Arrows Fletched with Peacock Feathers - Claudia Quint

Arrows Fletched with Peacock Feathers by Claudia Quint

What an interesting novella this is.

The Sheriff of Nottingham is a man without a name, a tool of the theocrat who bows to Prince John, pretender to the throne with the true king, Richard the Lionheart, is fighting religious wars in the middle east. He, nameless in this story, squelched his heart a long time ago, but when a mysterious bandit breaks into his bower* and the sheriff lets him go, he finds his heart not so hard as he thought.

A run in with Maid Marian, long rumored to be the bandit’s lover, leads to a frustrating confrontation of emotions that can only be read as queer. Gender identity and desire are poetically on display, even as the Sheriff feels his need to follow the will of the church, or rather, it’s greed. The abbot guilts the Sheriff and warns of the chaos that would ensue if law and order is not reinstated in the forest.

Ah, there were so many quotes I'd love to share with you... Let me tantalize you with one snippet of conversation instead.

"My mother followed her heart over her head and I saw where it led her!" the Sheriff exploded in a torrent of feeling, the words running unchecked from him. "She died with no one beside her at the end, despite many a profession of love. Tell me, will you be there to defend me when Prince John demands his taxes? Will you be there to take up the shortfall for the townspeople when they cannot pay? Should I abandon my post, just to have a more ruthless cutthroat take it up and squeeze the people until blood runs from their purses?"
"Join me, where you belong," Robin said with equal intensity. "Let another lawman come. With you in our company, we can take the Abbot on. We can go all the way to the top."
"Treason. You speak of treason. How would the Lionheart suffer you? Or any of us, when he returns?"
"Let us not trouble our heads over the morrow when the morrow is not guaranteed."

I was blown away with lovely writing and the interesting queer characters populating Sherwood Forest. I’d recommend this to you for the characterization of the Sheriff alone. Though this book was labeled as ‘genderqueer’ no one actually uses labels in this book. Certain instances read like gender fluidity to me, and you could argue that others are cross-dressing, more for disguise and necessity than a representation of oneself.

It does however feature queer characters and polyamory, but as I said, no labels are used within the book among the characters themselves. It's not terribly explicit, but there is sex, so be warned.

There were times when I would have liked a little more clarification, when things seemed glossed over, 53 pages is fairly short, after all. I also am a little confused about the house which Maid Marian owns... But it was a swift little romance that I can highly recommend.

*apparently bower is a gendered noun ‘the private room of a lady’ chuck that noise. [insert gif of Lin Beifong or Sokka here]

Pages: 53
Year: February 28th 2017
Publisher: Less Than Three Press, LLC

Read: 15 Jun 17 to 15 Jun 17
Stars: 4 (really liked it)