The Forest

Edward Rutherfurd, Author
Edward Rutherfurd, Author Crown Publishers $26.95 (624p) ISBN 978-0-609-60382-6
Prebound-Glued - 764 pages - 978-1-4176-9881-3
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-375-40960-8
Compact Disc - 978-0-375-41007-9
Hardcover - 1136 pages - 978-0-375-41037-6
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-375-41036-9
Paperback - 784 pages - 978-0-345-47936-5
Mass Market Paperbound - 784 pages - 978-0-345-44722-7
Mass Market Paperbound - 784 pages - 978-0-345-44178-2
Hardcover - 624 pages - 978-0-7126-7999-2
Open Ebook - 548 pages - 978-0-8041-5102-3
Open Ebook - 912 pages - 978-1-4090-3707-1
Paperback - 882 pages - 978-0-09-927907-5
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-299-62201-2
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Charting an entire millennium in his newest saga, Rutherfurd continues to pursue--in meandering prose and at tedious length--his fascination with nugatory events in English history, picking up loose threads from his sprawling bestselling novels London and Sarum. In this volume he expands his Chaucerian tapestry to include the chivalrous past of the storied New Forest bordering the south coast near the Isle of Wight. Beginning in 1099, the story is divided into seven uneven parts: ""The Hunt,"" ""Beaulieu,"" ""Lymington,"" ""The Armada Tree,"" ""Alice,"" ""Albion Park"" and ""Pride of the Forest."" Intermingling real and fictional characters, the narrative traces the lineage of several families, mostly unknown outside rarified circles of Anglophiliacs. A segment that opens with a romantic version of the death of Rufus, son of William the Conqueror, in which he is shot by a wayward hunting arrow from the bow of Walter Tyrrell, introduces a Druid-like presence in the character of Puckle, a gnarled old man who darkly personifies the Forest. The introduction of other characters is similarly quixotic. Following a droll chapter on the ill-fated Spanish Armada, the next segment dramatizes the beheading of Alice Lisle for her role in the 1685 Monmouth uprising, and there is a mention of Leonard Hoar, an infamous early president of Harvard. Though the geographic landscape is rich, Rutherfurd rarely generates enough focus and excitement to sustain interest in the mundane anecdotes he strings together, and longwinded passages of exposition and description overwhelm his ambitious narrative. $300,000 ad/promo. (Apr.)
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