Book Review: The Sheriff of Nottingham


Author: Richard Kluger

Has there ever been a less lovable character than the nameless Sheriff of Nottingham? Well known as the hateful foil to every little boy’s favorite hero, Robin Hood, his reputation is fed by Hollywood’s many versions of the legend. Alan Rickman’s evil performance opposite Kevin Costner stands out as the most memorable.
With this novel, author Richard Kluger turns this timeless tale on its head. Basing his story on authentic and startling historical facts, Kluger portrays a far different sheriff. Philip Mark, a soldier of fortune from Touraine is a man with a heart, a conscience and masterful political skills, whose own sense of justice gets him in trouble with the citizens of Nottinghamshire, the local nobility and the crown, alike. Filled with “dark intrigues, hand-to-hand combat and sharp wits in collision,” this story takes actual documented facts from the era and comes up with some surprising theories on this true-to-life Sheriff of Nottingham, the hatching of the Magna Carta (along with the reasons why Philip Mark was in fact cited by name in that immortal document) and an interesting speculation on who, in fact, might have been the man behind the legend of Robin Hood.
This book is quite an interesting twist for those of us who love historic novels. If you can put aside the Hollywood image we all know so well, you’ll find this book will transport you beyond time and legend to witness the struggle of a humble man acting with more honor than any knight of the realm, in a time ruled by savage impulse and civil uproar.
Title: The Sheriff of Nottingham
Author: Richard Kluger
Publisher: Viking Penguin
ISBN: 0-670-84022-x
Review written by: Tammi Appelman