Book Review: The Forest by Edward Rutherfurd

forestThe 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

The edition I had came in at just under 900 pages, and had been sitting on my shelf for a while, as I was avoiding my larger books in favour of the smaller, shorter stories to carry around in my handbag.

A few days off work meanwhile meant that I was able to finally attack this book! I dont know what I was expecting when I brought it and apart from the size, why I kept putting it off. However this is a story about the New Forest (with some of the characters BEING the forest – such as trees and animals), the families who live in and around the place, the effect that nature has on the people around, and the effect that politics and “history” has on the different needs that different people have for a large swathe of land.

So Rutherford has managed to reflect a large amount of the history of Britain in the small details of the “small” people, very few of them being memorable or important but nevertheless a novel way of taking the reader through nearly 1000 years of history


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