“The leaf moved and scurried in a circular motion, he realised it was a tiny shrew. It was too late to brake or swerve, Victor glanced in the rear view mirror a split second later, the shrew was still there in the centre of the lane, going about its business, known only to itself; an insignificant creature in the grand scale of things, but important to itself as we all are.”
A long established simple country life is shattered by a conspiracy of violence and deceit; that reaches far beyond a small country village.
“Dare to venture into the dark woods?”
Victor Drew, the gamekeeper at the Brockleston shoot, receives a threatening letter from what appears to be a group of animal rights activists, threatening the future of his job and the continuation of sporting activities on the estate. But he knows that Richard Mowbray, Lord Hugo Brockleston’s land agent, has no loyalty to the estate’s long-standing traditions.
Victor cannot imagine the size of the storm that is just over the horizon, nor the strength of the forces stacked against him and the countryside traditions he upholds.
The Shrew brilliantly encapsulates one man’s attachment to traditional rural life and culture in the face of the depredations of an uncaring, modern world.
A review written by Stephen O'Kane for The Shrew
What a great story The Shrew is! Gordon is obviously a man who himself is close to the land, and out from his closeness to nature he tells a tale of the cruel theft of a man’s livelihood. The Shrew is a story about sabotage: lives, whether they be human or animal. It is a fine example of how ancient and passionate traditions are disappearing in Britain and are being forced into history, insignificant to the greater many and remembered only by the few. I enjoyed reading The Shrew, and like all good books that find a permanent home on my bookcase, I shall take great joy in reading it again.
A review written by Deborah Berkeley for The Shrew
An excellent book for lovers of country life, with an exceptional attention to detail showing a deep understanding and love of its infrastructure, warts and all. It deals with both a reflection on past glories and changing times equally but without sentimentality through the eyes of its characters: nothing is permanent, and all things change however much the characters might wish otherwise.
A review written by Val Cornish for The Shrew
Set on what remains of a once extensive game shoot on a declining great estate, the shrew tells the dark and haunting tale of a solitary gamekeeper trying to protect his livelihood and traditional rural lifestyle against an unknown and largely unseen malevolent force that is set against him. Victor Drew the central character of the book is the real `shrew` in the tale, like the tiny solitary mammal, he shows his true determination and aggression when faced with impossible odds. The other characters in the book are very realistic and developed with a great understanding of the intricacies of how individuals of all social levels interact through field sports such as shooting and hunting. The unwelcome visitors to the estate who are the source of Victor’s problems are described with an unnerving accuracy and far too deep a knowledge for the reader to be comfortable with. If Thomas Hardy was still around in the 21st century, I could imagine producing similar tales. Not only does it provide some excellent observations of the sport of shooting both past and present; it also has the elements of a good thriller and crime novel. Anyone with an interest in the countryside in general is likely to find it an interesting and absorbing read. Far from being bland political statement; the book is a finely crafted tale with an intriguing and at times very disturbing plot and so in many ways it should have wide appeal. The imagery in the book is extremely vivid, it is clear that Gordon\'s writing is based on his real life experiences. The fine detail of events and scenes is very informative and the reader could almost be there with him and the tale roles on at a cracking pace towards its surprising and tragic end and The chapters outside the UK are excellent and at times it almost becomes a travel book; such is the accuracy of its research, this shows in the descriptions of events during a big game hunt in South Africa and a contrived business trip to the Amazon in Ecuador. I was put in mind of a reincarnation of Hemmingway at times.
A review written by George Lewis for The Shrew
ALTHOUGH THE SETTING IS ON ANOTHER CONTINENT, THE STORY PARALLELS WHAT IS HAPPENING IN TEXAS. THE LOSS OF CUSTOMS AND TRADITIONS IS ONGOING AND DOWN RIGHT DISHEARTENING. "THE SHREW" HITS CLOSE TO HOME WITH IT'S STORY LINE. THERE TRULY IS A GOOD MYSTERY IN THIS BOOK, YOU WON'T BE DISAPPOINTED.
A review written by Phil Curlin for The Shrew
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