Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Will in Scarlet” as Want to Read:
Will in Scarlet
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Will in Scarlet

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  383 ratings  ·  164 reviews
This reimagining of the Robin Hood legend tells the story of the young boy behind the bandit hero's rise to fame.

Will Shackley is the son of a lord, and though just thirteen, he’s led a charmed, protected life and is the heir to Shackley House, while his father is away on the Third Crusade with King Richard the Lionheart.

But with King Richard’s absence, the winds of tr
Paperback, 272 pages
Published August 26th 2014 by Yearling (first published October 8th 2013)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Will in Scarlet, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Will in Scarlet

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 870)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
I'll admit off the bat that I am a Robin Hood fan. I've read quite a few different Robin Hood stories. Stories with Robin as a boy, a girl, a grown man, or just a cover story for someone else entirely. But this book comes at it from another character altogether. William Shackley is the heir to Shackley Castle and while reluctant to assume lordly duties, expects things to remain as they are until his father returns with King Richard from the Crusades. But when Richard's imprisonment becomes known ...more
I enjoy fairytales and folklore retold, so of course I'm a fan of the Robin Hood legend. Luckily, people retell it all the time. (See current Robin Hood books SCARLET and LADY THIEF by A.C. Gaughen.)

Matthew Cody's WILL IN SCARLET takes several liberties with the legend, to good effect. It doesn't just feel like a checking off of rote setpieces. The eponymous Will is actually William Shackley, a noble heir displaced by the machinations of Guy of Gisbourne. The first bit, about Will's backstory, g
Will in Scarlet is an imaginative retelling of the Robin Hood legend from a new perspective--that of the young Will Scarlet, a boy of fourteen who's growing up as merry old England is falling apart under the rule of Prince John Lackland.

Like all Matthew Cody's books, this one is smart and funny. It's an accessible middle-grade read that's both action-packed and meaningful. Beneath all the goofy fun, there's a very serious undercurrent about the nature of identity and how we define ourselves. Mos
I adored absolutely everything about Will in Scarlet. That, my friends, is getting harder and harder for me to say. It's not often anymore that a book completely sweeps me off my feet. That it enchants me so wholly, that I'm saddened when it ends. Matthew Cody's brilliant reimagining of Robin Hood did just that, and I'm thrilled! Let the gushing commence.

First off, this is a much different take on the Robin Hood tale. While all the essential elements are there, the reader is taken on a new journ
Lanie Sanders
so good, althought i think some more work could have gone into the cover art. its not eye grabbing enough. i know, i know, one should never judge a book by its cover, but that is pretty much impossible and we all know it. i loved will he was realistic and much was so awesome. she reminded me of scarlet from the Scarlet buts but much less . . . .well, bitchy. it was a nice spin on the story, if a common one. all hood stories now a days seem to contain a girl disguising her self as a boy. heres a ...more
ARC via NetGalley

Solid and ultimately relatively* satisfying retelling of how Robin Hood came to be. Robin Hood isn’t a new topic for YA or adult fiction and, unsurprisingly, nothing new is created here. There’s the trope of the boy-on-the-verge-of-manhood, the well-trod trope of the girl-pretending-to-be-a-boy-in-Robin’s-band (this time it’s Much), and of course the noble-who-discovers-his-privilege-is-built-on-the-backs-of –the-starving-poor. All these common themes are carried off relatively
Josephine Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious
The 13 year old heir of Shackley Manor, William isn't eager to leave his days of mischief and play behind. But one fateful night, when December's cold is so deep that wolves are pushed to desperation, Will Scarlet becomes Lord William, Wolf-slayer. Leading the entire serfdom doesn't seem so terrible, eve ig it is a bit boring. As questions come to the castle from a pretender testing his uncle Lord Geoffrey for his loyalty. Will knows that King Richard and his father will be home soon, putting an ...more
Matthew Cody has created a new Robin Hood tale. This story about William Shackley, who comes to be known as Will Scarlett, is presented with a new perspective. There is little of the romantic notion we hold about Robin Hood to be found in this tale. Instead this is a story about how England might have been during those feudal times, and the brutality of life is quite clear. A band of Merry Men living in a forest is not exactly the picture Cody paints in his story.

We meet Will while his is still
Wendy Browne
I really enjoy books about famous fictional heroes that aren't actually about the famous fictional heroes.

Will in Scarlet is a Robin Hood story told first and foremost through the eyes of the young lord, William Shackley. Later, the voice of Much, the miller's daughter turned son, is added. Their stories and the paths that lead them to the Merry Men of Sherwood Forest shape the lore around the infamous Robin Hood. But while we get a glimpse into the wanted bandit, it's Will and Much who the read
Will Shackley is the son of Lord Shackley. Will's father is accompanying King Richard. Will's uncle has a nickname for Will. It is Will Scarlet. Because whenever Will was in trouble he would turn crimson. So his nickname is a play on his troublemaking ways and his name.

Sir Guy of Gisborne is King John's main man. He visits the Shackley house. An attack takes place and Will's uncle is killed. Will escapes into the woods. There he meets the Merry Men.

This book still had all my favorite character
I enjoyed this book. I like to read middle grade fantasy as it is some of the most imaginative reading material there is. This book is certainly no exception.

I was impressed with this for a couple of main reasons:

I didn't feel that the author spoke down to the intended audience. The story has a very traditional Robin Hood feel when it comes to the way the dialogue is written and I thought it was intelligent enough for an adult to keep entertained with. That was a nice change.

Secondly, the book
Middle grade readers can hitch a ride back in time to merry old England, filled with medieval castles, sword fights and thieves who rob from the rich and give to the poor! Sound familiar? Will in Scarlet by Matthew Cody is filled with adventure, danger and larger than life action as a thirteen-year-old boy must flee for his life from his father’s castle as it is overrun by treacherous and scheming villains looking to gain power, wealth and favor in the eyes of the crown. Young William is capture ...more
There are so many Robin Hood tales that have been written over the years. Will in Scarlet stands out as a great book for middle graders. The books tells the story of Will Scarlet like you have never seen him before.. a rich noble. His story is the main focus of the book in this coming of age Robin Hood tale.

Told in more of a historical fiction fashion, we get a glimpse of life for both Nobles and peasants during the crusade. While King Richard is off fighting an almost endless war his people ar
Sarah Eisele
In this retelling of the Robin Hood legend, Matthew Cody focuses on Will Shackley, the protected son and heir of a wealthy lord. Will's father is away with King Richard the Lionheart, fighting in the Third Crusade, and with the cat -- I mean king -- away, the mice are beginning to play. Whispers of treason are heard throughout England. Will's charmed life has not prepared him for the power struggles and machinations erupting in King Richard's absence -- including in his own Shackley House. Will ...more
Dear Robin Hood retellings,

You have to be more than just a Robin Hood retelling. You have to have a plot too.

Love, M
According to Matthew Cody, author of this book, there really is no official version of the Robin Hood tale. The basic foundation of the folk lore surrounding this classic hero seems to change with the political climate often enough to suspect that perhaps the legend evolving over the years is more a conglomerate of characters and repeated among the downtrodden to keep hope alive. In any case, in his research the author found very little about young Will Shackley, a member of Robin's Merry Men; h ...more
Will Scarlet, the boy behind the Robin Hood legend, is essentially a prequel to the Robin Hood story. In this telling, Will Scarlet is the hero. Will Shackley is the son of the local lord who is away fighting in the Crusades with King Richard. His brother is regent in his absence and is training Will to become the lord in his turn. This all gets turned upside down when Sir Guy of Gisborne, a favorite of Prince John, invades the Shackley castle, kills Will’s uncle, and sets Will up to be hanged f ...more
Will is growing up to be a lord. As the son of Lord Shackley, he is growing up fast to take over the land while his father is in the Crusades with King Richard. Unfortunately, with a plot to overthrow the king, Will's land has fallen. Now he is on the run and flees to Sherwood Forest becoming a member of the Merry Men. While Will's position as the son of a lord is no longer necessary, his knowledge of the castle becomes a good way to settle his place within the band of thieves. Along wit
The story: One moment, Will is the son of a nobleman and heir to the castle. The next, his uncle is murdered, his mother flees into hiding, and Will is nearly killed in an ambush. He survives to swear revenge on the man responsible for all these misfortunes: Sir Guy of Gisborne, traitor to the crown and his uncle's killer. Surprisingly, when Will finds himself hiding out with a band of outlaws, he finds there may be more honor among thieves than among the nobles of his own class. Take Rob the Dr ...more
Pop Bop
A Satisfying, Ripping Yarn.

When people unfamiliar with Robin Hood think of him, if they think of him at all, they probably think of Mel Brooks or of Kevin Costner or Errol Flynn gamboling about a leafy glade in tights. Or maybe they think of the old TV show with Richard Greene, (you remember the theme song - "Robin Hood, Robin Hood, riding through through the glen..."), which at least tried to capture in its earnest 50's black and white TV way a little bit of the action and adventure and romance
I did get very enmeshed in this book and concerned for the main character Will. Much was an interesting story too, a girl pretending to be a boy in the Merry Men. Of course, I'm intrigued to see this author's spin on Rob and Little John and the Sheriff of Nottingham. Actually, my favorite character was the Sheriff because he seems the most well-rounded as opposed to the way the Sheriff is usually portrayed as just a complete villain. Ser Guy was the complete villain.

This book KIND OF feels like
Cheshire Public Library
Thirteen year old Will Shakley is the son of a lord, and has led a fairly charmed life. However, when his father is off at war fighting beside King Richard the winds change and treason is in the air. Will ends up in the forest struggling to survive. It is there that we all met up with a group of bandits. Through their trials and adventures young Will is a part of Robin Hood’s rise to power and fame.

This is an exciting tale that will keep boys and girls from around 9 through high school intereste
Will In Scarlet
Matthew Cody

What it's all about...

This story is about a boy, a girl disguised as a boy and a group of not so merry men!

My thoughts after reading this book...

This book is about Robin Hood before he actually became Robin Hood...and before he even knew he would be Robin...Hood.

I love that this book was divided into four easy to read parts. I will now briefly summarize each part!

Part One...

Will is just a mischievous boy playing with his friend and stealing molasses to eat. However o
William Shackley was born to luxury, as heir to his father's castle. But his father is with King Richard on the Crusades and his uncle Geoffrey is acting as regent, and there is talk that Prince John has his eye on Shackley as a desirable property. How can Will hope to defend his inheritance? He can't, not when Sir Guy of Gisborne and his men take over Shackley and kill Will's uncle. Will and his mother barely escape with their lives, and Will himself is captured by bandits in Sherwood Forest. R ...more
Quinby6696 Frank
Young William Shackley, heir to Shackley Castle is always in trouble. He and his best friend, Milo, the stable boy play endless pranks on everyone in the castle. Other than a good swat from Nan's wooden spoon, the boys haven't a care in the world. But things are about to change - a lot! Will's father is away fighting on a crusade with King Richard and Will's uncle Geoff is the castle regent until his return. When Prince John's thugs take over the castle and murder Geoff, Will is forced to flee f ...more
Aug 05, 2014 Tirzah rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Emerging readers/Fans of swashbuckling adventure & historic England
Shelves: young-adult
Robin Hood is one of my favorite legends. I grew up on the Disney cartoon (Robin is even amazing as a fox) and have watched the original Errol Flynn, the Disney unanimated version, and Russell Crowe version. Surprisingly enough, I have never actually read a book or retelling on Robin Hood…I only read about him in an abridged edition of Ivanhoe when he makes an appearance. So I am not really familiar with all the retellings that are out there. Thus, I was taken back when I ran across Will in Scar ...more
Clever and witty retelling of Robin Hood. Thirteen year old Will Shackley is heir to the manor. His father has been off with King Richard to the Crusades and now with Prince John claiming the throne the house of Shackley is in trouble. Of course Will joins a ragtag bunch of outlaws- that is the story. This is a great introduction to Robin Hood and add to that the geography, and historical characters and it makes it down right educational… but very fun.

I would recommend this for a little older th
I rather enjoyed this version of the Robin Hood legend. This follows the story of young William Shackley, son and heir of Lord Shackley. When Prince John, with the help of Sir Guy of Gisborne and an ambitious new sheriff, starts to make his play for King Richard's throne (who is of Crusading), young Will gets caught in the crossfires. Accused of murder and forced to flee, Will finds himself a prisoner to the Merry Men in Sherwood Forest. His new tent mate is a drunk named Rob. Will leads the gan ...more

Matthew Cody’s Will in Scarlet is a fun reimagining of the infamous Robin Hood legend. This wild swashbuckling middle-grade book has outrageous adventure, laugh-out-loud humor, a touch of romance, vile villains, and plenty of worthy heroes to keep young readers thoroughly entertained!

Thirteen year old Will Shackley has lived a sheltered and privileged life as the son and heir of Lord Shackley. But Lord Shackley is away at war with KIng Richard the Lionheart, and in their absence treason abounds.
Lizzy Lessard
WILL IN SCARLET swings from the lows of life into the highlights with this retelling of Robin Hood and his Merry Men. Its young cast and spontaneous silliness might make adults feel a little foolish for reading it, yet the gritty scenes involving death and less than ideal choices will keep tweens and teens entranced.

There’s a surprising amount of depth to story, characters, and setting considering that the pacing never lags. I’m amazed at how much is crammed into these 272 pages. Every word trul
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 28 29 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Book of Lost Things (Mister Max #1)
  • The Lost Kingdom
  • Twerp
  • Bo at Ballard Creek
  • Al Capone Does My Homework (Al Capone at Alcatraz, #3)
  • Will Sparrow's Road
  • The Great Trouble: A Mystery of London, the Blue Death, and a Boy Called Eel
  • Zebra Forest
  • The Case of the Good-Looking Corpse (The P.K Pinkerton Mysteries, #2)
  • A Summer of Sundays
  • Shadow on the Mountain
  • Turn Left at the Cow
  • Salt: A Story of Friendship in a Time of War
  • Texting the Underworld
  • Oliver and the Seawigs
  • Written in Stone
  • Duke
  • Seeing Red
Originally from the Midwest, Matthew Cody now lives in New York City with his wife and son. When not writing books or goofing off with his family, he teaches creative writing to kids of all ages.
More about Matthew Cody...
Powerless (Supers of Noble's Green, #1) Super (Supers of Noble's Green, #2) The Dead Gentleman Villainous (Supers of Noble's Green, #3) Achtung, Superheld!

Share This Book