Short summary - The Black Arrow: A Tale of the Two Roses - Robert Louis Stevenson

British literature summaries -

Short summary - The Black Arrow: A Tale of the Two Roses
Robert Louis Stevenson

The action takes place in England in the second half of the 15th century, during the war of the Scarlet and White Roses.

In the village of Thanstall, owned by Sir Daniel Brackley, a messenger appears who brings the order of Sir Daniel to the entire male population of the village to immediately march. The unit should be led by Bennett Hatch, Sir Daniel's right hand and in his absence, the manager of the castle of Mot. During the campaign, he wants to leave to look after the castle of the old soldier Nicholas Epplyard, but during their conversation Epplyard pierces a black arrow - this is a sign of the forest robber, nicknamed John-Mschu-For-All. Hatch is forced to stay, and reinforcement to Sir Daniel will be led by his pupil Richard (Dick) Shelton.

While the squad is gathering at the church, a letter is found on the church doors in which John-Ms-For-All speaks of his intention to take revenge on Sir Daniel, Sir Oliver, the priest guilty, as the letter says, of the death of the young father of Dick, and Bennett Hatch .

Meanwhile, Sir Daniel is sitting in a tavern in one of his villages. A boy settled there on the floor, reacting painfully to Sir Daniel's jokes, who promises to successfully marry him by making Mrs. Shelton.

Dick appears. After reading a letter from the priest Sir Oliver, Sir Daniel is trying to shift the blame for the death of his father Dick to a certain Ellis Duckworth. While Dick is eating, someone approaches him from behind and asks for directions to Holywood Abbey, which is not far from Mot Castle. Giving an answer, Dick notices how the boy, whom everyone in the tavern calls «Master John,» secretly slips out of the room.

Sir Daniel sends Dick a letter back to Moth Castle. Then a messenger appears, urging Brackley to come to the aid of Count Risingham, a supporter of the Lancaster, and Sir Daniel notices that "Master John" is gone. Then he sends in search of his detachment of seven people. Dick's path to the castle lies through a swamp. There he meets John, whose horse drowned in a bog, and then the boys go together. From John, Dick learns that Sir Daniel is going to marry him to a certain Joanna Sadley. When they cross the river, they are bombarded by robbers. Dick is in the water, and John saves him. Passing through the forest, they find themselves in the camp of the robbers, whose leader really is Ellis Dequorth. Soon, the boys witness the defeat of the detachment sent in search of John. After spending the night in the forest

At the castle, Sir Daniel prepares for defense - most of all he fears the "forest brothers." Every minute ready to betray his former supporters, he sends a letter with a messenger to his friend, a member of the Lancaster party. Meanwhile, Dick is trying to find out the circumstances of the death of his father, which attracts the wrath of Sir Daniel. He is being relocated to a room above the chapel, and Dick feels like a trap. John, who appeared suddenly, confirms his guesses. Indeed, the killer is already opening a secret hatch, but he is distracted by the search that began in the castle for some Joanna. Dick's friend admits that he is Joanna, and they swear an oath to unite their destinies.

Through a secret hatch, Dick leaves the castle and, having hardly crossed the moat, wanders into the forest. There he finds a hanged messenger and takes possession of the letter, after which he surrenders to the robbers. He is taken to the leader. DeWorth welcomes the boy cordially and vows to avenge Sir Daniel for him and for himself. Through the peasants, Dick passes a letter to his former guardian, in which he warns him against arranging his own marriage.

It takes several months. Supporters of the York House are defeated, and the Lancaster Party temporarily triumphs, whose main supporters settled in the town of Shorbi-on-Till.

Dick becomes aware that Sir Daniel wants to marry Joanne to Sir Shorbi. In an attempt to kidnap the bride, Dick attacks the house where she is being held in custody, but instead of guarding, engages in battle with Lord Foxham, her guardian. As a result, the young man defeats the old knight, and he gives his consent to his marriage with Joanna.

Then Dick, together with Lord Foxham, try to free Joanna by abducting the ship, but nothing comes of their undertaking to attack her house from the sea - they and the sailors from among the "forest brothers" miraculously manage to escape. In a clash with the guards, Lord Foxham was wounded. He gives Dick his ring as evidence that the young man is his representative, and a letter to the future King Richard III, which contains information about the forces of the supporters of Lancaster. After an unsuccessful attempt to free Joanna Lawless, the most loyal to Dick the robber, leads the young man into the forest, where they dress as monks. In such vestments, they penetrate the house of Sir Daniel; there Dick finally meets with Joanna. However, in order to protect himself, he has to kill the spy Sir Shorbi; as a result, a commotion rises, and Dick is forced to flee. He’s trying to trick the guards into saying that he’s going to pray, and they take him to church, where he has to open himself to Sir Oliver. He promises not to give him away if nothing interferes with Joanna's wedding with Sir Shorbi.

However, during the wedding ceremony, the people of DeWorth kill the groom and injure Sir Daniel, so Sir Oliver extradits Dick. Sir Daniel wants to torture him, but he pleads not guilty and asks for protection from the Earl of Risingham. The Count, not wanting to quarrel with Sir Daniel, is also going to punish him, but Dick shows the Count a letter proving the betrayal of Sir Daniel, and the young man is released. But as soon as they, with the faithful Lawless, go out into the street, when Dick falls into the hands of the captain from whom the ship was stolen, and he miraculously manages to escape.

Dick comes to meet with Richard Gloucester, the future king, and together they develop a plan of attack on Shorbi. During the battle for the city of Diku, before the arrival of reinforcements, he succeeds in maintaining an important milestone, for which the future king knights him. But Dick quickly loses his grace, asking to save the life of the captain of the ship he stole.


Having come to the house of Sir Daniel after the fight, Dick discovers that he escaped, taking Joanna with him. Having received 50 horsemen from Gloucester, he sets off in pursuit and finds Joanna in the forest. Together they come to Holywood Abbey, where they should get married the next day. Going out for a walk in the morning, Dick meets a man in a pilgrim's robe. This is Sir Daniel, who wants to get into Holywood under the protection of his holy walls, and then flee to Burgundy or France. Dick is not going to kill his enemy, but does not want to let him into the abbey. Sir Daniel leaves, heading for the forest, but an arrow catches him at the edge of the forest - that is how the busted by him Ellis Dequorth.

The hero marries Joanna, the captain of the stolen ship happily survives his life in the village of Thanstall, and Lawless becomes a monk and dies in piety.