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About the Author

Image credit: Gabriel Hemery

Works by Gabriel Hemery

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Nationality
Britain, UK
Places of residence
Oxford, England, UK
Awards and honors
Roger Deakin Award (2021, Society of Authors)
Short biography
Dr Gabriel Hemery is an author, tree photographer, and silvologist (forest scientist). He has written four books, both fiction and non-fiction, and appears regularly on TV and radio talking about trees and the environment. He co-founded an environmental tree charity, the Sylva Foundation, and is currently its Chief Executive.

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Reviews

This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I received a free copy through Library Thing's early reviewer program, although it was lost in a spam folder for over a year; sorry about that.

I believe I requested this novel because the blurb described it as a retelling of a fairy tale? But most of the elements of Wolf, Walnut, and Woodsman are new. The book blurb on Amazon says, "Once buried in ancient scriptures, this brave retelling reveals the truths behind the creation of our most celebrated legend." But the 'ancient scripture' is Roots 1:1-3; although the language is reminiscent of the opening of the gospel of John, this scripture is fictional. The pseudo-religious elements, although underlying the framing of the story are rare in the narrative itself. Cordina's arrival is foretold as parousia (a Greek term meaning "arrival," but used in the new testament as a reference to the second coming). Cordina has a magic powers, which she briefly studies, and this "beam" (plus her axe) is the light she uses to overcome the darkness. But the actual confrontation between Cordina and the devil (a term used only in the "epic poem") is brief and anticlimactic in that it hasn't actually been built toward throughout the novel. These elements can be safely ignored, to the improvement of the narrative. Cordina grows from traumatized child to fierce young woman and is crowned champion woodsman of all Askraland.

The Foreword is written by a character in the novel. He or she recommends that those unfamiliar with the history of their world begin with the epic poem at the end of the novel. I read that poem, but it obscured more than it explained; only as I read the actual novel did I recognize elements from the poem. Similarly, in chapter 8, a more knowledgeable protagonist elucidates what has been happening to the main character, but her explanation of a "diavol" with "a willing doomserf by his side" didn't clarify the plot.

The Wolf, the Walnut, and the Woodsman is well written. For example, "[The walnut] was foolishly light yet flew from her hand towards the next figure as if sprung from a great yew bow. Passing through the forks of a dozen swaying branches, fought and won against the swirling currents, flying straight as an arrow. It flew as true as only righteous vengeance deserved."

The story is interesting and the plot engaging. As noted, nothing is clear at the beginning of the novel, but the main character is only an 8-year-old girl at that point, so the reader's confusion mirrors her own. Cordina witnesses the brutal murder of her parents, and whoever - or whatever- killed the adults seeks the girl who got away, so she disguises herself as a boy. From this point, her pronouns change depending on whether she or another character is telling the story. I like how this illustrates the scene for the reader. Cordin lives with a baker and apprentices with a smith. She also has visions of a great wolf, named Raunsveig, whom she inscribes on the head of the axe she forges, and once she sees a two-trunked tree who was once able to walk. When her mysterious enemy finds her, despite her disguise, Cordina joins the crew of a ship. She survives a shipwreck and crosses the treacherous mountains to return home and take up her task as woodsman.
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AliciaBooks | 3 other reviews | Mar 12, 2024 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I enjoyed this fantasy book more than I thought I would. Fantasy isn’t my preferred genre, but I think I’m willing to give more fantasy books a shot after reading this one. Códrina is a well constructed character who had many interesting obstacles to overcome in order to find har place as heroine. I recommend this read to those who like fantasy books and strong female characters.

Thank you to LibraryThing Early Reads for providing this Advance Reader Copy. All thoughts on this book are my own, free from outside influence.… (more)
 
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RikkiH | 3 other reviews | Aug 5, 2022 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Review of eBook

On the eve of her eighth birthday, Codrina’s world turns upside down when intruders burst into her house and murder her parents. Codrina runs, but the killers follow, searching for her. Outwitting the pursuers, she masquerades as a boy and finds safety in her new adopted family.

Forced to run once again, Codrina finds sanctuary within a religious community. A hard journey leads her to the silver mines. But will she find the way to fulfill her destiny? Is she truly the one the legend foretold?

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An epic fantasy, set in the legendary alternative world of Askraland, this is a tale of one girl’s journey to find herself as she fulfills her destiny. Intriguing characters, an inventive plot, and an interesting premise are sure to leave readers hoping Codrina will succeed.

There are several unexpected surprises as the compelling plot twists and turns; an undercurrent of apprehension keeps readers concerned for Codrina’s well-being.

The world-building here is fascinating, creating a believable alternative land with just enough familiarity for readers to feel comfortable. Additionally, the strong environmental emphasis is a highlight in the telling of the tale.

For readers who enjoy this genre, there is much to appreciate here.

Recommended.

I received a free copy of this book through the LibraryThing Early Readers program
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jfe16 | 3 other reviews | Jul 14, 2022 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The Wolf, the Walnut, and the Woodsman by Gabriel Hemery was different. The first part was interesting, the world-building was a bit slow. Things seem to slow down in the middle and towards the end. The climax was a bit jumbled. I could have done without the added passionate kiss at the end. It was enjoyable and if you have time a decent read. Like I said that passionate kiss at the end was so unnecessary and didn't add to the story at all.
 
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Antares1 | 3 other reviews | Jul 9, 2022 |

Statistics

Works
5
Members
48
Popularity
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Rating
4.1
Reviews
5
ISBNs
10
Languages
1