London has perhaps the most remarkable history of any city in the world. Now, its story has a unique voice. In this epic novel, Edward Rutherfurd takes the reader on a magnificent journey across sixteen centuries from the days of the Romans to the Victorian engineers of Tower Bridge and the era of Dockland development today. Through the lives and adventures of his colourful cast of characters, he brings all the richness of London's past unforgettably to life.
Edward Rutherfurd belongs to the James Michener school: he writes big, sprawling history-by- the-pound. His novel, London, stretches two millennia all the way from Roman times to the present. The author places his vignettes at the most dramatic moments of that city's history, leaping from Caesar's invasion to the Norman Conquest to the Great Fire to (of course) the Blitz, with many stops in between. London is ambitious, and students of English history will eat it up. The author doesn't skimp on historical detail, and that's a signal pleasure of the book. Ultimately, though, the structure of the novel determines the lion's share of its success. Rutherfurd is a good storyteller and each vignette makes for a good story; however, he has given himself the inevitable task of beginning what amounts to a new book every 40 pages or so. Just as one begins to warm to the characters, they are hurried off the stage. You can't read London without a scorecard—but that's part of the fun.
Last summer, I was searching for the perfect book to take with me to the beach. I wanted something big and juicy that I could savor throughout my week-long vacation. At my husband's urging, I chose LONDON by Edward Rutherford. At first, I was sceptical about this book because, unlike my husband, I'm not a big history lover. I found, however, that this book was a perfect blend of drama AND history. The story, which includes an immense cast of characters, was extremely engrossing, and the historical detail made the story all the more rich and enjoyable. I couldn't have picked a better book to read!
An added benefit of this book was that it inspired yet another vacation -- this time to -- you guessed it -- London. In addition to a wonderful read, this book serves as a great travel guide. Rutherford spent many hours researching the book in the Museum of London, so that was our first stop. But then we branched out and toured the entire city with LONDON in hand. I'd lived in London some years ago and never had much interest in the City of London, but now I wanted to take a closer look. LONDON is filled with maps, so you can use these as your guide to check out how the city has changed over time (from Roman & Saxon to Medieval & Tudor, to Georgian & Victorian, to present day). It's really fascinating!
-- Jennifer Richards
Ballantine Books Publicity
From the Publisher