Erasmus Hobart and the Golden Arrow by Andrew Fish, Review
Erasmus Hobart and the Golden Arrow Synopsis
In this time-travelling romp, Andrew Fish brings a new slant to the classic legend. Erasmus Hobart is the perfect new adventurer for fans of Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett.
Robin Hood was a crook! But was he as good a crook as the legends suggest? That’s what Erasmus Hobart – school teacher, history fanatic, time-traveller – wants to find out. In this, his first adventure, Erasmus takes his time-travelling privy back to medieval Nottingham in his quest for knowledge. But with homicidal knights, amorous female outlaws and mischievous squirrels complicating his investigation, will he uncover the truth in time to get back and mark 4A’s history homework?
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I am almost loathe to say this, as it may turn people off, but Erasmus Hobart and the Golden Arrow is such a lovely book. It exudes a refreshing sense of goodness in its characters, its humour and the way it entertains the reader. Don’t for a minute think there aren’t baddies in this tale – there are – but they are baddies in a ‘Monty Python’ sort of style – the attack is borne more from ignorance than malice. And there are a lot of highly amusing chase scenes… think G rated Benny Hill.
So where was everyone? It was as if aliens had descended on the town during a busy lunch hour and carted them all off. He chuckled to himself. Aliens. A preposterous idea – the stuff of poor science fiction. He looked back to make sure his time machine didn’t look too out of place then continued towards the square, stopping periodically to scrape more horse dung from his boot.
Leading man Erasmus Hobart is a very endearing, hapless sort of fellow. Socially awkward in his home time, his intelligence and big heart serve him well as a time traveller. The humour in this novel is beautifully understated – farce and irony metered out in just the right doses at just the right times.
It is author Andrew Fish’s focus on details and activity in the periphery in Erasmus Hobart and the Golden Arrow that add depth and layering to what is a relatively simple plot.
Lovely touches include recurring references to what the squirrels might think of the goings on below them, and the philosophies of two unusually observant guys Erasmus meets in a pub. Fish’s skill in writing entertaining character dialogue is also worthy of mention.
In these days where shock and awe tactics are so often used in fiction, it will probably be hard for this unassuming novel to compete commercially. Though I do hope Andrew Fish’s more wholesome yet witty style on display in Erasmus Hobart and the Golden Arrow gains traction with readers because I would love to read about more of Erasmus Hobart’s adventures in the future (or should I say, in the past!)
BOOK RATING: The Story 4 / 5 ; The Writing 4 / 5
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Genre: Humour, Mystery, Adventure, Historical
About the Author, Andrew Fish
In 1972, Andrew Fish was born in Chatham, Kent. He promptly escaped and made his way to the heart of Sherwood Forest, where he now lives as a software engineer and aspiring author.
Andrew Fish has had a long, varied writing career, starting writing in his teens, mostly for pleasure, but a piece of what would now be called flash fiction entitled Exit Darwin made it onto BBC Radio Kent in the early 1990’s. Since then he has had various brushes with publishing success, from an almost signed radio comedy in the early 2000’s, to various attempts to get properly published throughout the last decade or so. He has just release his second novel, Seige Mentality.
* My receiving an ebook copy of this title from HarperCollins imprint Authonomy for review purposes in no way hindered the expression of my honest opinions in the above.