Monday, February 20, 2012

Male on Monday by Gail Barrett

Male on Monday: Robin Hood?


What comes to your mind when you think about Robin Hood?  Green tights?  A feathered cap?  A man who spends his days holding clandestine meetings in the forest and carousing with his merry men?

A man hardly worthy of inspiration for a romance hero, right?  And to make him even less likely, Robin Hood probably didn’t exist.  Historians aren’t sure.  And even if he was real, we don’t know any details about his life.  He might have lived in the twelfth century, which explains the clothes; knee-length tunics worn over leggings or hose were popular with twelfth-century men (the cap was optional).  We also know that by the mid-thirteenth century the name Robin Hood (Robehod or Robynhod) was used as a sort of pseudonym, a generic nom de guerre for outlaws, which hardly helps.


Everything else is speculation.  We don’t know his origins, his occupation, or even his social class, although various versions of his life have cropped up through the years.  Maid Marian wasn’t part of his original story.  She was created sometime in the sixteenth century, probably to lend him a romantic air.

So why use him as a model for my hero?  Because real or embellished or not, Robin Hood ignites our imaginations.  Green tights notwithstanding, he’s the classic hero, the man who dares to take on the bullies and stand for justice in an oppressive world.  He does what most of us can’t.  He fights the powerful tyrants, striking a blow on behalf of the downtrodden, giving the weak and impoverished amongst us the means to battle corruption -- and win.

We’ve always needed men like him.  Back in the Middle Ages, the king had absolute power -- and controlled almost all the land.  There was no upward mobility for the masses, no way for a peasant to change his lot in life and get ahead.  And there was no way to fight the unfair laws that existed only to protect the rich.  The poor were truly powerless, at the mercy of the cruel nobles who manipulated the laws to their own ends.  So Robin Hood was a much-needed savior, a beacon of hope in an otherwise hopeless world.  Although his methods were sometimes brutal, he swooped in like an avenging angel, freeing the unjustly imprisoned, robbing the rich of their undeserved gains and returning it to the rightful poor.


Even now, centuries later and in thoroughly modern times, a hero like him still holds great appeal.  We know what it’s like to feel helpless.  We’ve all suffered some sort of injustice in our lives.  And we’ve all dreamed of standing up against the powerful and fighting back -- even if we don’t have the nerve.

So why not use him as a model?  Who better to serve as an inspiration for my latest hero -- a man who also happens to be a thief?  My hero, Dante Quevedo, wears t-shirts and blue jeans instead of a feathered cap.  He doesn’t hang around the forest or have a band of merry men.  And he’s far more likely to set off a bomb blast than whip out a bow and arrow when the going gets tough.  But he’s Robin Hood nonetheless, the eternal champion of the downtrodden, a man determined to right the wrongs in the world -- but without the tights.

Gail Barrett's latest book High-Stakes Affair is available now from Harlequin Romantic Suspense.

With her country on the brink of unrest, loyal Princess Paloma Vergara escapes the security of the palace walls to protect her family.  To eliminate the threat of blackmail against her brother, the heir to the Vergara legacy, she must enlist the help of an ex-con with a very special set of skills.
Dante Quevedo has his own dark agenda: avenge his sister's death.  Teaming up with the royal beauty makes revenge all the easier to claim.  Until they stumble upon a terrorist plot that leaves them with no one but each other to trust...
Stealth Knights: Powerful, passionate heroes with their own code of law.


  1. Whether he was a figment of someone's imagination or whether he really lived, Robin Hood is a hero and as heroes go, he certainly inspires.

  2. I agree, Maria. It's pretty amazing to think that his reputation has lasted for over 700 years. That's pretty darned impressive:)))