Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Rotherweird (Rotherweird, #1)” as Want to Read:
Rotherweird (Rotherweird, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


(Rotherweird #1)

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  3,483 ratings  ·  476 reviews

The town of Rotherweird stands alone - there are no guidebooks, despite the fascinating and diverse architectural styles cramming the narrow streets, the avant garde science and offbeat customs. Cast adrift from the rest of England by Elizabeth I, Rotherweird's independence is subject to one disturbing condition: nobody, but nobody, studies the town or its history.

For bene

Paperback, Trade Paperback, 452 pages
Published June 16th 2017 by Jo Fletcher Books (first published April 25th 2017)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Rotherweird, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Joel Pearson
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.66  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,483 ratings  ·  476 reviews

More filters
Sort order
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
Shelves: fiction, england, fantasy
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 18, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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%
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  ·  review of another edition
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
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 20, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
*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  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 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...
K.J. Charles
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
Apr 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 17, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
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
Purple Tringite
Jun 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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  ·  review of another edition
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 ind
Silvia Kay
May 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Rotherweird has to be, hands down, the best fantasy novel I have read this year. This is subject to change, of course, but right now I am feeling pretty confident, for a number of reasons.

The story opens up with an eerie scene in which Queen Mary orders the execution of ten child prodigies whose gifts she deems unholy. Sir Robert Oxenbridge does what he believes to be the right thing: he saves the children by entrusting them and their eductation to the care of his retired friend who is living ou
Finn Longman
Well, that was long -- so long it took me all evening to read, despite minimal distractions, though I don't know how many pages it was. It was also extremely weird, no pun intended, and I think that, the length, and the fact it's 1.25am mean that I'm going to have to leave a proper review for some later date because I need to digest it a bit first. An odd book.

ROTHERWEIRD was, in short, rather a weird book -- no pun intended. It was quite slow-paced, as well as being reasonably long, so that
Lauren Stoolfire
May 31, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

DNF'd @ 20%

The premise of Rotherweird by Andrew Caldecott sounded really cool - it totally gave me Peril in the Old Country by Sam Hooker vibes. Unfortunately, the writing style and the tone just weren't working for me here. I managed to make it through 20% before I realized I was too bored and uninterested to continue. Thanks anyway, NetGalley.
Jul 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Funny, fresh fantasy, although a bit lengthy at first and I am not sure whether I am satisfied with the ending.
Really looking forward to the next book, though, as now I have really connected (and am able to distinguish) between the many characters.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Pendragon (Dark Age, #1)
  • The Wolf in the Attic
  • Wicked Wonders
  • The Scar-Crow Men (Swords of Albion, #2)
  • The Ninth Rain (The Winnowing Flame Trilogy, #1)
  • The Damned Busters
  • Who Killed Sherlock Holmes? (Shadow Police, #3)
  • Resonance
  • Hannah Green and Her Unfeasibly Mundane Existence
  • The Clown Service
  • Alternate Routes (Vickery and Castine #1)
  • An Apprentice to Elves (Iskryne World, #3)
  • Dead Man's Land (Dr John Watson, #1)
  • Never the Bride (Brenda and Effie Mystery #1)
  • Points of Departure: Liavek Stories
  • The Ferryman Institute
  • The Furthest Station (Peter Grant, #5.5)
  • Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Sausages (J. W. Wells & Co., #7)
See similar books…
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

Other books in the series

Rotherweird (3 books)
  • Wyntertide (Rotherweird, #2)
  • Lost Acre (Rotherweird, #3)
“Books reflect interests; interests inform personality and personality decides a course of action.” 3 likes
“An old rage burned –so many startling gifts, so much knowledge gleaned along the way, and yet what a mess Mankind had made of everything.” 1 likes
More quotes…