Robin of Loxley, a lord living in Nottingham, enjoys a good life with his lover, Marian, before he is drafted by the corrupt Sheriff of Nottingham to fight in the Third Crusade against the Saracens.
After four years away from England, Robin becomes disillusioned with the Crusades when he fails to prevent his commander, Guy of Gisbourne, from executing prisoners, namely a teenage boy, despite the pleading of the boy’s father, which prompts Gisbourne to send Robin back home. When he returns to Nottingham, Robin learns from his old friend Friar Tuck that the Sheriff had him officially declared dead two years prior in order to seize Robin’s land and wealth to continue funding the war effort at the behest of the corrupt Cardinal, kicking the citizens from the city and into the coal mine town across the river. Investigating ‘the Slags’, Robin witnesses the commoners planning to rise against the government that oppresses and exploits them and learns that Marian is now involved with their aspiring leader, Will Tillman.
Robin is prevented from making contact with her by the Arab whose son he tried to save. The man introduces himself as Yahya – which he says can be translated to “John” – and proposes that he and Robin work to end the war by stealing the money taken from the people to fund the church’s war. Marian seeks Robin upon learning that he is alive, but he chooses not to tell her of his plans for her own protection..