Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Sheriff of Nottingham - Richard Kluger

A revisionist version of the Robin Hood legend portrays Philip Mark, a poor Frenchman commissioned as Sheriff of Nottingham, who is caught between his high ideals and the tyrannical whims of King John.

There are many books around about Robin Hood and its time, it’s not so often that we find a book about the infamous Sheriff of Nottingham and when I found this one I just couldn’t resist picking it up.

It is very different from the sheriff of the legend though. Kluger decided to tell the story of the real Sheriff of Nottingham, Phillip Mark, a French man who rises to power under Kind John. Although the book is historical fiction and Kluger has real and fictional events and people in the story I think what is most interesting is the way he approaches the politics of the time. What exactly were the place and the power of the sheriff, where did the money come from and all the social structure that existed in Nottingham. Also the king’s foreign policies and long feud with the Pope are mentioned and explained. I found it an enlightening read for that period.

However the characters aren’t particularly attractive and as a novel I think it ends up being a bit dry. But if you’re interested in that period, like me, you will certainly find it appealing.

Grade: 4/5

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