It is my absolute pleasure to present Charlene Newcomb’s latest publication Rogue. We connected some years ago after I came across her website and historical fiction novels. Her latest book, Rogue, a Robin Hood origin story is now available and I am looking forward to reading the book. (I’ve actually started it, review to follow).
Charlene Newcomb, aka Char, writes historical fiction and science fiction. Her Battle Scars trilogy is set in the 12th century during the reign of Richard the Lionheart. It’s filled with war, political intrigue, and a knightly romance of forbidden love. All 3 books are indieBRAG Medallion honorees; Book II is a Historical Novel Society Editors Choice, a finalist in the Chaucer Awards for pre-1750 Historical Fiction, and received an Honorable Mention from Writer’s Digest.
While medieval historical fiction has her under its spell at the moment, her writing roots are in the Star Wars Expanded Universe (now known as Legends) where she published her first short story in 1994 in the Star Wars Adventure Journal. She published a scifi/space opera, Echoes of the Storm, which was awarded 1st in category in the Chanticleer International Book Awards in 2021.
US Navy veteran.
Mom to 3 grown, amazing people, grandma to 3 adorable boys.
She spends most of the year in Louisiana, but escapes summer heat and humidity visiting family in Washington and Colorado.
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A knight sworn to keep a family secret.
A king who seeks revenge.
A daring plan to save one life…or condemn many.
England 1216AD. Sir Robert Fitzwilliam faithfully serves the English crown, but when the outlaw Allan a Dale, a childhood friend, is captured and thrown in the sheriff’s dungeons beneath Nottingham Castle, trouble is certain to follow.
Allan’s days are numbered. Nothing would please King John more than to see an old nemesis hanged. Nothing except watching Robert’s estranged father, Robin, dangling dead from a rope beside him.
When his father joins forces with the Hood gang to rescue Allan, enlisting the aid of friends and even the girl he loves, Robert must decide where his loyalties lie.
TALES OF ROBIN HOOD
Before there was Robin Hood, there was Allan of the Hood. You know their story – in Sherwood Forest, they rob from the rich and give to the poor. Rogue is a retelling of the origins of the Robin Hood legends set during a time of a rebellion and invasion near the end of King John’s reign. It’s a thrilling adventure of loyalty, love, sacrifice, spies, and intrigue.
Available on Amazon https://mybook.to/RogueTales
Enjoy this excerpt from Chapter 2 of Rogue, wherein Allan has been captured by the Sheriff of Nottingham’s men, including Sir Robert Fitzwilliam…
The boy Robert…the man had changed. He was tall, broad through the shoulders, and strong from wielding a sword in battle. The blue eyes—those were his father’s. Decently paid if Allan judged the quality of his mail and the fine embossed leather of the scabbard that hung from his belt. Mail chausses, boots that did not look too much the worse for wear, and silver spurs. A squire had retrieved Robert’s dappled gray stallion from the rear of the second troop ere they’d moved on. The destrier was a beauty, and would have fetched thirty or forty shillings, ten times a knight’s daily wage.
“I saw your da last year.” Allan noted a flash of surprise on Robert’s face. “Does he know you work for the sheriff?” He kept his voice low, though he doubted the sergeant would hear a word over the clop-clop of hooves and the clink of mail. “King John’s man. God’s bones, have you lost your mind, Robert?”
“I must earn my keep. And not by stealing.”
“Robin would be turning in his grave.” Allan eyed Robert in the sheriff’s colors, and crossed himself. “Thankfully, he’s not dead yet. Thought he raised you better.”
Robert’s horse nudged Allan. “My mother raised me. Robin was off fighting King Richard’s wars.”
“But here you are. Someone I knew as a kid who shoveled horse shite at the stables in Greyton. Look at you now. Sheriff’s man. King’s man.” He glanced up at Robert. “How are your folks? God, I miss them.”
“They are well, last I heard.” Robert straightened his back and eyed Allan, almost hostile. “Earning these spurs didn’t come easy, Allan. You remember, you did it once.”
Allan lifted his tied hands. “It’s just you and the sergeant, Robert. Let me go.”
Tightlipped, Robert exhaled. “You forget the others accompanying the sheriff,” he said.
Allan cocked his head back the way they’d come. “They’re off to join the king. A hundred or more miles from here.”
Robert glared at him again, but there was a hint of admiration that Allan knew the sheriff’s business.
“Even when—if—they return,” Allan said, “who will remember you were to take me to the dungeons?”
“Marc’s entire troop heard you aren’t just any petty thief. You were King Richard’s man in Nottingham.” Robert’s voice gushed with respect. “Squire to the man who kept the throne from John’s hands whilst Richard was captive in a Bavarian prison.”
“True.” Allan smiled. “I am. I was.”
“And you still cross King John. Taking coin meant for his coffers.” Robert shifted in the saddle, stretching his neck and back. “You are his enemy.”
Allan scrubbed his bearded chin. “Funny, that. You are too.”
“Not me. Robin is, and the king would take Robin’s head if he knew he lived still. But only you know that.” Robert touched the hilt of his sword, and gave Allan a sideways scowl. “And you wouldn’t tell the Sheriff.”
“How do you know what I might do or say to save my arse from a hanging? King John would be mighty grateful to learn that your da calls himself Fitzwilliam these days and sits a two-day ride from here at Castle l’Aigle.”
Robert laughed. The sergeant turned round, and Robert yanked hard on Allan’s fetters. Allan stumbled, smacking into Robert’s stallion. He fell to his knees. The sergeant laughed as Allan struggled back to his feet.
Robert lowered his voice. “Don’t try to tell me you aren’t the same man I knew years ago. You would never betray Robin. Think of my ma—she was a good friend to you.”
“I would sacrifice my own life before bringing harm to your parents,” Allan said, “or risk the king discovering Stephan’s family at l’Aigle has been hiding them all these years. John is a devil of a man.”
A dangerous man, Allan thought, who sought revenge on the barons who had rebelled against him and thrown England into civil war. The world was mad, but at least here in Sherwood Allan had friends and felt safe. He stared at his bound hands. Well, most of the time…
“You were a good man, Allan.” Robert’s eyes were filled with remorse. “Why are you thieving?”
“I help the poor. Your sheriff has been in power far too long, and Nottingham’s villeins suffer the more for it. He’s piled taxes on top of King John’s taxes, and most of that goes into his own pockets. You see it, don’t you? Finest clothes, finest destriers, golden goblets and wares. Even the castle whores wear silks and live in luxury. They would be poor and on the street without Marc’s silver.
“We grab his coin for the poor, and a man might pay his taxes for years to come.” Allan ringed his hands round his neck. “It’s worth the risk. Robin—your father—would know.”
Robert ground his teeth. “Robin earns the coin he gives to the poor. He doesn’t steal.”
Allan eyed Robert. Had Robin truly not told his son about pilfering the castle stores for goods to distribute to those in need? Or occasionally helping the Hood along the Old North Road?
No matter, it wasn’t Allan’s place to share that. He didn’t want trouble for Robert, and he honestly hadn’t expected Robert to turn him loose, but he needed the younger man’s help.
“Do you remember Tuck?” Allan asked. “He’s at St. Mary’s. Calls himself Father William these days.”
Robert nodded. “He’s a hard man to forget, but I’ve not made myself known to him these weeks I’ve been in Nottingham.”
“He’s a good friend to me, to your da. You tell him I’m in the dungeon. He’ll see that word gets to your da. You won’t need to dirty your hands.”
“What good is that? Robin cannot influence the sheriff to get you released. You said it yourself. The Sheriff is the king’s man, and the king still holds a grudge against you and Robin.”
Allan laughed. “Your da and I have our own way to sway the enemy, my friend. He might not free me, but he will come, and I’ll have the comfort of seeing him one last time. Now, will you get my message to Tuck?”