Quick ‘n Dirty: Andrew Fish – Erasmus Hobart and the Golden Arrow

Quick ‘n Dirty is a term used for that first quick search you perform when starting a new research project. It doesn’t have to be exhaustive and all encompassing; it’s just an exploratory search to see what is out there and to collect more search terms before starting a true literature review. I thought it would be a good description for reviews of shorter works, such as short stories or novellas or for less comprehensive reviews of longer works. They may not be as in-depth as I usually try to write my reviews, but hopefully they’ll be a good introduction and indication whether you’d like the stories or books reviewed.

andrewfish-erasmushobartIn 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 mediaeval 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?

Erasmus Hobart and the Golden Arrow is a relatively short novel at 212 pages, but it is quite entertaining for all of them. Published through HarperCollins’ Authonomy imprint, it is a delightful retelling of the Robin Hood legend through the eyes of a time-traveling history cum physics teacher. Erasmus Hobart is a young and well-meaning teacher, who has built his own time-travelling machine in a store room off his class room. In the hours after his pupils have gone home, Erasmus tinkers about with intricate calculations and the privy he remodelled into a time machine, all the while hiding what he does from the school’s nosy head master. Inspired by the school play and some questions from his history pupils who he’s teaching about Magna Carta, he travels back to the time of King Richard and King John to find out the truth behind the legend of Robin Hood.

What we get in Fish’s tale is a funny, entertaining look at time travel and its consequences, because of course Erasmus’ arrival in Sherwood Forest complicates matters and changes the Robin’s legend forever. In fact, Fish emphasises that even if we don’t interact, just our being there can change things. The characters are quite entertaining if a bit droll at times. I especially loved Maude, Erasmus’ medieval love interest, or perhaps it’s more correct to say he was her love interest. She was funny and capable and I love that she’s the one who saves him every time he gets himself into a mess. A pair that made me laugh every time they made it on page were the two information brokers at the inn. Not only were they hilarious, but they had a very cool part in the story. Also, the inn made me think of the Snuggly Duckling, the inn from Tangled, which made me chuckle. Marian and Robin are definitely not the people we’ve come to know and love from the legend and I found especially Marian and her maidens refreshing. They can take care of themselves and are even more bad-ass than Robin and his Merry Men.

Erasmus Hobart and the Golden Arrow is the perfect read for a dreary weekend or on holiday. It’s fun, it’s quick, and most of all it’s light -hearted. Yes, there are some ponderings of time travel problems, but these are secondary to the comedy aspect of the story. I look forward to seeing more of Erasmus’ adventures in the future.

This book was provided for review by the publisher.

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