This tome is advertised as a companion piece to the earlier Rutherfurd novel, Sarum, and it is just that. Whereas Sarum dealt primarily with the more urbanized area in and around Salisbury, The Forest deals with the adjacent rural area encompassed by the King's Forest. Very similar in style and scope to other Rutherfurd works, it is still my opinion that his best work remains Russka. Perhaps due to having read roughly half a dozen of Rutherfurd's novels, I'm beginning to appreciate them less and less. "Familiarity breeds contempt." I've run into some of the same thing in Clancy and Michener (and more keenly with Cirque du Soliel) where I found that their later works were less satisfying than earlier efforts. Perhaps this is more an issue pertaining to the reader than the author. If The Forest were the first Rutherfurd work I ever read, perhaps it would be my favorite, who knows. In any event, The Forest is an entertaining and reliable read. It is pure Rutherfurd, and if you enjoyed other works by that author, you will not be disappointed, but will not likely be bowled over.