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Extended Audio Sample The Forest Audiobook, by Edward Rutherfurd Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.61 out of 53.61 out of 53.61 out of 53.61 out of 53.61 out of 5 3.61 (23 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Edward Rutherfurd Narrator: Lynn Redgrave Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2000 ISBN: 9780375417252
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In The Forest, Edward Rutherfurd, whose greatly admired Sarum and London have 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 in The Forest. Like Sarum and London, it is a gripping novel of living history.

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Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Judy Brunner | 2/11/2014

    " Love all of Rutherfurd's books, this is the history of the New Forest from the beginning seen through the eyes of different families from different levels of society. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tanya | 2/8/2014

    " I really enjoy his books - this one was easier to get in to than Sarum and I read it over the holiday weekend trip. I'd recommend it if you are a fan of his historical fiction. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sharyn Heili | 2/1/2014

    " Wonderful, epic historical novel that author Rutherfurd is know for. It takes a time commitment to finish, but like all of Rutherfurd's books it is well worth it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dana | 1/31/2014

    " This book is so enjoyable, I could not put it down. I love the historical fiction and the intertwining of the families in the forest. It was so interesting, I would highly recommend it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Gavin Stephenson-Jackman | 1/30/2014

    " This is the first of Rutherford's novels that has not captured my attention and I'm about 1/3 of the way through. Just can't pick it up to finish it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dale Wilen | 1/29/2014

    " Another great book of British historical fiction. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Takim Williams | 1/24/2014

    " This novel was impressive in that it covered 900 years of history but still thoroughly developed the characters. Rutherford did a great job of personifying the forest and capturing its essence. Hopefully one day I'll visit the New Forest in England, and I can't wait to read Rutherford's London and Sarum, which each take place over an even longer period of time! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Janet Meissner | 1/18/2014

    " I love Rutherford - England's Michener. This was a very long book, as his always are. The subject isn't as universally appealing as his New York novel, but was fascinating, nonetheless, in imagining how the peasants were affected by the events of British history. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Rafael | 1/18/2014

    " Had the hardest time with this one. Not boring, just too slow for my taste. Rutherford CAN write, though, so I will likely try another of his novels soon. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Heather | 1/12/2014

    " good and typical of this author, but not my favorite by this author. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sarah | 1/12/2014

    " An OK book overall. I loved it in parts and waded through the others. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Megan | 12/22/2013

    " A decent read. It dragged in a few places, but for the most part I really enjoyed it, especially the way the historical aspects interacted with the narrative. It held my interest more than Sarum. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kristen | 12/17/2013

    " I do like these kinds of books. Generational. Historical. Each section is like a short story in itself, with details from one century popping up ages later to seam the stories together. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alice | 12/13/2013

    " Not one of my favourite Rutherfurd's; perhaps the New Forest just doesn't quite have the magical allure for me that London or Sarum do. I found it hard to actually picture the landscape, but enjoyed as usual Rutherford's weaving of tales of ordinary lives into historical events and settings. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Elmira | 12/12/2013

    " Only got about 1/3 way through it. He is a SUPERB writer, but this book is not up to his usual standard. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rachel Imrie | 8/18/2013

    " This was my favourite book be Edward Rutherfurd. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Feodora | 5/29/2013

    " Not as good as Sarum or London but I liked it very much "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Red Rocky | 4/14/2013

    " I really enjoyed this book. A 1000 year history of the families living in this part of Southern England. The changes they observe and live through as well as the subtle things which never change. Just a nice read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Robert | 3/19/2013

    " Good, but not nearly as well done as Sarum "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jasmine | 2/14/2013

    " Boring at times but still a great read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joyce M. Tice | 10/15/2012

    " Liked it. Further development in this massive life work on the British Isles. Excellent. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Darcy | 10/1/2012

    " Sean reads all of these. It took me a couple of months to get through it, but it was really enjoyable Historical Fiction... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cristobal | 8/6/2012

    " it was fine enough... perhaps not as good as some of his other titles, but a solid read nevertheless. "

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About the Author
Author Edward Rutherfurd

Edward Rutherfurd is one of the most renowned writers of historical fiction. He was born in Salisbury, England, christened in Salisbury Cathedral, and spent his early childhood in Salisbury Close. He was educated at Cambridge University and Stanford University in California. He has written several bestselling books, including Sarum, Russka, and London.

About the Narrator

Lynn Redgrave, a member of Britain’s greatest acting family, is internationally known for her work on stage, screen, and television. As narrator of the World of Philosophy series, she brings to life the timeless and vital themes of the world’s great philosophical traditions.