Book Review

Nottingham

Nottingham

Nathan Makaryk

Narrated by Raphael Corkhill and Marisa Calin

Macmillan Audio, Aug 2019

25 hrs, 25 min/ 469 pages print

Historical fiction

Purchased on Audible

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The cover is great showing the castle at Nottingham done as a perspective drawing against a moody blue background with towering clouds forming behind it forecasting the troubles ahead. The arrow standing straight up center stage represents the violence and savagery of the times.  An excellent cover!

The story told is like no other version of Robin Hood and Lady Marion that I have ever seen or read. I chose to listen to this as an audible book. It took 25 hours and 25 minutes spread out over considerably more time than that, of course. The narrators did a marvelous job of keeping the extensive cast of characters distinctive throughout. With just a slight change of tone or accent, you knew you were listening to Friar Tuck of Will Scarlet or John Little. And Lady Arable sounded nothing like Elena.

The whole tale starts with Sir William and Robin in the Holy Lands with King Richard. When Robin is wounded posing as the king, Richard sends both young knights back to Nottingham where they proceed to overstep his orders each in his own way. One in the castle and one in the forest. Each causes situations that end up knocking up against the others and in the end, there is no HEA. There is no Robin and Marion walking off into the sunset or the forest hand in hand to live their lives with the people they’ve saved. Robin doesn’t survive to do so. Marion and some of the others do end up in the forest, but it’s not a great place to be in those times. William doesn’t survive the final conflict either, but you’ll be surprised how it happens. Between the arrival of William and Robin as the best of friends and conspirators and the end of the book, we lose almost the whole cast of characters to the violence of the times, thus the arrow front and center on the cover of the book. It’s either the arrow, the knife, or the sword that does it.

The author has taken the actual history of the times and used the legend and people and changed it all out of recognition to weave us a tale that is fascinating, horrifying in its brutality, and much more believable than anything I’ve read or seen before. Mr. Makaryk has created a new tale of Nottingham that really doesn’t focus on Robin Hood so much as the whole area and its people both in the forest and in the castle. Whether you read it or listen to it as I did, I highly recommend Nottingham for your TBR list.

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