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(Rotherweird #1)

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  4,589 ratings  ·  603 reviews
1558: Twelve children, gifted far beyond their years, are banished by their Tudor queen to the town of Rotherweird. Some say they are the golden generation; some say the devil's spawn. But everyone knows they are something to be revered - and feared.

Four and a half centuries on, cast adrift from the rest of England by Elizabeth I and still bound by its ancient laws, Rother
ebook, 480 pages
Published May 18th 2017 (first published April 25th 2017)
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Average rating 3.65  · 
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Rotherweird is the first in a beautifully woven fantasy trilogy by Andrew Caldecott, infused with the feel of the Victorian and the Gothic. Much of the novel is given to world building and incorporates detailed descriptions of the anachronistic town, Rotherweird, and its rather eccentric inhabitants. It begins in 1558, where the troubled queen wants rid of 10 gifted children. Instead of following orders, Sir Robert Oxenbridge, saves their lives by covertly putting them under the care and educati ...more
Welcome to the rather weird, mysterious but delightful town of Rotherweird.

To enter, tourists must leave behind their 21st-century gadgets as readers should their literary prejudices or expectations.

This is a town devoid of modern technology, but has a surprisingly high number of mastermind-children with affinity to sciences like maths, physics, astronomy.

Learning about the town's history is outlawed and there are a number of other bizarre rules governing the general and day-to-day life of its
Aug 15, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, fantasy, england
It comes as something of a shock to see that this whimsical English fantasy was penned by the QC who represented the BBC in the Hutton Inquiry. If you approach Rotherweird with expectations of some clever allegory on government control or the media society, though, you're likely to be disappointed – this is a little insular caprice all of its own, indeed very much the kind of thing one expects an English barrister to have been beavering away on during his idle Sunday afternoons.

A little country
Oct 11, 2017 rated it liked it
I can't quite figure why I didn't enjoy this book! It began wonderfully but soon became ... dry. I can't think of a better word for it. It grated.

It is well written with a magical premise and it should have worked... but it didn't for me. Took me an age to make my way through it and I found by a quarter of the way through that I just wasn't enjoying it.

Such a shame!
Lucy Banks
Apr 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 18, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: abandoned
I just... was so overwhelmed by the sheer amount of excessive descriptions. That was the only thing I could figure out about why I didn't like this book.

I simply didn't enjoy it. I know MANY others did, so if it interests you then definitely give it a try but it just wasn't for me.

I couldn't connect with the characters either and I found the entire experience very cumbersome.

DNF @ 16%
Thomas Strömquist
Definitely having mixed feelings about this one. The idea and world-building are both compelling and brilliant - the story leaves a lot to be desired. Rotherweird has been, more or less isolated, or at least separated, from the rest of England by Elizabeth I. One condition of it's status and independence is that nobody is allowed to research and certainly not teach the town's history. Rest of world history, yes - but only from 1800 and forward. This is of course gravely felt by Jonah Oblong, new ...more
Apr 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed reading this book. It's not flawless for me but for the most part it was original and certainly different. Full review nearer publication date.
Caroline Mersey
Jul 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: review-copies
Andrew Caldecott's Rotherweird (review copy from Jo Fletcher) is a glorious tale of historical mystery, peopled with compelling eccentrics and drawing on a rich heritage of English folk tales. It's a compelling page-turner from start to finish.

Rotherweird is an isolated place. Cut off from the rest of England since Tudor times, it exists under its own laws and rules under the custodianship of hereditary office-holders. With his career in tatters, Jonah Oblong takes a job as history teacher at R
Moray Teale
I received a free advance copy of this work through netgalley and Jo Fletcher Books in return for an honest and unbiased review.

Such promise in the wonderful cover and the intriguing blurb but sadly I was left dissatisfied. Caldecott's interesting conceit is an English town isolated and made self-governing during the reign of Elizabeth I for reason or reasons unknown. Jonah Oblong, an outsider, becomes embroiled in the affairs of this bizarre place when he is hired as a history teacher at the lo
K.J. Charles
Aug 29, 2017 marked it as pass
Shelves: whimsy-klaxon, dnf
This book is about a peculiar English town out of time hiding a fantastical secret. Unfortunately, by page 80, despite the introduction of vast swathes of characters by name and often POV, we don't have a character with whom to sympathise, identify or even go along for the ride. All we know of Rotherweird's mystery is that something odd happened 400 years ago; we've been shown nothing exciting or fantastical. The primary hook and mystery of the story to date is that the town has an unconventiona ...more
Jul 25, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hmm....I feel torn about this book: it had much to recommend it, in its conception and in its eccentricity. But. It did not consistently hold my interest and it dragged. I’m not sure I understood it all. It was bizarre. Did I like it? I don’t even know that! I didn’t DISlike it...
Mar 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It’s a very enjoyable but weirdly written fully nice prose and a quirky characters especially the town and countryside itself.

A strange fantasy more steampunk in places than urban fantasy, but I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.
May 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Spanish philosopher George Santayana once wrote “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” No one in Rotherweird appears to have ever heard that turn of phrase. In the dim and distant past, the town’s founding fathers decided it made sense to bury their collective heads in the sand. A declaration was made; delving into what had gone before was strictly forbidden. Their reasoning? If no one knows the town’s history then it can’t cause any problems, can it? Turns out the ...more
Dec 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-own
A difficult book to rate for me, although I loved the story, I felt like I missed quite a bit, I read another review saying there were quite a lot of links to English folktales. I obviously missed these for not being English.
Overall I really enjoyed this book with being refreshingly different!
Jul 20, 2018 rated it it was ok
*I was sent this for free by the publisher to review*

I have to say, I really was looking forward to reading this book, and I actually had the second one sent to me at the same time, but unfortunately this book just didn't work for me the same way it has for some of the others who have reviewed it. Personally, I like to read to have fun and therefore I don't often pick up books which focus on mystery or academia, but more on pure fantasy. For me, I think this one was a bit of a slow read at times
Apr 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: dnf
A curious book that didn't completely work for me but I think it will really work for others. You could shelve is alongside 'Dr Norrell and Mister Strange,' or 'Neverwhere,' that is with books that some people will love with a passion and others very much won't. It also shares that offbeat Britishness that Clarke and Gaiman employ so well, and I enjoyed the wry humour.

But there were a lot of characters to be keeping track of, and I found it difficult to get invested in any of them. I also found
Jan 07, 2020 rated it liked it
Actual rating: 3.5 stars

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Rotherweird is a book that’s been on my radar for a while. The cover is incredibly eye-catching. The premise is unique and intriguing, and the story proved to be just that. I can honestly say that I’ve never encountered a setting quite like it. By turns charming and almost sinister, Rotherweird hides deep secrets and a dark past that is utterly unknown to any of its residents. When outsiders, o
Apr 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
A highly unusual book, a kind of portal fantasy/historical fantasy/contemporary urban fantasy blend. It reminds me most of Robert Holdstock or Charles de Lint, though less ominous in tone than either.

There are a great many characters, and according to the author's afterword, there were originally a lot more. I had a cold when I read it, so my brain was fuzzy, and I sometimes had to think hard to remember who a character was when they were mentioned after being offstage for a while. I felt that
Oct 17, 2017 rated it it was ok
If a book needs the last chapter to explain what has happened so far in the story, in my opinion that book is in trouble.
I couldn't tell majority of characters apart so similar they were. The whole plot so intricate that half of time I wasn't sure what was happening and especially why.
I had high hopes for it as the premise is rather intriguing but alas.
Barry Mulvany
Jul 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quite an odd book that's hard to describe. It kind of reminded me somewhat of the Library of Mount Char, with a little Gaiman thrown in. It's definitely very British. It's all set in the town of Rotherweird, which, the reasons are explained through the story, is effectively an independent town within England where learning about the history of the town is forbidden and anybody not from the town or its environs is actively discouraged to visit unless invited. There is also quite a high level of i ...more
Apr 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Rotherweird by Andrew Caldecott

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Rotherweird stands alone – there are no maps and no guidebooks… Cast adrift from the rest of England by Elizabeth I, its independence is subject to one disturbing condition: nobody, but nobody, studies Rotherweird or its history.

Rotherweird is the strongest contention yet for my ‘Book of the Year’. It is definitely the best book I’ve read this year, so far.

Rotherwierd is perfect for fans of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. If you like your books wi
This is Rotherweird: an autonomous enclave of England where cutting-edge technology rubs shoulders with rural magic; a region inhabited by geniuses who somehow cling on to a neo-Elizabethan way of life. It does not take long to realise that Rotherweird is, well... rather weird...

Jonah Oblong, an "outsider from wider England" has just been employed as history teacher at Rotherweird School. He soon learns that the residents of Rotherweird town and the surrounding countryside are barred from enqui
Rotherweird is a strange town. Cut off from the rest of England during the reign of Elizabeth I, the outside world has barely encroached on the town since then. Populated almost entirely by borderline genius eccentrics, outsiders aren’t really encouraged except for in exceptional circumstances – like the disappearance of one of the town’s teachers, prompting them to seek a replacement. On getting the job of history teacher, Jonah Oblong arrives in Rotherweird and, stranger still, is given to und ...more
Alex Sarll
I would normally be reluctant to embark on a debut novel by an unknown quantity, but this one had enthusiastic quotes from two writers who are not just good but good in very different fields (Hilary Mantell and Mike/MR Carey), plus comparisons to Hope Mirrlees, Jonathan Norrell and Gormenghast, so I thought I should give it a go. And I didn't even bail out in time, because you know how sometimes there's just enough to praise that you're convinced a book is going to improve, and then by the time ...more
Kitvaria Sarene
Sep 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Kitvaria by: Marielle
This is a weird one - so the name is fitting!
For the first 1/4 I had no idea what the book was even about, but the mystery and the strange and yet engaging characters had me hooked anyway.
It is urban fantasy in a way, as it takes part in our world, but as there is little use of modern things in the little town of Rotherweird it mostly doesn't feel that way.

It is a quirky and entertaining read, which some dark undertones and quite some dryish humour mixed in. For me the balance worked out reall
Purple Tringite
Jun 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wonderfully enjoyable. This was a real treat - just the right amount of fantasy without having to learn a new language. Amazed to find the author is a QC. Have also discovered the next book in the series so will start that shortly. This was a spontaneous buy in the book shop and paid off very well
Eva Müller
May 07, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review can also be found on my blog

DNF at 34%.

Rotherweird really wants to be quirky but only manages to have a cast of characters with names from the list 'weirdest British names'. There's for example Veronal Slickstone (he's greedy), Jonah Oblong (he's a teacher), Deidre Banter (she's greedy), Godfery Fanguin (he's a former teacher), Rhombus Snorkel (he's also greedy), Vixen Valourhand (she pole-vaults over fences because of...reasons) and countless other characters with oh-so-funny names
Sep 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book took me forever (for me) to read. I loved it, in the beginning and through most of it, but it got to the point where it was just dragging on at times. It was so wordy and so dense, that it felt like I was reading for hours at a time to discover I'd only read 2%.

I liked it, but I wish I had read it outside of a time of reading it for a challenge (when I wanted to be quick and it still took a week) and I would have liked to have taken notes on it. There were so many characters and so mu
David Harris
May 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'm grateful to the publisher for am advance copy of this book via NetGalley. I also bought a copy - well worth it even if only for Sasha Laika's beautiful, brooding illustrations.

You won't have heard of Rotherweird. The town is hard to reach (you have to go to Hoy, change for a taxi to the Twelve Mile Post, then await the Polk Land & Water Company's charabanc). It's forbidden to write about it, and the inhabitants don't welcome outsiders.

Nevertheless, it's a fascinating place, almost an indepen
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Fantasy Buddy Reads: Rotherweird [Jan 2, 2020] 35 21 Feb 01, 2020 10:51AM  

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Andrew Caldecott is a QC specialising in media, defamation and libel law, as well as a novelist and occasional playwright. He represented the BBC in the Hutton Inquiry (into the death of biological warfare expert and UN weapons inspector David Kelly), the Guardian in the Leveson Inquiry (into the British press following the phone hacking scandal), and supermodel Naomi Campbell in her landmark priv ...more

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Rotherweird (3 books)
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