Rogue, Excerpt by Charlene Newcomb

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.

Excerpt from Chapter 8: Sir Robert takes on a chore in order to pay a visit to Allan in the castle dungeon…

In the kitchen, Leena eyed Robert suspiciously as he took to his new task. “Young Tom needed a hand today,” he explained, glad Joanna was off on an errand.

“Did he?” Leena pointed to a sack with bowls and stale bread.

Robert tossed it over his shoulder. He clasped the cool handle of the stew pot and struck out across the bailey. Inside the keep, the thick oak door into the dungeon was flung wide open. A clatter and curses bled behind Gerald whom he met in the stairwell.

“Someone dying down there?” Robert asked.

“Already dead,” Gerald said.

Allan…? Please God, no.

If Gerald hadn’t been drunk he would’ve heard Robert’s thudding heart. A boulder striking a stone curtain wall couldn’t have been much louder.

The keys on Gerald’s sword belt rattled as he propped himself against the wall. He rubbed his hands over his face, squinting painfully at light pealing from the top of the stairs. “One of the scum—big as a bear—died last night.” Pointing toward the darker recesses of the dungeon, Gerald almost fell over. “Having a time getting the dead up—”

“Heavy bastard, eh?” Robert asked, relieved big-as-a-bear didn’t describe Allan.

“Quite a stink, too.” Gerald rubbed his nose on his sleeve. He staggered up the stairs.

Robert moved along the damp, cool passageway. He passed two men lugging a body wrapped in filthy cloth. Something crunched beneath his boot. He couldn’t see what manner of creature it was—the oil lamps shed too dim a light.

The dungeon reeked of piss and shite, and with hands full of food, Robert couldn’t cover his nose. One torch guttered on the wall, barely illuminating the filthy straw and cold stone floor of each cell. The prisoners must have heard Robert on the stairs. Two gaunt men leaned against the iron bars. He handed a bowl and bread to each one, and then ladled pottage from the pot. He could hear them slurping the stew even before he found Allan.

Allan pushed himself up from the hay. “What delicacy have you brought today?” Approaching the bars, his eyes widened. “I wondered when I would see you again.”

When, not if. Confident bastard. Probably what’s kept him alive all these years, Robert thought, withholding a chuckle.

He passed Allan a bowl and filled it to near overflowing. “I’ve seen wet mongrels looking better than you.”

“Free meals. A place to sleep. Good company,” Allan said, cocking his head toward the other prisoners. “And no torture…yet. I am quite well.” He tipped the bowl and swallowed a mouthful of the leek- and garlic-laced broth.

Robert kept his voice low. “I got word to Father William.” He offered Allan a large chunk of wheaten bread. “He should be in York by now.”

Allan dunked the bread into the pottage, swished it around, then took a big bite.

“You both seem so certain Robin will come.”

“I am.” Allan cocked his head. He chewed on another hunk of bread, and then hastily washed it down with broth from the bowl.

“But should the king arrive before—”

“King John will have laid waste to his rebellious barons’ estates near Cambridge and leave nothing for the French or the Scots army as he pursues them toward Lincoln.” He grinned at Robert. “Would be quite the prize if he captures the Scots king.”

“The Scots?” Robert asked, puzzled.

“Did you not hear King Alexander bent the knee to Prince Louis in Dover?” Allan asked evenly. “What a fight that will be—mayhap right at our gates—the Scots’ army and rebel barons with the French against King John.”

Allan’s knowledge of the king and his enemies caught Robert by surprise for the second time. He had known the sheriff rendezvoused with the king, now this. The outlaw must have as many scouts as the king himself.

“Pray the sheriff and King John remain occupied with matters of state bigger than my trial and hanging.” Allan tugged at the neck of his tunic.

“Like invasion,” Robert said. “Sheriff Marc left few men to defend Nottingham.”

There was a glint in Allan’s eyes. “If your comrades are busy, they won’t notice if I take my leave. God’s nails, I could even man the battlements and loose a few arrows at the invaders.”

Allan probably had better aim than most, and Robert chuckled at the thought but should have stalked out then and there.

Available on Amazon

Meet Charlene Newcomb

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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