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Sherwood (Sherwood #1)

3.88  ·  Rating Details ·  834 Ratings  ·  51 Reviews
Forced from his home by Norman invaders, young Edward Aelredson, Thane of Denby, takes refuge in the forest Sherwood, where, with sword and bow, he bedevils the usurping king and comes to be called ""Robin Hood."" Reprint.
Paperback, 529 pages
Published August 28th 1995 by Avon Books (Mm) (first published August 1st 1991)
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Mar 05, 2008 Werner rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fans of action-oriented historical fiction
Update note, Dec. 24, 2012 --That book mentioned in the first paragraph below, that I couldn't recall the author or title of when I wrote this review, was Robin Hood (1912) written by Henry Gilbert.

My first literary introduction to the Robin Hood legend came as a seven- year old kid, through a large, thick (or so it seemed to me then, with a child's size perceptions!) trade paperback novel, of which --to my great frustration!-- I can't now recall either the author or the title. (But I vividly re
Michael S.
Quite simply one of the most thoroughly enjoyable books I have ever read. I found this in a used book store and took a chance on it. I really did not expect to like it because the cover art looked pretty cheesy; sort of cartoonish, plus I had never heard of the author. So I was expecting an unrealistic 'Robin Hood and his band of merry men type of tale.
This book is nothing like that. This is an emotionally complex, richly detailed, historically realistic epic saga. This is definitely not the Ke
Verity Brown
May 30, 2012 Verity Brown rated it really liked it
I picked this up, not expecting anything special, but it turned out to be one of the better retellings of the Robin Hood story that I have ever encountered. Most Robin Hood stories feel more like fantasy than history. Not this one. Godwin deals in the gritty realities of the 11th century. His Robin Hood is not a mythic hero, just a middle-class Saxon farmer/forester trying to hold onto the only (small, yet complicated) world he understands against a tide of Norman invaders who are determined to ...more
R.M. ArceJaeger
Apr 19, 2011 R.M. ArceJaeger rated it it was amazing
Absolutely excellent. Definitely the best Robin Hood book I've yet read (and I've read quite a few!). Everything about it is believable, and the author truly makes you feel like you are witness to these events. I'm so used to reading Robin Hood books that mention Normans vs. Saxons without really delving into who they are or why they don't like each other (for someone not raised with that bit of British history, I can remember being very confused reading those first few books), that it was a del ...more
Aug 16, 2008 Bill rated it really liked it
Now that Bernard Cornwell has become the historical novel author de jour, I often wonder if he would have existed at all without Parke Godwin. Godwin often toils in the same literary field at Cornwell... retellings of famous Anglo events and people... and often to better effect than Cornwall manages. Sherwood isn't a retelling of the Robin Hood tale, as much as a complete reimagining. Godwin places Robin in an England quickly being subjugated by the Normans, following the Battle of Hastings. Rat ...more
May 18, 2014 Cole rated it really liked it
A fresh take on the Robin Hood legend set during the Norman conquest of England after the Battle of Hastings.

It took me a while to get a feel for Godwin's writing style. Having previously read him that was to be expected. You're going to need a dictionary for this one though. I learned a lot of new words.

My only criticism is the blatant anachronism used in reference to the Plantagenet era. Otherwise a very enjoyable read....highly recommended.
Sep 06, 2013 Arabesque rated it did not like it
Shelves: fantasy
I didn't actually read this but I got it out from the library and decided to flip through it to see if it was worth my time. In those few minutes I found two things about the book I very much disliked and therefore returned it unread.

First, the writing style is not my taste. It's rather choppy and is not written very well. Godwin's style is confusing and hard to follow. It just doesn't seem to be very good literary quality. For that alone, I didn't feel like wasting my time on it (Though I love
Jul 07, 2012 Dana rated it liked it
I was told before reading this story that I would either love this author, or not care for him in the slightest. I somehow have defied this and have landed in between.

Parke Godwin I feel has a good grasp on the character of Robin and even wrote a very pleasing Marian. Because of this, I thought for certain that I would love this tale because this characterization seems to be what most Robin Hood authors lack. Godwin's pro's overshadowed his characterization, however. I found myself with blurry e
Jan 14, 2011 Kate rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Robin Hood and Marian fans
Typically, we see Robin Hood set during the Plantagenet era of England; sometimes Henry II’s reign, but usually during Richard the Lionheart’s crusade.

Godwin set his during the Norman conquest, highlighting the tumultuous transition from English Kings to French ones (namely, William the Conqueror). It’s a fascinating comparison to legends set later in the time period (because the Plantagenets were also French). This Robin is decidedly not loyal to his King.

Marian is also different - she is wel
Oct 11, 2015 Lohra rated it really liked it
I really liked this "origin" story. Very gritty. Very real. Took me a little bit to get into Godwin's writing style but in this tale Robin isn't some mythic good you have to accept. He's a man fighting for his idea of country. You understand him and you understand the people he's fighting against. In that light, the Sheriff of Nottingham isn't wholly evil either. He's just fighting for a different cause. Loved the little insights into a world transitioning between earthy Norse mysticism and Chri ...more
I read 30 pages. Does this book get better? Because it is over 500 pages and I can't see myself slogging through it if it doesn't get better. Actually, I think I won't continue, life is too short and I can't read a book I am not enjoying simply because the book summary sounds good. If I'm not enjoying it, it goes back to the library. Like this one will.

Not for me.
Jul 09, 2015 Amanda rated it it was amazing


Robin Hood with lots of sex and violence? Robin Hood set in 1066 when it makes sense instead of during the reign of Richard the Lionheart?

this book is basically the next best thing to BBC Robin Hood, which therefore makes it objectively the next-worst thing in the universe, but IT'S COOL WE'RE ALL FRIENDS HERE
Mar 21, 2009 Gary rated it it was amazing
What an amazing vision of the story of Robin Hood. Parke brought to life, no, he made it live, in a very believable tale of one of folklore's greatest heroes. Seldom have I read a better historical fiction so well envisioned by the author. Robin, lived and breathed before my eyes. An Awesome work.
I know, I know, I should read something all the way through before I decide I don't like it. especially if it's in my beloved genre of fictional robin hood. (of course, it's not actually a genre on its own. I just like to say it is because I've collected so many over the last few years. I've read and collected almost 50.) I only got about a 5th of the way into it but . . . . .god, I just can't do it. and I feel bad about it. really, I do. (I've only NOT finished two of my other Hood books.) And ...more
Mar 12, 2012 Kara rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Kara by: Shana
Shelves: robin-hood

Godwin takes the traditional Robin Hood tale and pulls it back over one hundred years from the reign of Richard I to the tumultuous days of William the Conquer’s invasion of England, and suddenly the whole Saxon/Norman thing is a whole lot more serious.

The tale itself doesn’t change much - the only main character’s name to change is that of the king - but what it does is give a whole lot of heat to the usual “Saxon” / “Norman” curses characters always growl at each other in your typical Robin Ho
Jan 19, 2015 Jen rated it really liked it
Godwin again reveals his mastery of historical fiction with this, plunking Robin Hood down in the aftermath of William the Bastard/Conqueror dominating England in 1066. I love that Godwin follows the big battles with the realities of warfare; you don't just conquer a people and move on, it's a long-term thing that takes so much skirmishing and compromising and understanding and pain. I also love that Godwin capitalizes on the oddity of the confusion of the conquered English, using his Welsh char ...more
Feb 04, 2012 Duckie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hoodwinkers
A leisurely, engaging read much in the vein of Bernard Cornwell or Ken Follett. Fans of Ken Follett's "Pillars of the Earth" books in particular will find much to like here. There is solid character development among the principal players and the author shows a good grasp of the historical/political significance of developments in English rule of law. It's clear Godwin has a deep and abiding passion for his subject, although his explanations are occasionally weak and sometimes hard to follow.
Aug 26, 2016 Lorraine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who enjoys reading about Robin Hood and/or England.
Recommended to Lorraine by: Goodreads
Robin Hood has always been a favorite of mine. In Parke Godwin's Sherwood #1 the author sets his story of Robin in The Midlands shortly after The Battle of Hastings (1066). Although the author uses the setting during the time period of William the Conqueror , an unsettling and violent time for the Saxons, and a time period about which I know very little even though I am an avid Anglophile, would work, but it does! I learned a fair amount about the beginning of this era thanks to Mr. Godwin and S ...more
Aug 04, 2008 Jayme rated it it was amazing
The best retelling of Robin Hood that I have ever read.
I was extremely impressed with this book. The writing had a classical feel to it, being rich and thorough...and poetically realistic, if that is not an oxymoron.
The characters were well-formed, well-researched and even the supposed "villain" had all the nuance and background of the protagonists. You knew he was doomed to be Robin's nemesis and yet you really feel for him.
I loved the take on Marian as well. She was not a remote or dramatic ch
Wayland Smith
May 20, 2014 Wayland Smith rated it liked it
I can't remember when I read this, but I recognized the cover when it popped up in my recommendations. Sure enough, it's on my shelf, so I took a look.

This was a fun retelling of the Robin Hood legend. It's grounded in reality and history a lot more than many tellings of the story. It's well-researched and has a lot of good detail.

I consider myself a huge fan of Robin Hood in his various incarnations. This was a good addition to that mythos, with a healthy dose of historical detail.

Recommended t
Phillip Akel
Jul 09, 2015 Phillip Akel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everybody
Shelves: favorites
What a book. Put simply, the best robin hood book that exists. This isn't your typical fantasy robin hood book. This is a REAL, gritty, emotional and page turning book. Parke Godwin is a masterful writer and I look forward to reading his other books. I'm mind-boggled by the people who rate this book low. The character of Robin [Edward], Marian, Maud, Fitz-Gerald and so many more are wonderfully written. This is a top 10 book on my list for sure. I recommend this book to everybody. Wow.
Nov 01, 2014 Dawson rated it really liked it
This is a good re-interpretation of the Robin Hood story, placing it about 5 years after William conquered England. Because the setting is so different it takes a bit to get used to. As I was reading it I wondered how it would end in such a way as to set up the sequel. I thought the way it was handled was believable.

Overall I thought it was a good book. If you are interested in this time period I recommend the book.
Mar 02, 2010 Michelle rated it really liked it
Shelves: general-fiction
Wonderful Robin Hood story, the best I've read! I didn't exactly love the author's writing style, hence the 4 stars. The setting for this story is earlier than most, in William the Conquerors time. I loved that this turned the Sheriff of Nottingham into a real person with feelings and values, and not just "the bad guy". It felt very realistic and not just legendary.
I wish that I still had this recording. If I remember correctly, the author himself read it, and e had such a wonderful voice. It was a retelling of Robin Hood, and as such is kind of predictable, but the characters were humanized- not left as two dimensional cutout plot devices. I would like to read the book someday to compare.
This is the best Robin Hood novel I've read. This is an English Robin Hood and it takes place in 11th century England. I find it very authentic and faithful to what I consider the most essential elements of the Robin Hood legend. Robin Hood should be an 11th century hero and it should take place in England.
May 13, 2016 Nicole rated it really liked it
Recommended by and borrowed from a friend.

I hadn't read a Robin Hood story in years, and this was great.

Favourite part: (view spoiler)

It was great to get a historical perspective, and see it from the conquerors and conquered points of view.

Would definitely read again.
Jul 21, 2010 Lori rated it it was amazing
"Robin Hood" is one of my favorite themes for a book. Years ago I borrowed this from the library and have often wished I owned a copy because it's one I'd read again.....and again. I loved it. Unfortunately, it is not easy to find any longer.
Apr 12, 2009 Sunnie rated it really liked it
A richly-imagined story, thick with interesting characters who actually have motivations behind their actions. A friend told me that this series would ruin me for other Robin Hood stories -- I think she's right, but I'm glad!
Mar 22, 2008 Quinn rated it really liked it
Great read. Ingenious retelling of the Robin Hood legend set (more appropriately) at the time of the Norman invasion. Godwin makes his Sherriff of Nottingham every bit as real and respectable as his outlaw hero. Great writing, numerous nods to history buffs and fans of the traditional tales.
Jan 28, 2009 Michael rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novels
Fifth time. First read in 1995 or 96, I believe. Its flaws are very obvious at this point but it was a seminal book and its threads of political and romantic sensibilities are woven rather firmly in my mind.

It most certainly paved the way for a love of medieval lit and historical fiction.
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Parke Godwin was an American writer known for his lyrical yet precise prose style and sardonic humor. He was also known for his novels of legendary figures placed in realistic historical settings; his retelling of the Arthur legend (Firelord in 1980, Beloved Exile in 1984, and The Last Rainbow in 1985) is set in the 5th century during the collapse of the Roman empire, and his reinterpretation of R ...more
More about Parke Godwin...

Other Books in the Series

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