The Novel

Book - 2005
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A fictionalized account of the City of London, tracing its role in history and describing succeeding generations of families associated with its fortunes. Interwoven are the everyday lives of ordinary people, from London as a Celtic settlement, 2,000 years ago, to its finest hour during the Blitz in World War II.
Publisher: New York :, Ballantine Books,, 2005
Edition: 1st. trade paperback ed
Description: xix, 1126 pages : maps, genealogical table ; 21 cm
Copyright Date: ©1997
ISBN: 9780345455680
Branch Call Number: Ruth


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KarenTherese Apr 17, 2020

I simply relished this title and the discovery of a new author, Edmund Rutherfurd! It was like I dropped into another time realm to experience the wonders and terrors of London as it evolved. I am now reading another title by Rutherfurd; .Russka! It is even more evocative!

Apr 06, 2020

I never thought that a random find in a hostel book exchange would become one of my favorite books and top recommendations for anyone looking for memorable historical fiction. The audacity of Rutherfurd, proposing to centralize London as the main character in a fictional biography, peaked my curiousity, and I was not disappointed. Each chapter reads like a novella, each human character's story interwoven in compelling ways with the characters of the chapters previous, all while Rutherfurd takes the reader on a lovingly researched and crafted tour of London's significant and often overlooked landmarks. I dragged my friends all over London using this book as a guide. They weren't impressed with the foundations of the temple of Mithras sitting silent in the shadow of the Gerkin, but my mind raced with imagining the scenes Rutherfurd depicted there. I've never felt more thrilled by historical fiction!

Jun 23, 2019

This book is a classic.
Anyone with an interest in or travelling to London should read it.

SPL_Heather Jul 29, 2016

A full review of this historical fiction tome can be found under "Summary," which was first published in the Stratford Gazette on 28 July 2016.

Mar 19, 2016

through the rood. much of a mixture with europe, italy and the celts. slave trade, white. perhaps two groups lead, one of the welch and the other of essex and london. more of a euro mixture i believe from the new forest on to kent and eastern.2]it would seem after the romans left there was a period of growth but unorganized perhaps as gov't or country and thus the church reappears in the 10th and trade now becomes an art associated with it. responsibility seems all eastern and europe seems all of marriage and knowledge thus york first and then london to follow but from different countries=lose lips. and then is it his own son...? william?[2] it would appear with the entry of villainous clerks in the abbey one who was picked for the crown could use a younger brother, put him into safety and thus rule and reign both courts simultaneously...perhaps thus begets good versus evil...dom, dom, dom... almost to the bridge...and the fires of 1087&1666? certain movements [various religions = kingdoms and alliances] all under Christendom and at one time likely holy roman, thus change a few beliefs and keep your taxes but to see this over the land as the actual king, the segregation, which half is doing what and for whom?

Feb 07, 2015

An interesting fictional history of London for Anglophiles. Told in an entertaining way.

Jun 24, 2014

This was an amazing journey through the centuries of this city. Fictional families, interwoven with political and religious history. Well worth the time it took to read it. I'm now embarking on his book "Russka". It should certainly be fascinating and educational as well.

Nov 24, 2013

LondonI London --- by Edward Rutherford. A big book ;a long, splendid novel that encompasses, literally, two thousand years in time and tells the tales of families who have always lived in this town --- from the days of the Roman Empire through the present. These are tales of joy and happiness. These are tales of great loss and suffering. These are tales that offer an insight into the lives of grinding poverty of the lowest classes of the Victorian age. These are tales that take you into the parlours of those with unbelievable wealth and influence. While he limes the histories of these families Rutherford also tells the tale of London (and by extension the story of Britain). Those with at least a nodding acquaintance with the city will find themselves transported back to earlier days when the city looked much different; when current architectural landmarks were a-building or not even yet dreamed of. The book and its language are almost poetic in their style reminiscent at times of more genteel works. Many of London’s pivotal citizens are here from Julius Caesar to Elizabeth I; from King Richard the Lion Heart to the air raid wardens of WW II.

Lorna Jan 21, 2011

I really enjoyed this novel and I didn't expect to. I remember not liking his first book, "Sarum", when it came out but I thought I would give Rutherfurd a try again. The characters in "London" are believable with everyday struggles. I also like the etymological angle of the novel, where words deriving from place names and events in and around London are explained. There are some great plot twists as well.

Jun 29, 2006

This is a wonderful read for those who've been to London, want to go to London, or are interested in London's history. It is jam-packed with information, yet it remains enjoyable to read.

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Feb 07, 2015

krenetskyj thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


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SPL_Heather Jul 29, 2016

London is the epic story of the history of that famous city which opens two thousand years ago during Roman times and concludes in the 21st century. Each chapter is set in a particular time period and tells the history of the city through the experiences of members of interconnected families. Descendants of half a dozen major families show us the politics, economics, and society of London through the Roman occupation, Norman Conquest, Elizabethan Globe, to the Blitz.

This work is a book of historical fiction but meticulous research was conducted by the author Edward Rutherfurd to give the reader a glimpse into everyday life of Londoners during multiple points in time. Although the characters in each chapter and the families they belong to are fiction, real life personalities such as Julius Caesar, Geoffrey Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Charles Dickens do make cameo appearances. Since characters only appear for a brief chapter or two, there isn’t the pull of a particular character’s experiences to drive the plot. Rather, family histories and the story of the city drive us forward. These characters are just devices to personalize the social history of London.

As such, this novel feels more like a series of interconnected short stories as family descendants in subsequent chapters remind us of their ancestors. This is a great book to pick up and put down, and you’ll need to as the eBook version is almost 1200 pages. It’s best enjoyed chapter by chapter as linked stories of greed, love, ambition, and struggle.

The pacing is leisurely as the immense historical details and lush descriptions fill the page. After reading a chapter, you feel that not only have you learned about a key point in British history, but that you have additional insight into how people lived and how political edicts or economic events impacted these everyday citizens. Borrow this eBook whether you’re a fan of historical fiction, interested in the city, or are an avowed Anglophile.


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