The Forest

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9780609603826: The Forest

In The Forest, Edward Rutherfurd, whose greatly admired Sarum and London have captivated millions of readers, now unfolds the saga of nine turbulent centuries in the life of the quintessential English heartland: the New Forest.

The New Forest lies in a vast bowl scooped from England's southern coast. To its west runs the river Avon, from Sarum to the harbor at Christchurch, and to its east the port of Southampton. In the heart of the New Forest itself, some one hundred thousand acres of forest and heath sweep down to the Solent water and the Isle of Wight and overlook the English Channel just beyond.

From the time of the Norman Conquest to the present day, the New Forest has remained a mysterious, powerful, almost mythical place. It is here that Saxon and Norman kings rode forth with their hunting parties, and where William the Conqueror's son Rufus was mysteriously killed. The mighty oaks of the forest were used to build the ships for Admiral Nelson's navy, and the fishermen who lived in Christchurch and Lymington helped Sir Francis Drake fight off the Spanish Armada. The New Forest is the perfect backdrop for the families who people this epic story -- a story that makes clear the connections between the dark, dangerous, sensuous life of the primeval forest and the genteel life of Georgian and Regency society.

There are well-born ladies and lowly woodsmen, sailors and smugglers, witches and Cistercian monks, who live in the lovely abbey of Beaulieu. The Forest's Lady Adela is the cousin of Walter Tyrrell, who is blamed for the death of Rufus, son of the Conqueror. There is Brother Adam of Beaulieu, who is content with his service to God until a poaching incident puts him in contact with an intriguing young woman named Mary Furzey. There is the merchant Totton family of the harbor town of Lymington, and the Penruddocks and Lisles of Moyles Court. The feuds, wars, loyalties, and passions of many hundreds of years reach their climax in a crime that shatters the decorous society of Bath in the days of Jane Austen.

Edward Rutherfurd is a master storyteller whose sense of place and of character -- whether fictional or historical -- is at its most vibrant in The Forest. Like Sarum and London, it is a gripping novel of living history.

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Review:

With such novels as Sarum and Russka, Edward Rutherfurd has laid claim to James Michener's longtime turf: the immensely researched, meticulously detailed epic of place, in which the characters tend to play second fiddle to the setting. The Forest is the most ambitious example yet of Rutherfurd's art. This time the location is that bosky patch of English real estate known as the New Forest. Other writers have tackled the area before. But The Forest is surely the definitive chronicle, with all the local stories, legends, and apocrypha woven into an irresistible narrative--think of Thomas Hardy's power and drama filtered through a very modern sensibility.

Opening with the assassination of King William II in 1099, the book covers nearly a millennium's worth of history. Rutherfurd creates generation after generation of adroitly realized characters, the best of whom defy our generic expectations: the canny Brother Adam, for example, is that rarest of literary creatures, a virtuous man who doesn't end up being simply bland and anodyne. Rutherfurd may be at his best when dealing with big-canvas events like the bloody Monmouth Rebellion of 1685. But he's no slouch at detailing more microcosmic conflicts, like this head-butting contest between two buck deer:

Her buck had hit firmer ground and his feet suddenly got a purchase on the grass. His hindquarters shivering, he dug in. She saw the shoulders rise and his neck bear down. And now the interloper was slipping on the wet leaves. Slowly, cautiously, their antlers locked, the two straining bucks began to turn. Now they were both on grass. Suddenly the interloper disengaged. He gave his head a twist. The jagged spike was aiming at the buck's eye.
Bestial behavior? Perhaps. Yet the level of human folly and brutality scattered throughout The Forest makes the foregoing passage resemble an outtake from Bambi--and gives this sylvan saga a very memorable edge. --Barry Forshaw

From the Back Cover:

“Not all good things come in small packages. If you like books that are big, Edward Rutherfurd is your man. He writes wonderful sagas, tales that cover centuries, always keeping these long stories lively by telling us about the events and conflicts of people’s lives. Rutherfurd does the painstaking research; the reader has all the fun.”
–Seattle Times

“Many of the most memorable characters are women–Adela the Norman, bold in the face of injustice; her descendant Alice Albion, almost brave enough to defeat the hatred of the civil war; tough old Adelaide, so loyal to ancient grievances that she can’t let her sweet niece Fanny take hold of love.”
–Kansas City Star

“The novel covers 10 centuries, tracking a half-dozen or so families and their fates, their fortunes, and intrigues moving the stories along. But the trees have tales to tell, too. As fiction, it works like a charm. . . . English majors will love this, and so will almost anyone else who starts page 1 and follows Puckle, Godwin Pride, Cola the Huntsman and their descendents along Rutherfurd’s twisting road.”
–New York Daily News

"Sobre este título" puede pertenecer a otra edición de este libro.

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