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Sherwood [Hardcover]

Parke Godwin
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: William Morrow & Co (Aug 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688052649
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688052645
  • Product Dimensions: 23.9 x 15.7 x 4.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,904,472 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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A first installment of an epic series based on Robin Hood mythology finds sixteen-year-old Edward Aelredson, a lesser Saxon landowner, witnessing the conquest of his Anglo-Saxon England by William of Normandy in 1066, an event after which he transforms into an artful outlaw. Reprint. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Real Robin Hood? 20 Nov 2008
This book was published in 1991, a time when you wouldn't really expect a serious writer to look afresh at such an overworked subject, but after only a few pages it becomes clear that this really is a fresh look. It has a completely different tone to the men-in-tights adventures made familiar by Hollywood. It is more gritty, more realistic, more human, and you could almost swear Godwin must have been there back in 11th century Nottinghamshire to tell the tale as he does. He is inside the minds of the characters, living their lives, speaking their thoughts and words with a detail that, coupled with his knowledge of history, conjures reality. His picture of the grimness and closeness-to-nature of medieval English peasant life is vivid. The familiar characters are there - Marian, Little John, Will, Friar Tuck, the Sheriff - but not quite as they have been portrayed before. Kings John and Richard are absent, as Godwin breaks with tradition in setting the story at the time of the Norman Conquest instead of the Crusades. Robin is depicted as a Saxon farmer and minor noble, driven to oppose the Norman invaders in the face of increasing oppression. The tale is spun well, and is an absorbing read. Godwin says in the epilogue that the story of Robin Hood is not factual history, but a legend likely based on the exploits of a real man, or perhaps several men, who defied unjust laws and opposed the abuse of power. As it is not even clear which century he lived in, this gives Godwin poetic licence as to when the tale is set. Godwin's story is, after all, fiction, and his placing the tale in the 11th century works well, probably because he is such a good writer that the story and characters are believable. Indeed, by the time you get to the end of it you are quite prepared to believe that these characters really lived and this is actually how their story played out.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
SHERWOOD Parke Godwin 1991 1st edition Hardcover

Despite being instantly recognised in the US as the author and illustrator of many juvenile books, Parke Godwin remains almost totally unknown in the UK and his two novels about the legendary English hero Robin Hood seldom appear in genre reading lists and are almost totally unobtainable through libraries and bookshops.

Sherwood was published in 1991 and brought a new perspective to the traditional Robin Hood image and genre. For a start the story is set not during the crusades but in the years following the Norman conquest of England and the central character of Edward Aelredson, nick named puck-Robin is depicted as a minor Saxon thane who comes into conflict with his new Norman over lords and charts his conflicts, reconciliations and friendships with his new King William I, the sheriff of the shire and his Norman neighbours. The tale is told with a gritty realism that does not exclude the violence and cruelty of the era and although Mr. Godwin has worked many of the traditional characters into the story they have been transformed into lifelike and realistic people of the 11th century.

The book is absorbing and well written and any reader of historical medieval fiction should make an effort to seek out copies of both SHERWOOD and the sequel novel ROBIN AND THE KING which continues the saga into the reign of William Rufus.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  18 reviews
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Meet the REAL Robin Hood! 14 Sep 1999
By R. Isaacson - Published on Amazon.com
Parke Godwin is one of our finest writers of historical fiction, and "Sherwood" is one of the two books which firmly cements that reputation (the other being the masterful "Firelord"). This retelling of the Robin Hood legend is a smashing success on virtually every level.
Forget Errol Flynn, green tights, and "Good" King Richard. Godwin, with his characteristically thorough knowledge of historical setting, places his story at the advent of the Norman Conquest, almost a hundred years earlier. The wealth of historical detail provides both form and distinctive flavor to the tale; from the contents of a wayfarer's wallet to Saxon battle tactics, you are there! This works to great effect, and raises both the situational and emotional stakes of the book tremendously; indeed, William the Conqueror and Queen Matilda are characters of considerable importance, and by the end the reader will know them as well as any of the heroes. Godwin's Robin is no laughing adventurer; he is a pragmatic man who believes in simple justice, who is driven to become a hero by his need to protect his people and his refusal to accept laws and edicts "that ent right". Marian, far from a fluttering noblewoman, is strong, competent, loyal, and brave. The words 'loyal' and 'brave' also apply to Robin's nemesis Ralf Fitz-Gerald, the Sheriff of Nottingham, and this is one of the book's most fascinating (and satisfying!) aspects. We watch Ralf's story unfold right along with Robin's, and I found myself developing a real sympathy with this good man who does bad things. Not wishing to spoil the story, I will say no more about plot or characters, except to mention that Godwin's slightly unorthodox takes on other familiar names - Little John, Will Scarlet, Much, Friar Tuck, Alan-a-Dale - are no less riveting than his principals.
This is a perfect blend of historical accuracy and high adventure. Godwin's characters are real people, caught up in extraordinary circumstances and set on paths they never dreamed of. Along the way, there's courage, betrayal, blood, pain, romance, and glory. Read this book, and savor it. The Robin Hood legend might have really started this way; and if it didn't, it should have!
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars an interesting twist on the Robin Hood legend 3 Jan 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
This version of Robin Hood is set at the time of the Norman Conquest rather than in the time of King Richard the Lion-hearted. The Sheriff of Nottingham is transformed into a Norman knight fighting for his own place in the world. The characters are well-drawn and memorable. I enjoyed the domestic portraits of William the Conqueror and his queen Matilda very much. Marian is no longer a ward of the king but a homeless refugee. Another strong female character, Judith was added. She is Robin Hood's cousin and speaks French and was educated on the Continent. Overall, I can recommend this book if you'd like to read another book about Robin Hood
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful new angle on the old story of Robin Hood. 6 Jan 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Though it has not the same historical facts that most associate with the tale of Robin Hood it certainly captures your breath just the same. Very detailed descriptions create every seen in full,from the dark,dank dungen of hough to the peaceful pleasantry of Denby. The storyline keeps you at the edge of your seat with it's unexpected twists and turns. The book is a wonderful new angle on the old story of Robin Hood and a must read!!!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly pedestrian effort considering earlier books. 8 Jun 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
This tale of Robin Hood, set in the immediate aftermath of the Norman Conquest (not the usual Robin Hoodian venue), is altogether slow and uninspiring -- quite a "come down" for the author of the Arthurian retelling: "Firelord". In Firelord, Godwin demonstrated a real knack w/prose and a marked ability to tell a quick & convincing historical tale (set in legendary times) in a believable, yet contemporary-sounding, voice. Not so here. This Robin Hood character plods along, never leaping into life and burdened by the paces he must go through to advance a thumpingly dull plot. None of the characters, in fact, have much life and so there's not much to tell about them here -- so I won't bother. Suffice it to say that Robin and his companions had more fun in King Richard's time. Just ask Scott's Ivanhoe. -- Stuart W. Mirsky (mirsky@ix.netcom.com
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's the voice 8 Oct 2009
By D. DeFrank - Published on Amazon.com
The voice of Godwin's Robin rings in my head as human, compelling and true, without any of the prithees or other twitches that make me feel I've stumbled into a tacky, polyester renaissance faire. The setting in the Norman conquest seems right, and the human interactions authentic. This is one of my all-time, chills up-the-spine stay-up-all-night favorite reads, and I've been around a loooooooong time. Lest I sound like some crazed fan, this is the only Godwin novel I really like; the sequel and his other works don't engage me the way Sherwood did.
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