'With its fast-moving plots, packed with information, London tells a two-thousand year tale of families in England's capital, from Roman to present times.
Segovax, a Celtic boy with webbed fingers and a white flash in his hair, who tries to save his father from Julius Caesar and his Roman legions, is the ancestor of both the poor Doggets and the aristocratic Duckets., Saxon Bulls and Carpenters, Viking Barnikels, Norman Silversleeves, Flemings from Flanders, Merediths from Wales, the Protestant Penny family, Huguenots from France, Scottish Forsyths--as they interact and intermarry, reflect the rich genealogy of the British, a nation of immigrants.
As the city grows, we witness London's Roman amphitheatre, Chaucer's London Bridge, the building of the Tower of London, of Shakespeare's Globe and might St. Pauls, the growth of the mean streets of Dickens and the fashionable West End.
The family saga involves the characters in the Norman Conquest, the massacre of the Jews, magna carta and Parliament's rise, and the Peasant's Revolt. We watch the martyrdom of St Thomas More, the beheading of Charles I, the visit of Pocahontas, and the sailing of the Mayflower. We experience the Plague and Fire of London, and Hitler's Blitz. Through Rutherfurd's rich research, we learn about the workings of medieval whorehouses, the College of Heralds, cockney rhyming slang, the South Sea Bubble, the great run on the banks of 1825, and the scandal caused by the suffragettes.
Aristocrats and stonemasons, brewers and grocers, alderman and prostitutes, forgers and bodysnatchers, every class and type is to be found in the great river of life that, like the river Thames itself, flows ceaselessly though London.'
This book is massive. I love Edward Rutherfurd's way of weaving history and storytelling, but man, his books are huge. This one topped out at 1000+ pages and it took me forever to read this one. Of course, it would have went a lot easier, had I not been in the process of buying my first house and going on a work trip to Puerto Rico. That really didn't help the fact that it took me so long to read this one. If you don't mind the size of the book or the daunting nervousness of reading a book this huge, this is an excellent read if you want to learn more about the history of London. I am an anglophile and anything having to do with London or England, makes me very excited to read.
At times with this one, I got confused with who was who and how everyone was related. Of course, this probably had a lot to do with the fact that I went a couple of days without picking up this book to read and not so much the author's fault. There are a lot of characters and families to keep up with though, so putting this book down and not reading for a few days is not recommended. Rutherfurd offers his readers a slew of historical information that overly intrigued me as a history lover. I feel like I got something out of this book with historical knowledge and have to say that this author is a fantastic story teller. He uses real historical events and people and weaves a story based around them. I find this to be utterly amazing.
If you want to read something that is based on real history, that shows a lot of research and dedication, then this is definitely a book for you. Don't expect that this one will be one that you will breeze right through. There is a lot of information to learn and you should take the time to savor all of the rich history and detail that this author provides to the reader. Another wonderful read by Edward Rutherfurd.
Overall Rating: 4
Author: Edward Rutherfurd
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: October 29, 2002 (Reprint)
Genre: Historical Fiction
Get It: Amazon; Barnes & Noble
Disclaimer: This book was purchased by myself and I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.