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Sheriff Of Nottingham [Hardcover]

Richard Kluger
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Jan. 17 1992
A revisionist version of the Robin Hood legend portrays Philip Mark, a poor Frenchman commissioned as Sheriff of Nottingham, who is caught between his high ideals and the tyrannical whims of King John. A first novel. 20,000 first printing. $15,000 ad/promo.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Kluger inverts the Robin Hood legend in this earthy, richly textured revisionist tale to focus instead on the customary villain. A National Book Award finalist for his nonfiction ( The Paper ; Simple Justice ), Kluger casts as the Sheriff of Nottingham one Philip Mark, an actual French soldier of fortune appointed sheriff by King John early in the 13th century, when the Robin Hood legend may have taken hold. No villain, this sheriff is an ambivalent figure, torn between duty and conscience and intent on rooting out pervasive corruption in the realm. Guided by a wife who cheats on him, idealistic Philip faces a gentry seething with resentment and a brutal monarch who orders him to commit monstrous deeds. To save his skin, Philip strikes a deal with Robin Hood (aka Stuckey Woodfinch), depicted here as Nottingham Castle's brazen royal woodsman and a staunch foe of the king's oppressive laws. Though his prose is sometimes a bit stiff, Kluger weaves a magnificent medieval tapestry of near-Chaucerian zest and complexity.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Kluger's revisionist novel portrays the infamous Sheriff of Nottingham of Robin Hood fame as a scrupulously upright man fighting to retain his integrity in a vicious world, and his loyalty to a king whose cruelty and capricious temperament are legendary. Employing a wealth of historical detail that informs and intrigues without overwhelming, the author brings to life a wide variety of complex characters; readers will react with moral ambivalence and sympathy to even the worst of them. Kluger's novel is a detailed, evocative portrait of the age of corruption and conflicting loyalties that produced the Magna Carta. Highly recommended.
- Cynthia Johnson Whealler, Cary Memorial Lib., Lexington, Mass.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

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4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Altered Legend Feb. 1 2002
Format:Paperback
This was a wonderful work, a blending of fiction and reality. Historical facts were like steps used to climb deeper into the storyline. It was nearly impossible to discern what was fact, as it was so interwoven with the fabrications. But there was more, the story was absolutely captivating. The characters were vibrant and alive. The Sheriff himself was remarkable in both his pride and devotion to his beliefs and to the crown. When the inevitable conclusion to the story came and the Sheriff dies, I was brought to tears, reminding me of my own mortality.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Sheriff of Nottingham Jan. 31 2002
Format:Paperback
This was a wonderful work, a blending of fiction and reality. Historical facts were like steps used to climb deeper into the storyline. It was nearly impossible to discern what was fact, as it was so interwoven with the fabrications. But there was more, the story was absolutely captivating. The characters were vibrant and alive. The Sheriff himself was remarkable in both his pride and devotion to his beliefs and to the crown. When the inevitable conclusion to the story came and the Sheriff dies, I was brought to tears, reminding me of my own mortality.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A masterful blend of history and fiction Dec 8 1999
Format:Paperback
Kluger does an excellent job depicting the life of actual sheriff of Nottingham Philip Mark. The author took known incidents and worked them into the framework of his story expertly.
I was interested in the narrative for every page, a rare occurence in a nearly 500 page novel. I've been entertained and learned about early 13th century England. Keep a dictionary handy. Kluger uses obscure words.
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5.0 out of 5 stars decidedly NOT a Robin Hood novel Nov. 27 1999
Format:Paperback
Richly textured, deliciously word-profuse, this novel is the perfect antidote to the depressing suspicion that sometimes descends on readers of historical fiction: that not much good stuff is still being written. This is a fantastic, powerful and graceful book, with scenes and characters so stark and beautifully drawn that they'll stick with you long after you've forgotten the specifics of the plot. All of which sounds easy, I know, I know - but if you knew how much stuff I hate, you'd be reaching for your credit card even as we speak! I hugely recommend this book as an example of the very best that historical fiction can be.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars decidedly NOT a Robin Hood novel Nov. 26 1999
By Steve Donoghue - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Richly textured, deliciously word-profuse, this novel is the perfect antidote to the depressing suspicion that sometimes descends on readers of historical fiction: that not much good stuff is still being written. This is a fantastic, powerful and graceful book, with scenes and characters so stark and beautifully drawn that they'll stick with you long after you've forgotten the specifics of the plot. All of which sounds easy, I know, I know - but if you knew how much stuff I hate, you'd be reaching for your credit card even as we speak! I hugely recommend this book as an example of the very best that historical fiction can be.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good history, poor novel Sept. 7 2004
By Aaron Lipka - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
As other readers have mentioned, Kluger has done a fine job revisiting a challenging historical era. He draws from all social levels to bring Nottingham and Thirteenth Century England to life. If you enjoy reading about this time period, you will appreciate this novel.

However, the plot itself never really finds its balance. The Sheriff himself is a fine role model, but lacks character growth and development; although the reader might cheer for him as a pillar of moral fortitude in a tumultuous time, there is no success or finale for him to achieve by the end. If anything, his success is that he kept himself alive and in office for so long against such odds. This is very rewarding in a real-life sense, but in the novel it gives a feel of aimlessness. Therefore the book takes on an episodic style. Various problems occur, the sheriff is offered the low road, chooses the high road, and moves to the next dilemma. It is hard to push through and see what happens next, and the reader will never be quite satisfied with how it turns out. Bottom line: Sherriff of Nottingham provides a sweeping picture of the England of Magna Carta, but fails to find a central character worth enjoying when placed on the scene.
3.0 out of 5 stars Sheriff of Nottingham Sept. 9 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I can't fault the author's research here. If you wanted to know about medieval tax collection, here's your chance. If you wanted to know about chivalric culture, troubadours, or some other aspects of the time, you won't be in as much luck. But overall the research is very strong. My one quibble was about the presentation of contemporary Welsh culture as more or less Stone-Age; a considerable overstatement.
And the book presents an interesting character study, a man of extreme uprightness and honesty, who never changes no matter what temptations or ill fortune come his way.
Now, the problems I found with the book. Heavy-duty expositon; almost no action (though when the author deigns to give us some, it's good); and most of all, no crisis. Although moments, such as the hanging of the Welsh hostages, are effective, the sheriff is never really put to the test. I kept waiting for everything to go smash and it never did; the book ends with a whimper. As a story, I'm not sure it entirely works.
5.0 out of 5 stars Sheriff of Nottingham Jan. 31 2002
By Ron Beaudoin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This was a wonderful work, a blending of fiction and reality. Historical facts were like steps used to climb deeper into the storyline. It was nearly impossible to discern what was fact, as it was so interwoven with the fabrications. But there was more, the story was absolutely captivating. The characters were vibrant and alive. The Sheriff himself was remarkable in both his pride and devotion to his beliefs and to the crown. When the inevitable conclusion to the story came and the Sheriff dies, I was brought to tears, reminding me of my own mortality.
4.0 out of 5 stars A masterful blend of history and fiction Dec 8 1999
By Michael Scott - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Kluger does an excellent job depicting the life of actual sheriff of Nottingham Philip Mark. The author took known incidents and worked them into the framework of his story expertly.
I was interested in the narrative for every page, a rare occurence in a nearly 500 page novel. I've been entertained and learned about early 13th century England. Keep a dictionary handy. Kluger uses obscure words.
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