Certainly not for the fainthearted, this 800+ page novel on the history of London is true to the author's form. Rutherford so skillfully weaves detailed fiction and fact that YAs may have to head for the reference books to verify which is which. Basically, the story is London's evolution from a trading post to the seat of an Empire and the families who lived that history. Through the adventures and everyday lives of these characters, one can go to Shakespeare's Globe Theater, tend the plague patients with Dr. Richard Meredith, attend hangings at Newgate Prison, weep at the loss of life and limb due to "God's fire," visit the taverns with Chaucer and his pilgrims, and have other experiences in this exciting city. A special book for readers who have a burning interest in history and the stick-to-itiveness to finish and reflect on it. A perfect choice for the summer hiatus or winter holidays.
I READ THIS BEFORE A TRIP TO LONDON. IT'S A GOOD HISTORY OF THE CITY, VERY DETAILED AND WRITTEN WITH CHARACTERS THAT FLOW OVER CENTURIES. SLOW AT TIMES, BUT I LIKED THE HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE ENOUGH TO KEEP READING AND I ENJOYED THE BOOK
The historical recount of London told through fictional characters. Throughout the ages, from pre-Roman to the 20th century, new characters related to past characters move throughout London as their stories are told. Great Book...a little long, but intriguing beginning to end.
My kind of book. The author takes an area and analyzes it from it's earliest known beginnings, highlighting every factor that makes it what it is today, and painting a colorful and entertaining picture of the London that was and is today. Rutherford follows the sweeping spectrum of the history of London through the lives of various archetypical families throughout the ages. Very entertaining.
For me the thing I will go away with is how long this book is. 1126 pages of one author's view of the city of London. Starting in the age of the glaciers and ending in 1997 is a long time. I was enlightened about some trivia from English history but I was disappointed that with so many pages and so many years so little was given to the real diversity of a huge sea port. I was looking for there to be a more expansive account of the people from everywhere and what they brought to London. The focus remained very inward and domestic. The main goal of every character seemed to marry and breed. Perhaps it was the device of following a number of families and their various incarnations in differing time periods. This model became predictable and lost its appeal in over a thousand pages. I great city is a stage for so much more than the quest to survive in one the same model with new costumes. It seemed to me this took a long time to cover a major gate way of people and ideas in a very controlled tour with as little dash as possible
This is a very interesting read--a fictionalized group of characters living in the real-world context of London, from about 50BC through the publishing date. The book is quite lengthy, but is broken up into chapters, each of which contains a separate (yet interconnected) story of London's inhabitants. A good read for anyone who has even the slightest interest in the history of London (specifically) or English inhabitants (generally).
Fascinating (but long) book of London and its origins, spanning the ages since BC. For me, there were almost too many characters to remember (but my memory's not the best). However, since I've always been fascinated by London it was an informing and entertaining saga, explaining the origins of so many things-(Ring Around the Rosy comes from the Black Plague!) If you like a good long book to sink your teeth into and you love history, this is a great one!
This IS a good epic novel. Not quite as good as "Sarum" but almost. Great research and attention to detail and a very plausible enjoyable story of London from the beginning. Not a book to speed read through, sit back and enjoy the ride.
A lengthy book that sat on my shelf awhile, just because it was too daunting to think about investing the time during the school year. I couldn't put it down!
This is a history of the city of London told via several families' stories. It is a fascinating look at everyday life during different periods of time and how the leadership (or lack thereof) helped our current system of democracy evolve. The 'big picture' story of the city is historically engaging, but the individual stories used to convey the city's story give a glimpse of how families are affected by the political and economic circumstances of one period for generations later.
It was creative and lively and kept me coming back. Though I do have to admit, that it took me a long time to finish it just because I do have other responsibilities during the school term that consume a lot of my time.
As in his earlier sagas, SARUM and LONDON, Rutherford evokes the history of a time and place by writing interlocking stories of individual men and women and their descendants over many years. The history of Ireland takes shape as Rutherford details the stories of Irish people from the dawn of time through the reign of Henry VIII.