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King of the Wood

(Norman Quartet #4)

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  58 ratings  ·  11 reviews
From Library Journal
In A.D. 1100 King William Rufus, son of William the Conqueror, was killed during a hunt. Although no one knows who shot the fatal arrow, Anand provides an intriguing story of what might have been. William Rufus faced opposition from his two brothers and numerous lords under his dominion in England and France. He drew the condemnation of Church aut
Paperback, 480 pages
Published November 3rd 1988 by Headline Book Publishing (first published 1988)
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Average rating 3.90  · 
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Aug 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Ralph de Aix is a younger son who strikes out from Normandy to England with hopes of better advancement in his talents as a huntsman and horseman. Eventually Ralph attracts the attention of William Rufus, King of England, and Ralph is willing to use that attraction to advance his prospects as a courtier. I do give the author credit for tactfully handling Rufus' unusual "activities" in the bedroom, and Ralph's mixed feelings about his relationship with Rufus and his relief when he is freed from i ...more
Feb 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
King of the Wood is an extremely well written historical fiction novel set in Eleventh Century England and Normandy. The book tracks several main characters: William Rufus, the third son of William the Conqueror and later, King William II; Ralph des Aix, a second son from a modest family who traveled from Maine to England with the hopes of becoming a knight and owning his own land; Sybil of Fallowdene, the wild and beautiful youngest daughter of a landholding family in England; Richard of Fallow ...more
Sara Giacalone
Sep 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed all the books in Anand's Norman series for their realistic period details and impeccable research, yet I admit they lack the glamour of some modern writers. I think King of the Wood was my favorite of the series (will have to re-read them all to be sure). I really enjoyed learning more about King William Rufus and the struggle between him and his brothers (definitely foreshadowing Henry II and his boys' internecine fighting). I also loved the juxtaposition of the Norman and ...more
Dec 11, 2016 rated it liked it
This historical novel takes place during the reign of William II (Rufus) and concerns the power struggles between William and his two brothers as well as between William and various groups of both French and English noblemen. The multi-layered plot follows William, his brother Henry, the Scottish princess Edith who will eventually marry Henry, and a group of peasants and gentry centered around Knight Huntsman Ralph des Aix and his wife Sybil. Into this story Anand weaves a look at how pagan beli ...more
Aug 20, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf, nope, drags
I believe the first three books of the Norman Quartet were written as a trilogy, with the first book originally titled Gildenford (Norman Trilogy, Book 1), at least according to Goodreads. This series should have remained a trilogy as The Disputed Crown, the third book of the quartet, had a satisfying ending, and the pace of this fourth book was incredibly s-l-o-w; I had a hard time staying focused on King of the Wood. Well, it was easy enough to walk away, even though I read a third of the book, given this story fe ...more
Feb 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Valerie Anand draws readers into the mysterious tale of a lesser-known religious cult, all the while masterfully capturing the chaos and passion of a turbulent time within Kings of Woods.

Stepping through time back to A.D 1100, the novel opens with the death of King William Rufus, son of William the Conqueror before the audience are taken back and introduced to the young Norman, Ralph des Aix, a fine huntsmen and horsemen who is eager to win his knight’s fee from the new English King.
Dec 24, 2013 rated it liked it
In the Author's note, Anand states that King William Rufus, son of William the Conqueror, was killed by one of his own men. Several names were suggested in the The Anglo Saxon Chronicle. From this, she has written a novel based on her speculation that one of the men, Sir Ralph des Aix, shot the king with an arrow, on a hunt. This was a fascinating novel and well written.

There were several main subplots: the king [nicknamed Rufus for his red hair], from childhood to his death; the Norman Sir Ralph; the no
Margaret Sankey
Aug 11, 2012 rated it liked it
Anand fictionalizes the troubled period after the death of William the Conquerer--not only are there claimants from previous royal houses still around, and married to dangerous enemies of the Norman dynasty, the population is still perilously divided between new systems of taxes, language and religion imported by the incoming elite and grafted on to traditional Saxon policy, AND the three surviving sons of the Conquerer (William Rufus, Robert Curthose and Henry the Rich, Smart One With No Land) ...more
Jun 30, 2013 rated it liked it
This book finishes the story of the conflicts between the Normans and the Saxons. Many of the characters from the earlier books in this series appear in this last historical novel. The author makes their family conflicts real and the reader realizes that dysfunctional families existed in all times.
There is quite a bit of description of the ongoing beliefs of the village people in the old religions and Gods of nature.
I enjoyed the earlier books in this series more than this one.
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Born in London, Valerie Anand knew at the age of six that she wanted to be an author. At the age of fifteen, she saw MGM’s film Ivanhoe. She walked into the cinema knowing that she wanted to be a novelist and walked out of it knowing that historical novels were the kind she most wanted to write.

Over the course of her long and distinguished writing career, Valerie has written many works of histori

Other books in the series

Norman Quartet (4 books)
  • Gildenford (Norman Quartet, #1)
  • The Norman Pretender (Norman Quartet, #2)
  • The Disputed Crown (Norman Quartet, #3)