Life was dangerous and exciting in 12th century England. King Richard, nicknamed The Lion-Hearted, was absent, fighting the Saracens in the Holy Land. At home, relations between the Saxons and their Norman conquerors were strained. Prince John, the king's brother, was plotting to seize the throne. And Robin Hood and his men, ranging through Sherwood Forest, created consternation in the hearts of the authorities. In this setting Sir Walter Scott places the action of Ivanhoe.