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Rotherweird by Sasha Laika (illustrator)…

Rotherweird (edition 2018)

by Sasha Laika (illustrator) Andrew Caldecott (Author)

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14811116,901 (3.62)6
Authors:Sasha Laika (illustrator) Andrew Caldecott (Author)
Info:Jo Fletcher Books (2018), Edition: Illustrated edition
Collections:Your library, Currently reading

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Rotherweird by Andrew Caldecott


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» See also 6 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
A choice out of the blue for me - not usually something I'd pick up. But the slick marketing people at Waterstones lured me in, and I am so glad they did. This is a delightful book. Caldecott's characters are excellent, if a little complicated to pick up at first. But its the strength of the story and of the setting, above all, that kept me happily turning the pages on my all-day trip from London to Portland. I love the attention to detail that illuminates this story, as well as the great illustrations by Sasha Laika. If you're interested in a bit of escapism from this awful world, and like Elizabethan England as a (partial) setting, you'll love Rotherweird. I'm excited to get started on the next one. Thank you, Mr Caldecott....an enlightening work I really enjoyed. ( )
  fizzypops | Oct 8, 2018 |
Good alternative world building, absorbing and original plot, interesting characters and well written. What's not to like?
Well, it's all just a bit too thin. The alternative world is a bit too small, the characters not fully fleshed, the humour lacking in edge and definitely missing the sense of darkness it deserved. The plot is probably the best part but elements of this were clear fairly soon, even if the final denouement was a surprise. So quite good, but disappointing in that with just a little bit more effort, it could have been so much better. 28 September 2018 ( )
  alanca | Oct 3, 2018 |
Rather an oddity, and somewhat hard to classify. I badged it as an urban fantasy, but it's as much magical realism and secret history with some portal fantasy thrown in. It took me a little while to get into it, especially as I started reading it on my iPhone, and the layout was distinctly odd on the small screen (I think because of the text flow around the illustrations). Switching to the e-reader helped a lot.

The set-up is a self-governing English country town by virtue of a statute from Elizabeth I; this is because of the presence of a portal to another dimension (with Lovecraftian elements) and the fact that Queen Mary exiled a group of child prodigies there. The prodigies were cared for and educated by the kindly Lord of the Manor, but after his death, most of the group started meddling with the other dimension, creating monstrous fusions of different animals, and animals and human. Following the breaking up of the group by Elizabeth, the town if divorced from the outside world, and the study of history strictly banned.

Skipping to the present day, Rotherweird keeps it's traditions and is governed by the Lord Mayor. The Manor is acquired by an outsider who restores and reopens it. However, he has a secret - he is one of the group of child prodigies who had their memories wiped and were exiled in the New World by Drake (where most promptly died). He is trying to get back through the portal to reverse what has been done to him; but there is a millennial crisis happening through the portal. A disparate group of townspeople and country people band together to try and stop him, along with an outsider - the modern history teacher at the Rotherweird school.

As I said, a deeply strange story, but well worth the read. Recommended.
  Maddz | Sep 13, 2018 |
During Mary Tudor's reign ten child prodigies come to the attention of the authorities and are removed to the Tower of London. Because the Queen believes these children to be the spawn of the Devil, the Constable of the Tower removes them to Rotherweird, to the manor house of one of his old friends, before they can be executed. But over the years terrible events occur in Rotherweird, and so Elizabeth I casts the town adrift from the realm and declares it a self-governing entity, forbidden to look into its own past.

In the present time two outsiders come to Rotherweird, for very different reasons, and though they have very few things in common, each will act as catalyst in a chain of events that will bring to light long-forgotten secrets.

From the ratings I gather that this can be considered a Marmite book, though I loved it and raced through it in a matter of days. This doesn't mean that it isn't without flaws, but the book seen as a whole more than makes up for it. Andrew Caldecott, as the omniscient narrator, describes the unfolding of events with a wry and gentle humour and often beautiful prose, despite the horrors one encounters; the characters (a large cast, thankfully with a list of principal characters included in the prelims) are carefully drawn and stand out as individuals, and one can read the author's good-natured mocking between the lines.

The town of Rotherweird comes across as a character in its own right, and the plot is an inspired puzzle: the past illuminates events in the present, while the present sheds light on events in the past – a circle, which is, probably not coincidentally, one of the key themes in the novel. Towards the end the reader discovers that Andrew Caldecott has added a whole additional layer to the plot, which only adds to the mystery.

Sasha Laika's illustrations are inspired and help to turn reading Rotherweird into an experience.

The book ends on a semi-cliffhanger and prepares the reader for the events in Wyntertide, the sequel; I for one can't wait to travel to Rotherweird again. ( )
  passion4reading | Apr 19, 2018 |
I found this quite an interesting magical realistic read. In the Elizabethan era (the first one) the town was founded and it has only a few rules, no history older than 200 years, but history has a way of breaking free and influencing the future. Secrets rarely stay secret and the new teacher of history, Jonah Oblong is drawn in. Things are not helped by the new owner of the manor house, Sir Veronal Slickstone and his meddling in things that were hidden and it all becomes quite messy. Understanding the past is important to surviving the present but finding the truth about the past where everyone is trying to ignore the past is hard.

It's an interesting conceit and an interesting story and I'm looking forward to more. ( )
  wyvernfriend | Apr 3, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
A fantasy trilogy might seem an unlikely venture for a distinguished QC, but Andrew Caldecott has already tried his hand at drama, and received good notices. And on closer acquaintance, there are congruences between the first episode, Rotherweird and his day job. Though it resembles the love child of Gormenghast without the rancour, and Hogwarts without the rightful heir, it diverges from the usual fantasy templates.
added by 9thEagle | editThe Guardian, Gwyneth Jones (May 18, 2017)
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One for sorrow: Mary Tudor, a magpie queen – dress black, face chill white, pearls hanging in her hair like teardrops – stands in the pose of a woman with child, her right palm flat across her swollen belly.
How more knowledge can deepen a mystery, he reflected ruefully. (p. 195)
You discuss the present, but you cannot begin to grasp it, and the future it holds, without reliving the past. (p. 303)
History had her claws in the present and, he did not doubt, in what was yet to come. (p. 318)
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Haiku summary
Don't delve into the
past or you'll unearth secrets
that shape the present.

No descriptions found.

The town of Rotherweird stands alone, there are no guidebooks, despite the fascinating and diverse architectural styles cramming the narrow streets, the avant garde science and offbeat customs. Cast adrift from the rest of England by Elizabeth I, Rotherweird's independence is subject to one disturbing condition: nobody, but nobody, studies the town or its history. For beneath the enchanting surface lurks a secret so dark that it must never be rediscovered, still less reused. But secrets have a way of leaking out. Two inquisitive outsiders have arrived: Jonah Oblong, to teach modern history at Rotherweird School (nothing local and nothing before 1800), and the sinister billionaire Sir Veronal Slickstone, who has somehow got permission to renovate the town's long-derelict Manor House.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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