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Sherwood Paperback – August, 1995


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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Avon Books (Mm) (August 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380709953
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380709953
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.3 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #727,089 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Godwin sets his highly satisfying retelling of the Robin Hood legend in the time of William the Conqueror, when the bastard of Normandy was pacifying his unruly new country. After the Saxon thane of Denby is killed at York, his son Edward Aelredson, nicknamed Robin, succeeds to the land, located next to Sherwood Forest. The young thane is outraged by the blinding of one of his men in retaliation for poaching King William's deer; when his attempt to reason with the sheriff of Nottingham turns to violence, Robin is outlawed. Before fleeing, Robin marries his love, Marian Elfrics, who is then sent to serve William's queen. Robin and four followers--Welsh woodsman Will Scatloch, blacksmith John Littlerede and Father Beorn and his sexton Tuck--commence the exploits that make them famous and give heart to the downtrodden Saxons. Denby is given to the sheriff, who falls in love with Marian and begins to develop a grudging respect for Robin. An attempt to enlist the two men in a treasonous plot draws them together unwillingly but fatefully. Godwin ( Waiting for the Galactic Bus ) depicts these epochal times vividly and colorfully, with carefully etched characterizations of Normans and Saxons. A sequel is planned.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

In his telling of the Robin Hood legend, Godwin offers a fresh, intriguing version set 100 years earlier than usual, in the time of William the Conqueror. After the uprising against William is put down and his father is killed, Robin goes home to inherit his father's land and title. En route, he encounters Marian, who has lost her home and family. Robin finds carrying out the king's edicts intolerable and flees to Sherwood. Robin's men are outlaws, robbing the rich to give to the poor, but possess no special powers except their knowledge of the forest and skill with the bow. Opposing them initially is the Sheriff of Nottingham, here Ralf FitzGerald, a Norman knight depicted sympathetically. Godwin's tapestry interweaves the church, paganism, romance, treachery, violence, and everyday life. The result is believable and enjoyable with well-drawn characterizations. Readers of Godwin's earlier novels can look forward to his view of Sherwood and its sequel. Recommended, especially in light of this summer's film, Robin Hood .
- Ellen Kaye Stoppel, Drake Univ. Law Lib., Des Moines
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Read this book, and savor it.
R. Isaacson
I'd argue that it's one of the best re-tellings of the Robin Hood tale (the other being The Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinley).
Esther Schindler
The best stories often result when an author is capable of writing characters with nuance and complexity.
L.B.D.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By R. Isaacson on September 14, 1999
Format: Paperback
Parke Godwin is one of our finest writers of historical fiction, and "Sherwood" is one of the two books which firmly cements that reputation (the other being the masterful "Firelord"). This retelling of the Robin Hood legend is a smashing success on virtually every level.
Forget Errol Flynn, green tights, and "Good" King Richard. Godwin, with his characteristically thorough knowledge of historical setting, places his story at the advent of the Norman Conquest, almost a hundred years earlier. The wealth of historical detail provides both form and distinctive flavor to the tale; from the contents of a wayfarer's wallet to Saxon battle tactics, you are there! This works to great effect, and raises both the situational and emotional stakes of the book tremendously; indeed, William the Conqueror and Queen Matilda are characters of considerable importance, and by the end the reader will know them as well as any of the heroes. Godwin's Robin is no laughing adventurer; he is a pragmatic man who believes in simple justice, who is driven to become a hero by his need to protect his people and his refusal to accept laws and edicts "that ent right". Marian, far from a fluttering noblewoman, is strong, competent, loyal, and brave. The words 'loyal' and 'brave' also apply to Robin's nemesis Ralf Fitz-Gerald, the Sheriff of Nottingham, and this is one of the book's most fascinating (and satisfying!) aspects. We watch Ralf's story unfold right along with Robin's, and I found myself developing a real sympathy with this good man who does bad things.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 3, 1997
Format: Paperback
This version of Robin Hood is set at the time of the Norman Conquest rather than in the time of King Richard the Lion-hearted. The Sheriff of Nottingham is transformed into a Norman knight fighting for his own place in the world. The characters are well-drawn and memorable. I enjoyed the domestic portraits of William the Conqueror and his queen Matilda very much. Marian is no longer a ward of the king but a homeless refugee. Another strong female character, Judith was added. She is Robin Hood's cousin and speaks French and was educated on the Continent. Overall, I can recommend this book if you'd like to read another book about Robin Hood
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 6, 1999
Format: Paperback
Though it has not the same historical facts that most associate with the tale of Robin Hood it certainly captures your breath just the same. Very detailed descriptions create every seen in full,from the dark,dank dungen of hough to the peaceful pleasantry of Denby. The storyline keeps you at the edge of your seat with it's unexpected twists and turns. The book is a wonderful new angle on the old story of Robin Hood and a must read!!!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Esther Schindler TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 1, 2008
Format: Paperback
Parke Godwin's Sherwood is among the stack of books that I've owned seemingly forever, and I re-read every few years just for the joy of it. I'd argue that it's one of the best re-tellings of the Robin Hood tale (the other being The Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinley).

First, Godwin sets Robin Hood not during the usual "King Richard the Lionhearted" era but in a more interesting time: the Norman conquest and the years immediately following. Certainly, there's more inherent cultural friction between Saxons (including Robin, who's a thane of a small village), Normans (including the sheriff of Nottingham, Ralf), Danes and the occasional Welsh slave.

Second, Parke Godwin's books all have wonderful characterization, and he chooses to tell stories from non-obvious viewpoints (such as that of Guinevierre, after Arthur's death). In this one, the viewpoint characters shift around a bit, but the main stories are told by Robin (who discovers the concepts of justice and law), and sheriff Ralf (who has his own path to follow, from war to peacetime). Darnit, it *works.* Everyone makes reasonable and sensible decisions, even when they are (literally) at each other's throats. The love story is sweet but not cloying. Marian is no shrinking vine whose main role is to be prize on a pedestal; she's a strong woman (and marries Robin). (Maybe that's one of the reasons I like both this book and McKinley's.) And there's even an appealing cat.

It's told with humor, warmth, and the underlying assumption that everyone is doing the best he can with the information he has available at the time. Even the villains.

This is simply a great novel. Pick up a copy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 8, 1997
Format: Hardcover
This tale of Robin Hood, set in the immediate aftermath of the Norman Conquest (not the usual Robin Hoodian venue), is altogether slow and uninspiring -- quite a "come down" for the author of the Arthurian retelling: "Firelord". In Firelord, Godwin demonstrated a real knack w/prose and a marked ability to tell a quick & convincing historical tale (set in legendary times) in a believable, yet contemporary-sounding, voice. Not so here. This Robin Hood character plods along, never leaping into life and burdened by the paces he must go through to advance a thumpingly dull plot. None of the characters, in fact, have much life and so there's not much to tell about them here -- so I won't bother. Suffice it to say that Robin and his companions had more fun in King Richard's time. Just ask Scott's Ivanhoe. -- Stuart W. Mirsky (mirsky@ix.netcom.com
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