After Robin Hood caught her trying to steal from him, he blackmailed Scarlet (known to the legends as Will Scarlet) into working for his cause against the rapacious Sheriff of Nottingham. With her help, he, Much, and John Little are able to keep the peasants alive. But then the Sheriff starts taking hostages and Scarlet's old foe Guy of Gisbourne, the thieftaker, arrives in Nottingham. With the stakes raised so high, can--
Who am I kidding? The author doesn't give a crap about the peasants, who exist purely to make Scarlet feel guilty and alternately praise her as a saint and look down at her as a thief (purely depending on whether the narrative wants the ever-watching Robin to esteem her or pity her). Gaughen doesn't give a crap about the sheriff, either, who has about two lines and is taken care of offhandedly. It's not even about Robin Hood and his quest for justice for his people and himself; Robin's highest concern is always Scarlet. (This is not to say that Robin actually cares for Scarlet, since he spends most of the book moodily glaring at anyone who looks at her, and the last bit of the book calling her a whore after finding out her father promised her hand to someone at age 13.) The only focus of this book is Scarlet. Scarlet has such bad self-esteem that she literally only eats a bite or two of bread every few days, and yet somehow she has the strength to punch guardsmen unconscious, vault over walls, and swing through the trees. Scarlet has eyes like moonstones, and everyone who sees them thinks they're magic and remembers her forever. Every good guy that knows Scarlet is a girl wants to date her, and every bad guy that knows Scarlet is a girl wants to rape her (even in the middle of a pitched battle!). She is very, very special, and just in case the reader ever forgets, the narrative is always there to help her sacrifice herself or get hurt so all the Merry Men stroke her wounds.
I hated Scarlet, and I hated [b:Scarlet|12296|The Scarlet Letter|Nathaniel Hawthorne|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1327879100s/12296.jpg|4925227]. This is wish-fulfillment martyr-ish drek of the worst sort.