After the events of Scarlet where her true identity was revealed, Lady Marian finds herself in an unwanted marriage of convenience to Guy Gisbourne. With Prince John traveling to Nottinghamshire in order to name a new sheriff, (one the village hopes is Robin Hood), Scarlet and Robin's future is anything but bright, and they are forced to face unyielding challenges from Prince John who holds Marian's future in his hands, as well as another shocking secret that not even Marian knows anything about that could throw any hopes of a marriage to Robin out the window forever.
Lady Thief is once again filled with danger, betrayal, romance, action, and adventure. There are characters like Eleanor of Aquitaine, Quincy the Earl of Winchester, and of course, Prince John, and Princess Isabel added to the story. Gaughan pushes the envelope even further and makes the Robin Hood/Marian story her own with a horrific event that just blew my mind and leaves readers on the edge of their seats in anticipation of what will happen next.
Marian gets no breaks in Lady Thief. She is emotionally pushed, pulled, and dragged into making choices about her life and that of Robin's by Prince John and Gisbourne. Marian is once again shown to have a true and loyal heart when it comes to the people of Nottinghamshire going out on a limb to ensure that they are treated fairly by the royals. I'd like to say that John and Grisbourne are truly disgusting creatures whom Marian is forced into dealing with if she has any future with Robin.
I will also say that I am thankful that Gaughen pushed the envelope in Lady Thief, but didn't step into shit by adding rape to the mix. I was already taken back by the cowardly actions by both Grisbourne and John when it came to ensuring Marian's cooperation, that I didn't need them to rape her into submitting to their ways and losing any future with Robin in the process. As you are obviously aware, I am anti-RAPE in a major way, and truly believe that everyone needs to stop adding it to movies, TV, and books just to get more of an audience. There are other ways to get your intent across.
Robin starts off by having some rough issues to deal with which today we would call PTSD. His nightmares are vivid, he unknowingly attacks Marian and hurts her badly, and his past with the Crusades is finally explained in great detail. Robin is once again faced with the possibility of death at the hands of John and Grisbourne and faces a major test in becoming the next Sheriff of Nottinghamshire.
For me, there are two characters who truly stand out in the light of everything that is happening to Robin and Marian. Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine, Prince John's mother is such a fascinating character who holds so many secrets as well as the reigns on John, most of the time. Eleanor is a key player in the mystery surrounding Marian's past, and who her real parents are and why John seems to be keyed in to her so much.
The other is Robin's friend Quincy, the Earl of Winchester who saves Marian so many times, I honestly thought she would lean his way. Quincy stands up each and every single time Marian is in trouble, and comes to her rescue more times that even Robin does. It shall be interesting to see if he plays any part in the sequel to Lady Thief.
In the general scheme of things, this story surrounds John's machinations as he schemes to increase his own wealth and power at the expense of post-Conquest England and his brother, King Richard who is off fighting the Crusades, as well as putting Marian in a precarious situation where she has no hopes of surviving. Be prepared kind followers. This story is gruesome at times, and leaves many characters hanging by the balance when Gaughen fades the story to black. Yes, that means there is a cleverly done cliffhanger that will leave you shocked, appalled, and demanding that the next installment be released immediately if not sooner.
Author - A.C. Gaughen
Title - Lady Thief (Scarlet # 2)
Published by Walker Children's
Released: February 11, 2014
Genre - Fantasy Retelling
Received via NetGalley/Publisher