheriff kills Ravenna to make a powerful statement about how Ravenna helped Robin and anyone who helps Robin will die. They have Robin strung up in a gibbet and plan on a public execution. At the last moment, Scarlet shouts at Gisbourne not to kill Robin. Scarlet offers her own life to Gisbourne in exchange that Robin be set free. Gisbourne, because of his obsession over Scarlet, agrees. Robin is allowed to leave – though reluctantly, as he vows to save Scarlet. Gisbourne and Scarlet exchange wedding vows and immediately after, Scarlet tries to escape, causing a ruckus in the process. Scarlet reunites with Robin and Robin's men use the gunpowder to destroy the prison. Gisbourne ends up escaping the whole scene. The story ends with Robin promising to his men that one day they will all be free and until then, they will keep fighting for justice.
Note to Steve: I tried to pick the right time period for the story, however, there wasn't really an option for 1200s so I picked "Viking"...
Best part of story, including ending:
I like this story because it is an excellent re-telling of the Robin Hood tales but from the point of view of Will Scarlet. I thought it was very clever that A. C. Gaughen made Will Scarlet into a girl who was actually Lady Marian in disguise. It fills in certain blanks int he Robin Hood mythos in a very interesting way.
Best scene in story:
My favorite part of the story was when Gisbourne almost captures Robin when he was at Tuck's Tavern but Scarlet successfully leads him astray into the woods. Later on, when Gisbourne's men have given up, they are heard to say how Robin Hood is part fey, part spirit of the trees. I thought it was funny that Scarlet was grumpy about having to always rescue Robin and never get the credit for it.
Opinion about the main character:
I like that Scarlet was a tough character that needed little rescuing from Robin. I like that A. C. Gaughen made Scarlet into a local hero, as well, as the local townsfolk see Scarlet as a source of hope.