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Sarum by Edward Rutherfurd

Sarum (original 1987; edition 1987)

by Edward Rutherfurd

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2,662None2,223 (4)130
Authors:Edward Rutherfurd
Info:Crown Publishers (1987), Edition: 1st, Hardcover, 897 pages
Collections:No longer owned
Tags:Fiction, Historical Fiction, British History, Salisbury Plain, Stonehenge

Work details

Sarum by Edward Rutherfurd (1987)

Britain (32) British (15) British History (18) cathedrals (8) England (254) English (16) English History (19) epic (19) fiction (389) Great Britain (8) hardcover (8) historical (73) historical fiction (420) historical novel (40) history (107) literature (10) medieval (16) Middle Ages (7) novel (50) own (12) paperback (8) read (32) saga (15) Salisbury (72) Salisbury Plain (10) Sarum (14) Stonehenge (58) to-read (45) UK (12) unread (14)

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Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
This book had the potential to be good, but clearly I need to stop reading this sort of sweeping historical epic. I generally read quickly, but when every chapter is a different story, I find it hard to get into the book, and thus don't make quick progress.
The ending especially left me very bleh.
I liked Rutherford's Paris, but this did not do it for me. ( )
  AgnesArt | Dec 10, 2013 |
If you like sweeping historical epics, this is for you. This author is the British James Michener. ( )
1 vote sswright46168 | Aug 29, 2013 |
A truly successful epic novel*, one that covers very long periods of time, is a tricky undertaking. You have to provide enough information to feed the appetites of history buffs, but you also have to balance that with a convincing human story. Rutherfurd doesn't quite achieve that balance.

Long time spans in a novel require a circus truckload of diverse characters. And at least a third of those characters have to be rich and interesting rather than an endless line-up of Whats-His-Name, So-and-So, Bad Guy, Good Girl, That-Weird-Dude-Again, etc. Rutherfurd's characters are more of the latter, unfortunately. There are a couple of stand-outs but the author gave each generation of the novel's core families repetitive traits (stuff like unusually long toes, short stature, criminality, etc.)causing them to blur together. I got a bit tired of each family replaying varied iterations of its genetic destiny. (The short guy always gets the short stick. Every. Single. Time. That one family is always nefarious. Always.)
The characters become less wooden outside of their personal dramas, when they're responding to larger patterns of political intrigue, plagues, changing technologies, and war over the centuries. That's where this book is at its best. The coming of the Black Death and the construction of Salisbury Cathedral were both particularly interesting.
So, to sum up: the historical part of this book gets an 8 out of 10, the novel part gets a 6.

* Truly successful epic novel usually = James Michener ( )
  saturnloft | Aug 28, 2013 |
Some professional reviewers complain that he gave his families the same traits generation after generation with little change. I have a copy, need to read.
  afinch11 | Aug 20, 2013 |
An absorbing and insightful read about people who lived local to Stonehenge. ( )
  Chris.Graham | Jul 30, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
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This book is dedicated to those who built
and to those who are now trying to save
Salisbury Spire
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First, before the beginning of Sarum, came a time when the world was a colder and darker place.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0804102988, Mass Market Paperback)

A masterpiece that is breathtaking in its scope, SARUM is an epic novel that traces the entire turbulent course of English history. This rich tapesty weaves a compelling saga of five families who preserve their own particular characteristics over the centuries, and offer a fascinating glimpse into the future.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:26:09 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Follow five families over the course of 10,000 years as they portray the history of England, from the Ice Age to the present.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 6 descriptions

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