InThe Forest, Edward Rutherfurd, whose greatly admiredSarumandLondonhave captivated millions of readers, now unfolds the saga of nine turbulent centuries in the life of the quintessential English heartland: the New Forest. The New Forest lies in a vast bowl scooped from England's southern coast. To its west runs the river Avon, from Sarum to the harbor at Christchurch, and to its east the port of Southampton. In the heart of the New Forest itself, some one hundred thousand acres of forest and heath sweep down to the Solent water and the Isle of Wight and overlook the English Channel just beyond. From the time of the Norman Conquest to the present day, the New Forest has remained a mysterious, powerful, almost mythical place. It is here that Saxon and Norman kings rode forth with their hunting parties, and where William the Conqueror's son Rufus was mysteriously killed. The mighty oaks of the forest were used to build the ships for Admiral Nelson's navy, and the fishermen who lived in Christchurch and Lymington helped Sir Francis Drake fight off the Spanish Armada. The New Forest is the perfect backdrop for the families who people this epic story -- a story that makes clear the connections between the dark, dangerous, sensuous life of the primeval forest and the genteel life of Georgian and Regency society. There are well-born ladies and lowly woodsmen, sailors and smugglers, witches and Cistercian monks, who live in the lovely abbey of Beaulieu. The Forest's Lady Adela is the cousin of Walter Tyrrell, who is blamed for the death of Rufus, son of the Conqueror. There is Brother Adam of Beaulieu, who is content with his service to God until a poaching incident puts him in contact with an intriguing young woman named Mary Furzey. There is the merchant Totton family of the harbor town of Lymington, and the Penruddocks and Lisles of Moyles Court. The feuds, wars, loyalties, and passions of many hundreds of years reach their climax in a crime that shatters the decorous society of Bath in the days of Jane Austen. Edward Rutherfurd is a master storyteller whose sense of place and of character -- whether fictional or historical -- is at its most vibrant inThe Forest. LikeSarumandLondon, it is a gripping novel of living history.
New York : Random, c2000
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