Book Review: Erasmus Hobart and the Golden Arrow by Andrew Fish

41BbR+koRDLI know what you’re thinking…sheesh, this guy disappears for over four days and when he finally comes back, he gives us a crappy book report?  Well, all I have to say to that is, expect another one soon, suckers, because I like to read when I’m hiding in the middle of the northwoods with nothing else to do!

But seriously….books are great, you should read more.  And here’s where I tell you about another book I think you should read.

When I was finally getting myself out there to try and find other authors in the hopes that I could convince them to tell me everything they hated about my books so I could, you know, finally maybe make the thing something people would want to read, I ended up on a site called authonomy.  I know..you know about the site already.  You also know how it’s run by Harper Collins and they have this silly little contest by which the people who manage to make it to the top of a list actually get their books read by people who are apparently called editors and get some sort of review out of the whole thing, all with the very very very small prospect of getting your book actually published as an additional reward.

Erasmus Hobart and the Golden Arrow, by Andrew Fish, may or may not have actually made it to the top of the list, but it did get published by authonomy and spent a fair amount of time in all of the banner ads on the site, just to add to the author tears that crop up whenever we find out that someone has actually been paid for writing.

When I got a note stating the book was being offered up for free, I had to read it, just so I could spit on the concept that someone else was more deserving than me and prove to the world that it’s all a game of nepotism and prostitution…

I promise I’m not really that needy…

I actually was pretty interested in the tale.  All I really knew (and all I needed to know) was that it involved time travel and Robin Hood…two of my favorite childhood topics.

Erasmus Hobart and the Golden Arrow opens up in the middle of a great action sequence, almost making the reader feel as if they somehow missed a few pages as the titular hero makes his way through a medieval marketplace being chased by a horde of angry whosits.  He finally makes it into his time travel machine (which looks like an outhouse) and travels back to present day England…where he’s a teacher.

It’s not until we see him in his element during the original modern day segment where we, as readers, truly get a feel of what this story will entail.  First, a clever narration who crafts a story in a fashion like humorous authors of the past, such as Mark Twain or Douglas Adams.  The narrator never seems to take himself too seriously.  But the real mark of this story’s greatness lies within the character of Erasmus.  A bumbling idiot who is really only moved forward by scientific curiosity and his strict moral code…he’s not an idiot, but early scenes will definitely cause you to picture a Dick van Dyke-esque man as he stumbles his way through his daily life.

But the book doesn’t end its glory merely with its characters and tone, the actual tale itself is quite grand.  A time travel story that keeps from getting too convoluted, this reimagined origin story of Robin Hood and his legend really does make the reader feel as though they are living the real history of this well-told time.  Familiar characters make their necessary appearances, of course, such as Robin Hood, Maid Marian, and the Sheriff of Nottingham, but they are secondary to the real story and the real characters, like Erasmus, Maude, and Deloial.  In fact, you almost see a parallel between the three characters of legend and the three characters created here.  Although Erasmus should never be allowed the handle a bow.

It’s a brilliantly crafted story and I fully believe you’ll enjoy it as well.

 
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