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Saturday 22 July 2023

My Spotlight Guest: Charlene Newcomb and Rogue

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About the Book
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.


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:

Read An Excerpt

Enjoy this excerpt from Chapter 7 of Rogue, wherein Marian does not want Robin to go to Nottingham to rescue Allan…

“This is not your problem.” Marian had faced Robin, the brush she’d been combing her hair with held stiffly in her lap. She sat very still, listening, letting him explain before she’d spoken. “Allan chose this life. He knew it might end badly. But you…you chose us, Robin. Please—”

He knelt at her feet, put the brush aside, and clasped her hands. “Allan has helped thousands. What have I done?”

“Are you saying it was a mistake to marry me, to come to York?” Marian’s words were sharp, but her voice wasn’t harsh. He could never escape that she knew him too well. “You’d rather live in the forest as an outlaw.”

“I would not miss a day of the years we’ve had.” He saw the love in her eyes. “I expect many more. But if I hadn’t found you again, then yes, I would be there. You know that.”

Her face held both love and fear. “I do.” She touched his brow, his temple. Her fingers stroked his cheeks. “I don’t want you to go. We lost so many years together.”

Robin kissed her hand. He could never recapture those times and would never forget how he’d left Marian without a word. He didn’t know she was expecting their son. He hadn’t known about Robert until the boy was nine summers and he was thousands of miles away serving King Richard on the pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

“How will you feel if Little John’s message has come too late? Allan may already be hanging from a gibbet,” she said. “Or his head on a spike.”

Marian knew Allan, and Robin could see how painful those words were for her to say. He had to believe they weren’t true.

“He is alive and in the dungeons. There are tunnels beneath the castle—some only Allan knows. Henry and Stephan, or Tuck, will know a way to get me inside to see Allan.” To get him out.

“Lord Henry? Why would he…? His last letter…”

Robin gave her a rueful half smile. “They have been working in Sherwood with Allan’s gang.”

“Working?” Marian stood abruptly and paced to the window. “Robbing people. No better than thieves.”

“They give near all they take to folks who would starve without their help.”

“Thieves,” she repeated. “Dear God, does Lady Bea know?”

Robin shook his head. He had urged Henry to tell his sister, but Henry didn’t want her to worry. His letters were short, infrequent and had words like We are thinking of pilgrimage to Rome.

“I suppose that’s a good thing,” Marian said. “Better than knowing he lives in the forest and robs innocent people. Stealing is a sin.”

Robin pulled her close. “Thou shalt not steal seems to matter little to Henry when the Church tells him there is a place in Hell waiting for him and Stephan.” He kissed the top of her head. “I love you, wife.”

Marian sighed, cradling her head against his chest. “Stay. You cannot do anything to help Allan now.”

“I can succor him. Is that not enough?” Robin stroked her hair. “I want him to know in his heart that we have not forgotten him.” There will be a way to get him out of the dungeon. His last walk will not be to the gallows.

“Write to him. Little John can deliver your message.” She looked up at Robin. “Which he already offered, and you said, ‘No, it would not be right’. I know. I just… If the sheriff’s men discover you are in Nottingham, they will put you in that cell with Allan.”

Robin tapped her nose, and then tucked a loose strand of hair behind her ear. “They won’t recognize me.”

Marian cupped his face in her hands. “There are lines on your cheeks and at your eyes, but those eyes are as blue as the first day you kissed me. You still have those dimples when you smile—”

“I’ll be sure not to smile then.”

She batted his arm. “And a rosebud curl when your mouth is closed.” Her eyes lit mischievously, and she added, “Which isn’t often.”

Robin laughed. “Are you saying I talk too much?”

Her finger on his lips silenced him. She slid her hand behind his neck and pulled him down to meet her in a kiss.

Marian felt like silk in his hands, soft as the first day he had made love to her. She fit perfectly in his embrace. He could still picture her in their secret spot along the stream near their childhood homes, the joy of their bodies becoming one.

Robin gasped. Marian had reached between them.

“Keep that up and we may get little sleep tonight,” Robin said between breathless kisses, “but I still must leave on the morrow.”

“You leave me and your own children to risk your life to comfort Allan.”

Robin’s arms tightened around her. “I will do everything I can to keep safe.” He stroked her hair again. “Lucy and Richard will be here for you.”

Richard. He was fifteen. He couldn’t stay here forever. And Marian knew that. Their youngest son would leave, just as Robert had. Their rank demanded it. Richard had trained for knighthood since he first sat atop a horse. It was time they let him go, that he could become the man they knew he could be.

A smile curled Robin’s lips. Perhaps his other news would make this less painful. “Robert is in Nottingham, part of the sheriff’s troop at the castle.”

Speechless, Marian pulled away from him. She bit her lip, then exhaled softly. “I have missed him.”

“So have I.”

“Despite your arguments?” she asked.

Robin nodded. It had been hard on Marian to watch their oldest son’s irritation with him. It was almost a relief that he hadn’t returned, though Robin’s letters encouraged him to come home. How many times…how many ways could he say he was sorry?

Robert had never forgiven him for letting Marian think he was dead all those years, for the lies she was forced to tell. Concealing that she was with child, lying about marriage and being widowed.

He stepped toward Marian, but she whirled around and leaned on the window embrasure.

“There are times I wish you had stayed a carpenter’s son.”

Robin turned his palms up. “This is who I am, the man you took as husband.” He had spent too much of his youth loosing arrows and had little skill with awl and chisel. His father’s fault. If he hadn’t made him the best bow in England, Robin wouldn’t have won the silver that allowed him to buy a horse. That victory led to his service to King Richard.

Marian folded her arms across her breasts. She shifted, but even in the shadows her face was hard. “You should pack what you need, and check with cook—”

“That’s done.” There would be fresh loaves of bread in the morning and plenty of dried meat and some cheese for their journey south.

He pressed his lips to Marian’s hand. He wanted a quiet night with her curled up in his arms. He looked into her eyes, hoping to see that she needed him as much as he wanted her.

“I am still angry,” she said.

“You’re frightened,” he replied, brushing his thumb across her cheek.


He kissed her, gently. And when she broke into tears and sobbed against his chest he held her close.

About the Author

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.

Librarian (retired).

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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* * *
the events that led to 1066
the Battle of Hastings

1066 - the events that led to the
Battle of Hastings
from Amazon
Harold the King  (UK edition)
I Am The Chosen King (US/Canada edition)
1066 Turned Upside Down -
an anthology of alternative stories


Amazon: FREE ebook!
featuring a story by Charlene Newcomb 

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