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King of the Wood Paperback – April, 1986


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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Tom Doherty Assoc Llc; Reprint edition (April 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812552067
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812552065
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.9 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,728,139 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

John Maddox Roberts has written numerous works of science fiction and fantasy, in addition to his successful historical SPQR mystery series. He lives in New Mexico with his wife.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 14, 2005
Format: Paperback
Hring Kristjanson, son of a the thegn of Long Isle, has been cast out of his religion (Christianity) and his nation (Treeland) for the crime of killing his half-brother (which he did, somewhat accidently, when filled with blood-lust during training). The book is something of an epic fictional biography of a man and his actions in North America, starting in 1485 when he is exiled, and ending with his death (wherever, whenever, or however that might be, I won't reveal).

Roberts has created an alternate world which breaks from our own time-line in 995 AD. In 995 AD, some pagan Norsemen, refusing to be converted to Christianity, set sail and eventually arrive on what would later be named North America in our time-line. They establish a country of their own (which they call Treeland), stretching, mostly along the coast, from our Maine to our Virginia. Later pagans follow (including some fleeing Ireland). Then in 1066 AD, William the Conqueror invades and captures England. Instead of buckling under to his rule, the Christian Saxons flee to America and Treeland. After living together for less than roughly 100 years, the pagan south and the Christian north split into two separate countries, with the Potomac as the boundary (the Pagans take the name of Thorsheim and the Christians retain the name of Treeland). About five years after the split, a new settlement and kingdom is created in our Florida by Muslim Spain (not fleeing Muslims, but colonizing Muslims from Muslim Spain). Meanwhile, the Aztec Empire continues to be very powerful and mighty, maybe the most powerful empire in the North America of 1485.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dominatr37 on November 8, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
King of the Wood is a story about a warrior who is banned from his tribe of Norseman living in America for killing his half brother. He begins an arduous journey across the land, first meeting and becoming linked to a witch/priestess then eventually escaping from her and heading south. Along the way he has many high adventures including getting lost at sea, becoming part of the Aztec empire, journeying north from there where he becomes embroiled in Monguls and ends up conquering the aztecs, and stopping their horrendous ritual slaughters. The book is very interesting, though I was not a fan of the ending it was still a great read. I highly recommend it, though there are points of this book that become a bit too graphic in the storytelling. As much as I enjoyed this book, I enjoyed John Maddoc Roberts 'Conan' books a good deal more. But this should be read if you are a fan of this type of story, it is a very good book, enjoy,.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Xenobea on September 2, 2002
Format: Paperback
For King of the Wood, John Maddox Roberts creates an alternate history of a North America settled in the Dark Ages by pagan Norsemen, Christian Saxons, and Spanish Moors. After killing his half-brother, our hero, Hring Kristjanson, is exiled from Christian Treeland in the north. With his friend Halvdan the skald (bard) he crosses into pagan Thorsheim. Hring and his friend travel south to Muslim Bluemensgard as escort to the Lady Yngva, a high priestess to pagan gods, who has bewitched Hring with a mark on his brow.
The two friends join up with Yngva for a time, following her back to her home, where both play important parts in the pagan midsummer celebrations. Hring escapes with the Skraeling (Native American) slave girl Winter-Grass, and has many adventurers as a sailor in the Caribbean, a captive, and later a celebrated member of, the Azteca empire in Mexico, a member of Winter-Grass's Skraeling tribe, a furrier and trader among the Skraeling on the plains, eventually an ally of the Mongol empire, which is now on its way to conquer the American continent(s), before finally returning home.
With an admirable eye for detail, Roberts describes Hring's adventures, and paints a fairly believable/accurate image of Aztec, Norse, and Plains Indian society. This book would be wonderful for boys and men who are young, or young at heart, and want to read about the adventures and triumphs of a mighty warrior in the vein of Conan.
However, the characterization leads a little bit to be desired. The protagonist's feelings about human sacrifice are not difficult to sympathize with, and entirely clear. In this light, it would seem that Hring's behavior in two of the major events of his life (his marriage, and his death) go entirely contrary to the feelings he has been having for years.
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