Sheriff Of Nottingham Hardcover – Jan 17 1992
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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.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
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.
1208 England has sheriffs in the towns to keep peace. love era, the costumes, legends,
things people stood up for, castles, taming of the big birds
Never realized how much religion and how much politics played a huge part of all this.
I rate this a 4, because it was very long and took me forever to finish it. Really liked the era and all that entails, quite a tale.