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The Bone Forest [Hardcover]

Robert Holdstock
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Grafton (7 Mar 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0246138335
  • ISBN-13: 978-0246138330
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 15.8 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,778,285 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Synopsis

A companion work to "Mythago Wood" and "Lavondyss". This book is a collection of stories including the novella "The Bone Forest", which precedes events in "Mythago Wood". It explores the idea of a patch of primal English woodland in which figures of myth take solid form.

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
The Bone Forest is a collection of eight short stories by Robert Holdstock, the first and eponymous one of which is a Mythago Wood narrative from the point of view of George Huxley, about how he came to involve his sons Steven and Christian.

The six next (Thorn, The Shapechanger, The Boy Who Jumped the Rapids, Time of the Tree, Magic Man, and Scarrowfell), although not sharing the same settings, are very similar in style and atmosphere.

The last one (The Time Beyond Age) tells of a scientific experiment where two children are artificially grown old in a disease-proof environment.

As a whole, I like the way Robert Holdstock builds enchanting worlds for us to explore, but I'm always disappointed by the abrupt, sometimes far-fetched endings.
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5.0 out of 5 stars As remembered 23 Jan 2013
By Janey
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I read this book ages ago but had lent it out and never had it back, so this was a replacement. Wonderful book, wonderful writer - I can lose myself in this.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Bone Forest 12 July 2010
Format:Paperback
Interesting prequel novella to the story Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstock which visits a previous era of Ryhope Wood. Both of Huxley's sons, Steven and Christopher are still boys and Huxley is still engrossed in the wood. The story follows how he and his fellow explorer Wynne-Jones are continuing with their research into the way the wood works.
The rest of this book is made up of 7 short stories which reach into the world of myths and legends, some real and some quite fantastical but no less real. A very comparable book to the great Lord of the Rings Trilogy.
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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Myths and legends 26 Sep 2002
By Glen Engel Cox - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Very good collection, mostly fantasy, yet treading the dark edge of horror, rather than adventure or whimsey. Mostly worth it for the title novella and "Thorn," but no outright clunkers. In detail:
* "The Bone Forest"--This is a prequel novella to Holdstock's Mythago Wood and Lavondyss, I believe. It stands alone fine. This reminded me of Jonathan Carroll--what his writing would be like if he allowed himself to lose himself within the fantasy rather than playing on the dividing line between fantasy and "reality" (I read recently that Nabokov recommends always enclosing the word "reality" in quote marks). The mythago idea is a powerful one, and provides plenty of material that Holdstock could work through for years. Yet, he seems to shy away from the epic, instead concentrating on individual stories--mano a mano with the wood. I have to admit that I think that I admire him for that.
* "Thorn"--Another powerful story, this time about a man led into a belief then believed betrayed. And, yet, was he? There's a sense of both here. That what the man was being led to was right; that what was being done to him was wrong. But was it wrong, or just different? It reminds me of some of the cultural anthropology that I've been reading recently--what is one group's delicacy is another's abomination. What is moral in one group is highly irregular, if not immoral, in another. Excellent story to bring that out.
* "The Shapechanger"--Nice, yet not as good as the others. First, the good things. Excellent use of pagan magic and relationship between the old shaman and young, inexperienced and somewhat reluctant apprentice. Sense of danger high and yet not silly. But then, as we learn more of the daemon--the child haunting the past from the future--the idea goes downhill. Not necessarily Holdstock's fault; battered children are, unfortunately, an overused element in today's fantasy and horror fiction. While this might have been fresh at the time it was written, it appears old hat to us now. Still, the writing and pacing are excellent, and worth reading.
* "The Boy Who Jumped the Rapids"--Didn't like this one so much...I think because it didn't seem to complete itself. The elements are all there and fine--conflict, action, meaning--yet it seemed less cohesive than it should. The central mystery, the horned stranger, is resolved, but the secondary mystery, Caylon's ability to ford the river, seems like it is resolved yet again doesn't. Maybe it's the interplay of the two, and trying to figure out what one theme does to the other.
* "Time of the Tree"--Very Borgesian. What it means, I don't know, but the style, the description, are interesting. The world on man? The Earth as man? Strange--also reminiscent of Garcia Marquez' story about the beached giant.
* "Magic Man"--Well done pre-history story. I tend not to like Clan of the Cave Bear stories, so it had to get over that bias of mine. Good description, good conflict, and nice twist at the end.
* "Scarrowfell"--Like "Thorn," a pagan fantasy/horror, playing with the modern reader's normal Christian assumptions, then removing the veil to show the true meaning. Much of Holdstock's work dabbles in the pagan--Mythago Wood makes a point that what we perceive as history is just the last link in a long chain of myths. It certainly differentiates his fantasies from those of others.
* "The Time Beyond Age"--This is science fiction; the rest of the book has been fantasy. Yet there's a similarity here with the fantasy. Again, the focus is on obsession and the need to study something and understand it (as with the title novella), but the very act of studying drives the observer into contact with the phenomena and, ultimately, ruins any chances for objective advancement of knowledge. Basically, it's the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle made fictive.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great world building, but disappointing endings. 6 Dec 2006
By Stephanie Noverraz - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The Bone Forest is a collection of eight short stories by Robert Holdstock, the first and eponymous one of which is a Mythago Wood narrative from the point of view of George Huxley, about how he came to involve his sons Steven and Christian.

The six next (Thorn, The Shapechanger, The Boy Who Jumped the Rapids, Time of the Tree, Magic Man, and Scarrowfell), although not sharing the same settings, are very similar in style and atmosphere.

The last one (The Time Beyond Age) tells of a scientific experiment where two children are artificially grown old in a disease-proof environment.

As a whole, I like the way Robert Holdstock builds enchanting worlds for us to explore, but I'm always disappointed by the abrupt, sometimes far-fetched endings.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant but flawed 3 Dec 2000
By Brian Rutherford - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Why oh why is this book out of print? Shame on you publishers for denying the public the truly haunting 'Bone Forest' Story and the others which are all excellent. Go ahead and print all the other crap books by second-rate authors but this one is a classic of the genre.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Solid Mythago Wood Prequel and Five Brilliant Short Stories 31 Jan 2008
By Neil Dewitte - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book starts with a novella titled The Bone Forest, which is a prequel to Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn, which is itself a prequel to the award winning novel, Mythago Wood. The Bone Forest is essential reading for fans of Mythago Wood because it provides an intriguing and dark back story that elaborates on the character of George Huxley (whose research in Ryhope Wood casts a shadow over all the Mythago novels). The events in The Bone Forest underscore the dangerous nature of Mythagos that are generated from Ryhope Wood and cleverly introduce the possibility of a "double twist" in the subsequent novel Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn. Overall, The Bone Forest novella is a solid read if you have previously read Mythago Wood, otherwise it is a nice introduction to the key Mythago Wood characters.

Five of the seven short stories that follow the main novella are excellent. That leaves two that are not excellent. To me Time of the Tree and The Time Beyond Age are experimental in topic and/or form and fall short of being highly engaging stories. The other five stories are all wonderful and span a variety of highly evocative settings. In each of these stories powerful mythic forces play havoc with personal perceptions and individual decisions.

The short stories themselves do not take place in Mythago Wood, but share the same general mystique as the Ryhope wood cycle. It is very likely, but not certain, that the story The Boy who Jumped the Rapids takes place in Broceliande, the mythic forest in Brittany that is the setting for Merlin's Wood, one of the books in the Ryhope Wood cycle.

Overall this is a great selection of fantasy short stories coupled with a novella detailing a back story and character development that both tie in nicely with the Rhyhope wood cycle.
5.0 out of 5 stars A new classic 25 Nov 2007
By Lawrence M. Robinson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I took this book out of the library when it was first published years ago. Now every time I artwork similar to the cover art, i think back to this book. The bone forest story was so thought provoking, and different, that to this day i always give a bit more thought to strollin around alone in a dark forest, or somewhere that i don't know my way. The book has great imagery, and is not very long. I recommend it highly, especially for a fantasy lover teen like I was.
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