Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
One afternoon in the late springtime, the Moat House bell begins to ring. A messenger arrived with a message from Sir Daniel Brackley for Sir Oliver Oates, his clerk. When the peasants gather at the summons of the bell, they are told that as many armed men as can be spared from the defense of Moat House are to join Sir Daniel at Kettley, where a battle is to be fought between the armies of Lancaster and York. There is some grumbling at this order, for Sir Daniel is a faithless man who fights first on one side and then on the other. He added to his own lands by securing the wardships of children left orphans in those troubled times, and it is whispered that he murdered good Sir Harry Shelton to make himself the guardian of young Dick Shelton and the lord of the Moat House estates.
As guardian, Sir Daniel plans to marry Dick to the orphaned heiress of Kettley, Joanna Sedley. He rides there to take charge of the girl. Dick, knowing nothing of these plans, remains behind as one of the garrison of the manor. Old Nick Appleyard, a veteran of Agincourt, grumbles at the weakness of the defense in a country overrun by stragglers from warring armies and insists that Moat House lies open to attack. His prophecy comes true. While he stands talking to Dick and Bennet Hatch, Sir Daniel’s bailiff, a black arrow whirs out of the woods and strikes Nick between the shoulder blades. A message on the shaft indicates that John Amend-All, a mysterious outlaw, kills old...
(The entire section is 1439 words.)
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The Black Arrow is an exciting adventure story full of intrigue, suspense, hair-breadth escapes, and desperate fights. It also contains an unusual love story: the heroine first appears disguised as a boy, and the hero, conditioned to be indifferent or hostile to women, comes grudgingly to admire and then to love her. The Black Arrow offers valuable insights into history and rates among the best novels available about the fifteenth-century English civil conflict known as the Wars of the Roses.
(The entire section is 80 words.)