Edward Rutherfurd is a pen name for Francis Edward Wintle (born 1948 in Salisbury, England) known primarily as a writer of epic historical novels. His debut novel Sarum set the pattern for his work with a ten-thousand year storyline.
Educated locally and at Cambridge University and Stanford Business School, where he was a Sloan scholar, he worked in political research, bookselling and publishing. After numerous attempts to write books and plays, he finally abandoned his career in the book trade in 1983, and returned to his childhood home to write Sarum, a historical novel with a ten-thousand year story, set in the area around the ancient monument of Stonehenge and Salisbury. Four years later, when the book was published, it became an instant international bestseller, remaining 23 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List. Since then he has written five more bestsellers: Russka, a novel of Russia; London; The Forest, set in England's New Forest which lies close by Sarum, and two novels, Dublin: Foundation (The Princes of Ireland) and Ireland: Awakening (The Rebels of Ireland), which cover the story of Ireland from the time just before Saint Patrick to the twentieth century, and finally New York as of 2009. His books have been translated into twenty languages. Rutherfurd settled near Dublin, Ireland in the early 1990s, but currently divides his time between Europe and North America.
Rutherfurd’s novels chronicle the history of settlements through their development up to modern day, mixing fictional characters and families with real people and events -- a kind of historical fiction pioneered by James Michener.
New York: The Novel, won the Langum Prize for American Historical Fiction in 2010.
Known as a James Michener disciple, Rutherfurd invents four to six fictional families and tells the stories of their descendants. Using this framework, he weaves them in and out of historical situations, having them interact not only with each other, but also with significant historical figures.
Rutherfurd's novels are generally at least 500 pages and sometimes even over 1,000. Divided into a number of parts, each chapter represents a different era in the area of the novel's history. There is usually an extensive family tree in the introduction, and each generational line matches with the corresponding chapters.