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Description - The Forest by Edward Rutherfurd

Few places lie closer to the heart of the nation's heritage than the New Forest. Now, Edward Rutherfurd, weaves its history and legends into compelling fiction. From the mysterious killing of King William Rufus, treachery and witchcraft, smuggling and poaching run through this epic tale of well-born ladies, lowly woodsmen, sailors, merchants and Cistercian monks. The feuds, wars, loyalties and passions of generations reach their climax in a crime that shatters the decorous society of Jane Austen's Bath, and whose ramifications continue through the age of the Victorian railway builders to the ecologists of the present day.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780099279075
ISBN-10: 009927907X
Format: Paperback
(178mm x 111mm x 40mm)
Pages: 912
Imprint: Arrow Books Ltd
Publisher: Cornerstone
Publish Date: 13-Jan-2001
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Book Reviews - The Forest by Edward Rutherfurd

UK Kirkus Review » Salisbury, subject of Edward Rutherfurd's first novel Sarum and London his latest, lie either side of a unique piece of England known, since the days of William the Conqueror, as the New Forest, though it was far from new, even then. Forest in this context means not simply a dense area of trees, but a mixture of trees and heathland, and specifically the King's Hunting Ground. It was here that the King and his Court chased the fallow and roe deer for sport, and food... and woe betide anyone else who 'helped himself' to the rich venison (though plenty did). There were people living in the Forest too, recognized as having special privileges: country squires with large houses and commoners with tiny smallholdings and rights to graze their sheep and cattle, to collect wood for their fires, fodder and bedding for their animals, whose area of land from time to time mysteriously increased. (They simply moved their fences in the middle of the night.) The New Forest lies a few miles north of the English Channel with its advantages and dangers: proximity to continental trade (licit and illicit) fishing, boat building - often with wood from the Forest's great oaks, and contiguity with French Normandy - and through the Channel threatened with invasion (Spanish Armada, Napoleon's troops) - later gentrified and sophisticated by the gradual spread from London of the Haut Ton seeking country homes; religiously and academically enhanced by great Cistercian abbeys. But always the Forest retained its own character: a state within the state, it always had its own rules, inflexible laws, even its own court and rough justice. And down the centuries the families who lived there remained there, their names recurring in the Parish registers. It is these families who give Rutherfurd the framework for his novel, the continuity that binds it. The deer remain, too, distant descendants of those hunted by Kings as remote as the Celts and Saxons - and the sturdy half-wild ponies. (And, it's said, witchcraft still flourishes.) The biggest threat in the 21st century comes from tourism: too many people, far too much traffic, pollution, litter. This is history with a human face, something for which Edward Rutherfurd has an especial and enthusiastic talent. A long book, but consistently engaging. (Kirkus UK)


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Author Biography - Edward Rutherfurd

Edward Rutherfurd was born in Salisbury, Wiltshire, and educated at Cambridge University and Stanford University in California. His first book, Sarum was based on the history of Salisbury. London, Russka and The Forest, all draw on finely researched details of social history. Edward Rutherford previously lived in London and New York City but has had a home in Dublin for more than twelve years. He has two children. Edward Rutherfurd is available for interview.

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