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The Forest

3.99  ·  Rating Details ·  5,905 Ratings  ·  274 Reviews
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Opening with the assassination of King William II in 1099, the book covers nearly a millennium's worth of history. Rutherfurd creates generation after generation of adroitly realized characters, the best of whom defy our generic expectations: the canny Brother Adam, for example, is that rarest of literary creature
Published 2008 by Arrow (first published January 1st 2000)
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(showing 1-30)
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Amalia Gavea
''Even the forest grows new oaks.''
When I see a book by Edward Rutherfurd, the effects are the same as when I see a creation by Ken Follett. I believe that most die-hard lovers of Historical Fiction have placed these two writers on a high pedestal. Rutherfurd's books aren't heavy on the romance element like Follett's and this is a significant plus for me. So, it was with great enthusiasm that I started reading The Forest and I was not disappointed.

But why did Rutherfurd choose to write about
Jun 05, 2008 Belinda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The format of this book is like all of Rutherford's others: historical fiction. This story takes place in a location that is very near Sarum (the subject of his int'l best selling breakout book), but its emphasis is much different: the focus is on how the forest in this area affects the people that live there and vice versa. You get wafts of the big events (e.g. Queen Elizabeth and her Golden Age, the Spanish inquisition) but everyday details concern how deers and oak trees mature. I love Ruther ...more
Elizabeth Reuter
Mar 16, 2012 Elizabeth Reuter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Forest stars England's New Forest over a thousand years of development. I read it back in 2005, and still remember much of the plot today; in other words, it's a story that stays in a reader's mind. Through everyday conflicts in his characters lives--fighting over a lover, family disputes, making enough money to feed yourself, living under corrupt leaders--Rutherfurd wrote culture and history with a human element. It's fascinating to think of the sheer number of people who have lived and die ...more
Jan 15, 2008 Ann rated it really liked it
Whereas London: The Novel focuses on, obviously, the city of London, The Forest focuses on the development of England as a whole over the centuries. Much of English history concerned the independent hamlets and regions that felt very little connection to the King and to London until the past few hundred years. It was fun to read about the small agrarian communities with their nearby abbeys and giant expanses of forest land. Many things influenced these small communities as England became a m ...more
Dec 13, 2009 Barbra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the second Rutherfurd book I have read and it was just wonderful. I learnt so much about the New Forest and its ways and the lives of the people who lived there. I love his books but because they are so huge they take me such a long time to read.

Back Cover Blurb:
Few places lie closer to the heart of the nation's heritage than the New Forest. The author weaves its history and legends into compelling fiction.
From the mysterious killing of King William Rufus, treachery and witchcraft, smugg
Deborah Pickstone
This is an exception to my usual reading but not in a good way. I have read a couple of his other books and swore to venture there no more. They should be just the sort of thing to appeal to me but they so very don't! As I came in to write this I noticed that he cites James A. Michener as an influence. Well. Says it all - he's one of the few others to reside on a mental list of 'never touch that author again.'

It had been a long time and there was the book so I thought I'd give him a second chanc
Jan 04, 2008 Natalie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my favorite of the ones about England. It spans a large area with a lot of folklore, witchcraft, and strong females.
It is rare when I read a book, that I wish for it to end for other reasons that I want to find out what happens to the characters I have come to know and like. This book, however, I just wished to end so I could get it over with and move on to something better.
The book is composed of several short stories taking place in and around the New Forrest, telling stories about the people living there and following various families as they evolve through the span of the novel (some 900 years).
This idea
Nov 12, 2012 Melissa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I discovered this gem at my local Half-Price Books. I had just finished The Princes of Ireland, one of his more recent books, and, even though I knew nothing about the area in which he was writing, it was hard not to fall in love with the characters. For once, Rutherford deviates from tales of the British upper crust to the forest folk: farmers, charcoal makers and even monks, and I found this to be far more interesting than the upper-government workings many of his books tend to take. If you're ...more
Aug 30, 2007 Ayla rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
History of the New Forest dating from 11th century to present day, told through the memorable people of the Forest: the Prides, Puckles, Cola the huntsman (Albion family), Furzeys, Tottons, the Seagulls. From medieval hunting forest and abbeys through time of the Armada and the civil war and Georgian and Victorian England up till present day. Lots of social, rural and some political history interwoven into the story of generations of these families.
Mar 04, 2015 Marcos rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
the amount of work and research to put together this history puzzle is impressive, like his previous books I've read... the subject didn't attract me as much as London or Ireland and is hard to keep track of who is who down the years... still it is an enjoyable enough tapestry that seems to capture the spirit of a place and how it came to be...
Oct 21, 2010 Pamela rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first sentence of this tome is a real stinker. Stopped me in my tracks. Still, I really liked “London” so I ploughed on. No happier by the end of the second paragraph, I flipped to the back to check on the page count. 883. Blimey. Had they let this go to print sans editor? Yet, I really did enjoy “London” so on I plodded.

Got through it all in the end. “The Forest” is a collection of stories, encompassing the 11th century to the dawn of the 21st, involving generations of families - peasant to
Sep 07, 2013 Rob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
...Since reading this novel for the first time back in 2001 I've read several thousand pages of other material by this author. Books like Russka (1991), Dublin: Foundation (2004) and New York (2009) impressed my but even after this reread, The Forest is a personal favorite of mine. It's not often you find a book that points out humanity's relationship to the environment and landscape in such vivid detail. This combination of ecology and history gives this novel something extra compared to Ruth ...more
Nov 14, 2016 Sam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For some reason I found this more engrossing and enjoyable than ‘London’ despite the fact it was written in much the same way, using family histories, quarrels and affairs as well as major historical events to portray life in the New Forest from its early days to the modern era. The book is divided up into various sections/periods where we follow the Prides, Furzeys and Puckles, Albions, Tottons and Seagulls as they live and breathe the Forest, its customs and traditions while trying to better t ...more
Cathi Penman
Apr 09, 2017 Cathi Penman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It was surprising to find a book covering 900 years and over 700 pages that could be so engrossing. I started reading this in hardback but arthritis made me give up as it was just to heavy, so I was pleased to be able to read it on Kindle. It is indeed well worth the read, he characters are well rounded and the things that change and those that remain the same over 900 years are remarkable and believable. Definitely a five star.
Dec 31, 2009 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Edward Rutherford really makes history come to life much as James Michner did. I had bought this book years ago after really enjoying his "Sarum" and "London" which were both excellent. I never got around to reading it because of its time committment (since I cannot put his books down after starting them) until taking a recent vacation . His books are all long but not tedious. They all span centuries of time in the specific locale but he includes maps and family trees to show how the different p ...more
Clif Hostetler
Mar 01, 2010 Clif Hostetler rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel
This novel is about a region in southern England known as New Forest and covers a 900 year span of time. The book is a series of short stories about people living in this part of England with the stories taking place at intervals about 200 years apart. The first story takes place in the year 1100 and the last one in 2000. The stories are connected by many common surnames that keep reappearing, the same geographic location and in some cases an amulet that is handed down from generation to generat ...more
Anna Engel
[3.25 stars]

"Forest" is classic Rutherfurd. It's a long and winding historical review of a region, which in this case is the Forest. I wasn't wowed by it, but the depth and breadth is amazing, as always. The characters aren't terribly compelling, partly/largely because there are so darn many of them. Also, because the story occurs in snippets, the characters don't have a chance to develop, so they're flat and usually fill the precise role Rutherfurd lays out for them. The merchant family always
Jacquie South
I really enjoyed this, especially after reading Rutherfurd's Dublin series, which, while good, was nowhere near as enjoyable as Sarum or London. The Forest is much more like Sarum, possibly due to its rural setting, and, perhaps because of this I found it once again focussed more on the characters and their relationships over the centuries, which I believe is Rutherfurd's magic. Not quite as strong as Sarum and London, but certainly interesting and enjoyable ... Rutherfurd is great at making sto ...more
Mar 06, 2012 AliceAnn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to AliceAnn by: Sue
I enjoyed this book. There were parts where I got bogged down, but on the whole I liked it. I have to agree about the weak ending; it's as if the author reached a word limit and just ended the story. Also something I discovered - the Large Print copy of the book, which is much easier on the eyes than the normal-sized print version, does not include the family geneology page. It made it confusing to figure out which people were related to others, although it felt like everybody in the Forest was ...more
Jan 17, 2008 Brenda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just love the way this author writes. He is descriptive, and he is able to make his characters so interesting, even though, essentially each is part of a short story. He really integrates the nuances of history into the stories of each character, so the historical context is almost a character itself. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical fiction.
Oct 01, 2009 Diane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Forest starts in England during the reign of William II, also known as Rufus. He sets aside the "New Forest" for hunting. We are introduced to the families who live in the forest and find their livelihood there. The story covers 9 centuries with stories about these families. (Norman, medieval, Elizabethan, and Tudor -- in England's New Forest and the city of Bath.)
May 12, 2009 Bettie☯ rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spring-2013
The Forest - Rutherfurd

hist fic
br eng> new forest
mad,evil (mediaeval)> Rufus, son of William the Conqueror, to the present day
ebook> nutty nuut> on the road again
spring 2013
tbr busting 2013

3* The Forest
4* The Princes of Ireland
4* The Rebels of Ireland
Dec 21, 2007 Anne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: England, history fans
England's New Forest, which runs from the River Avon in the west to the port of Southampton in the east along England's southern coast, is the real main character in this novel. Beginning in 1099 and continuing to the present, the novel traces families living in or near the forest and the effects of the forest on their lives. It's written in a readable style that makes the598 pages go by quickly.
Rutherfurd's blend of history and fiction draws me into other eras and cultures as no one else does. Like James Michener, he is able to create real people and family sagas that give insight into the hardships and dramas of life in bygone days. An excellent read.
Jun 07, 2014 Cat rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
Doesn't compare with Sarum. I felt it wore its historical explanations too heavily and didn't weave generations so effectively.
Andrew McCrae
Sep 08, 2013 Andrew McCrae rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love this book.

It takes time. But it rewards. It helps if you know the area.

I live within a mile of Hale on the edge of the New Forest, and daily walk Charlie there. When we moved here 18 years ago, from London, it was like being born into a new world. What brought us here was, we used to borrow a little upside‑down house in Hyde, just below Fordingbridge; the bedroom and bathroom were downstairs and the kitchen and lounge upstairs. The previous owners had a glass roof so they could gaze at th
John Threadgill
Very expansive book covering the history of the New Forest (by using fictional stories). Some interesting facts but I kinda felt it was too large and wandered around too much to keep interest up at all times.
jane king
I want to say I love this book but really I don't . To me it was a series of stories joined together by far too much descriptive padding. The book could have been half the size if approached differently.
May 13, 2017 Kelli rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Historic fiction is such an engaging way to learn about the impact of significant events in history on the people of the time. Edward Rutherford set a terrific stage in "The Forest" to visit religious, political, and class issues in a thousand years of development in the English country side.
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Francis Edward Wintle, best known under his pen name Edward Rutherfurd, was born in the cathedral city of Salisbury. Educated locally, and at the universities of Cambridge, and Stanford, California, he worked in political research, bookselling and publishing. After numerous attempts to write books and plays, he finally abandoned his career in the book trade in 1983, and returned to his childhood h ...more
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