LondonBook - 1997
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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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