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London PDF, ePub eBook


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Title: London
Author: Edward Rutherfurd
Publisher: Published October 29th 2002 by Ballantine Books (first published January 1st 1997)
ISBN: 9780345455680
Status : FREE Rating :
4.6 out of 5

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Here is Edward Rutherfurd's classic novel of London, a glorious pageant spanning 2,000 years. He brings this vibrant city's long and noble history alive through the ever-shifting fortunes, fates, and intrigues of half-a-dozen families, from the age of Julius Caesar to the 20th century. Generation after generation, these families embody the passion, struggle, wealth, and ve Here is Edward Rutherfurd's classic novel of London, a glorious pageant spanning 2,000 years. He brings this vibrant city's long and noble history alive through the ever-shifting fortunes, fates, and intrigues of half-a-dozen families, from the age of Julius Caesar to the 20th century. Generation after generation, these families embody the passion, struggle, wealth, and verve of the greatest city in the world.

30 review for London

  1. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

    A sprawling historical novel as big as London itself - it was required reading before I went to study abroad and I've read it twice since. Rutherford did an incredible amount of research and it all comes together beautifully. The characters' family trees carry through the entire history of Britain - pre-Roman through WWII. This book is so dear to my heart!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Dave

    The third book of Rutherford's that I've read of this type. Have previously read Sarum and Russka and this book pretty much followed those; nothing really surprising or extraordinary about this book. I suggest reading this book for more of the historical facts than any sort of story-telling. As a history of London (and England) it's nice in that it's not too dry and involves a little bit of fictional aspects. However, the fact that the characters change every couple of chapters (as the narrative The third book of Rutherford's that I've read of this type. Have previously read Sarum and Russka and this book pretty much followed those; nothing really surprising or extraordinary about this book. I suggest reading this book for more of the historical facts than any sort of story-telling. As a history of London (and England) it's nice in that it's not too dry and involves a little bit of fictional aspects. However, the fact that the characters change every couple of chapters (as the narrative jumps forward in time) hurts the flow of the story and stops you from developing any sort of attachment to the characters. Really, who cares if a character gets what they want, achieves their dreams, are the good guy/bad guy, when you know that in the next chapter you'll jump ahead to their descendents where their circumstances might have completely changed?? So I'd recommend the book if you're looking for more of a historical read, rather than one based on a compelling story. Not bad and I'll probably go out and read the one Rutherford wrote about Ireland.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Chariti King Canny

    I did not like this book, and probably won't finish it though I'm 3/4 of the way through. The author goes from life to life through the history of London, and because it's such massive history, is unable to give details about the characters and environments that I usually adore. Because of this lack of detail I feel disconnected from the characters and the story. I chose to read it after going to London and wishing I could learn more about the historical day to day. I think reading seperate book I did not like this book, and probably won't finish it though I'm 3/4 of the way through. The author goes from life to life through the history of London, and because it's such massive history, is unable to give details about the characters and environments that I usually adore. Because of this lack of detail I feel disconnected from the characters and the story. I chose to read it after going to London and wishing I could learn more about the historical day to day. I think reading seperate books about different periods of the history, perhaps specific biographies might satisfy me more.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Greg

    UPDATE: An author certainly can't cover every historical event concerning London in a single volume, or perhaps even in a series of volumes. However, to me. Rutherford completely skips over a vital part of London's history, a cultural one that had a worldwide impact perhaps as much of an impact as other issues. Before laughing out loud, here me out: the world is still reeling from the impact of London's "Swinging 60's": things such as fashion, the sexual revolution, music, films, class, etc. Whe UPDATE: An author certainly can't cover every historical event concerning London in a single volume, or perhaps even in a series of volumes. However, to me. Rutherford completely skips over a vital part of London's history, a cultural one that had a worldwide impact perhaps as much of an impact as other issues. Before laughing out loud, here me out: the world is still reeling from the impact of London's "Swinging 60's": things such as fashion, the sexual revolution, music, films, class, etc. When I was a child, there were two places: North Carolina and London (Agatha Christie, the Beatles, and haircuts, etc.) I did enjoy "London" but I gotta take one star away from my original five-star review. ORIGINAL REVIEW: When King Charles exceeds his powers, Parliament revolts, Charles decides to "govern without Parliament" and to make a secret alliance with Scotland, so England charges him with treason and chops his head off. In public. Incompetent rulers, thieves, murderers, etc., are still in fashion, but so is "...a kind of hush...heard all over the world...that's the sound of lovers falling in love..." (London's Herman's Hermits pop song from the mid '60s). Thus King Charles and hundreds of other characters in this sensational novel are relevant today. It would be wonderful to think "it's nice we don't have chopping blocks anymore" but in reality we've simply changed weapons: let's not forget that a year ago, on June 12, 2016, 49 adults, partying, were shot dead at a nightclub in Orlando, Florida. In "London", Rutherford tosses his story ingredients to the sky and amazingly keeps the words flowing for 1,124 pages of literary heaven. This masterpiece of historical fiction is right up there with Follett's mesmerizing "Pillars of the Earth", which, if I recall correctly, opens with violence. Some things never change, and thankfully one of those things is, yes, the sound of hush. (Oh, and as a side note, the cover of the paperback edition I read was absorbing. I could absolutely see the image of the Eifel Tower rising among the clouds-perhaps a subliminal message from Rutherford that his "Paris" is coming soon...but those other clouds...and what, exactly are all those characters doing...gotta give this novel itself a PG rating, but that cover is definitely closing in on an R-rating.)

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

    London stretches all the way from Roman times to the present. The author tells stories at the most dramatic moments of that city's history, leaping from Caesar's invasion to the Norman Conquest to the Great Fire to the Blitz, with many stops in between. London is ambitious, and students of English history will eat it up. I really enjoyed this one.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Gary

    This epic work really does bring history alive in your as Rutherford moves from chapter to chapter effortlessly tracing the history of the remarkable city London and 5 remarkable families .There is not a dull moment and this should really awaken any interest you may have in history Incredible men and unforgettable ,often extremely sensual, women enliven the pages of this work as you gain more knowledge about England and in the last chapter the message of the book is described succinctly .The rich This epic work really does bring history alive in your as Rutherford moves from chapter to chapter effortlessly tracing the history of the remarkable city London and 5 remarkable families .There is not a dull moment and this should really awaken any interest you may have in history Incredible men and unforgettable ,often extremely sensual, women enliven the pages of this work as you gain more knowledge about England and in the last chapter the message of the book is described succinctly .The rich tapestry of different people that formed the English : Celts,Romans,Angles,Saxons,Jutes,Danes,Normans ,Flemish,German and Italian merchants , French Huguenots and in more recent times the Irish and Jewish communities in London and other big cities As an archaeology Professor puts it at the end of the book: "So when we dig deep into the earth under our feet ,and fall all that is left of that man or woman , I try to remember that what I am seeing and handling is a huge and endless compression of lives .and sometimes in our work here , I feel as if we've somehow entered that layer of compressed time ,prised open that life , a single day even , with its morning , and evening , and its blue sky and its horizon.We've opened just one of the millions and millions of windows hidden in the ground'

  7. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Ugh. Every physical description of a female character began and ended with her breasts. Wooden prose, stilted dialogue -- actually, the only thing I enjoyed about this book were the descriptions of London as it grew and changed. If Rutherfurd had written a story about the city itself, rather than bringing characters into it, I might have enjoyed it more. Maybe a better writer will attempt that book.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Debie

    If you happen to like hauling around 1000+ page books with you for weeks, you'll love this one! Although not in the same league as Ken Follett's "Pillars of the Earth" and "World Without End", this is a nice book for Follett fans who are suffering from severe withdrawal symptoms after finishing those two great novels. I probably could have done without the first 200 pages, I really didn't need to know how the White Cliffs of Dover were formed to lead into the rest of the book, but once I got pas If you happen to like hauling around 1000+ page books with you for weeks, you'll love this one! Although not in the same league as Ken Follett's "Pillars of the Earth" and "World Without End", this is a nice book for Follett fans who are suffering from severe withdrawal symptoms after finishing those two great novels. I probably could have done without the first 200 pages, I really didn't need to know how the White Cliffs of Dover were formed to lead into the rest of the book, but once I got past the first several centuries, the book became much more interesting. It also took a while for me to feel connection with the characters. Rutherfurd covers far more actual history than Follett, I found myself spending a lot of time Googling specific historical events as I read along. This book is taking me a long time to read because I wanted to see what the Tower of London looked like, I wanted to read more about London Bridge, I even rented several DVDs that coincided with the time period in the book to get a feel of the culture, costumes and setting as I read. I don't believe any book has ever "engaged" me to this degree. I certainly wouldn't consider myself a history geek, so it is a pleasant surprise that I am truly enjoying learning so much about British history. I am looking forward to finally finishing "London" (about 100 pages to go) and reading some of the other epics by Rutherfurd. After all, I've built up such great arm muscles already!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Margaret

    It's odd to read a 1,124 page novel and feel that it's too short. This is not a "haute" literature novel, but rather a sprawling ramble through the history of London - the terrain and its people - made accessible through a series of chronological tales told through the ages. As with "Sarum," Mr. Rutherfurd follows different families over the centuries, with their stories intertwining due to coincidence, marriage, and friendship. This book genre is terrific for learning little known facts, such a It's odd to read a 1,124 page novel and feel that it's too short. This is not a "haute" literature novel, but rather a sprawling ramble through the history of London - the terrain and its people - made accessible through a series of chronological tales told through the ages. As with "Sarum," Mr. Rutherfurd follows different families over the centuries, with their stories intertwining due to coincidence, marriage, and friendship. This book genre is terrific for learning little known facts, such as the origins of words or how geography shapes human history, and is not the sort of book to read for in depth explorations of personalities, thoughts, feelings, angst, etcetera - just not that sort of literature. It's been years since I visited London and "London: The Novel" made me yearn to travel there once more, especially given what I learned in this book about the growth and layout of the city. As for feeling that the book was too short, it seems to me that Mr. Rutherfurd starts to run out of steam after the Restoration period (latter half of the 17th C.), and the latter chapters in particular (Victorian through present) do not have the same complexity as the earlier stories. The last chapter is merely a few pages - it should either have been omitted or fleshed out to something at least a little more respectibly long to "match" the earlier chapters where Mr. Rutherfurd really shines.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Bezimena knjizevna zadruga

    Pomalo bizarno, i razočaravajuće, delovala mi je činjenica da je isti autor na isti način napravio knjige o Londonu, Parizu i Njujorku. Nemoguće je biti toliko posvećen, temeljan i prisutan u istoriji tako različitih mesta, mislio sam i odabrao londonsku priču, pre svega zbog britanskog porekla autora računajući da je tu na svom terenu, i emotivno a ne samo književno ili naučno, i zbog činjenice da je London uvek bio san, i zbog toga što zapravo vrlo malo znam o njegovom višemilenijumskom životu Pomalo bizarno, i razočaravajuće, delovala mi je činjenica da je isti autor na isti način napravio knjige o Londonu, Parizu i Njujorku. Nemoguće je biti toliko posvećen, temeljan i prisutan u istoriji tako različitih mesta, mislio sam i odabrao londonsku priču, pre svega zbog britanskog porekla autora računajući da je tu na svom terenu, i emotivno a ne samo književno ili naučno, i zbog činjenice da je London uvek bio san, i zbog toga što zapravo vrlo malo znam o njegovom višemilenijumskom životu. I prijalo je čitanje, više no što sam mislio, i dovoljno da se nastavi, sa druga dva dela. Fascinantan je pokušaj, praviti priču o jednom gradu tako što ćete jahati kroz čitav njegov dveivišehiljadagodina dug život, prateći istoriju kako izmišljenih književnih junaka, porodica i loza, tako i stvarnih istorijskih ličnosti, i načina na koji su ga gradili, rušili, palili i sa njim bistvovali svo vreme, usputno držeći besprekorne mini časove istorije i koristeći široko dostupnu dokumentarnu građu tako da knjigu zaista sa pravom možete zvati i romanom i istorijskim spisom. Fascinantan je pokušaj, i makar u ovom prvom delu, osvežavajući, pitko i plitko pisan, informativan, interesantan i lep. Svako poglavlje zasebna priča. Svaka priča zasebni junaci. Svi junaci potomci onih prethodnih. Od prazne ostrvske keltske močvare i prvih rimskih dolazaka i Cezarovih osvajanja, preko postepenog i viševekovnog razvoja kraljevstva, viteštva, kmetstva, zaključno sa pojavom prvih znakova demokratskog uređenja s kraja dvanaetskog veka. Fascinantan i divljenja vredan pokušaj, očigledno više nego učenog i načitanog autora, koji je ujedno i sasvim solidan pisac. Dovoljno dobar da ovako mamutski pokušaj ne propadne u svojoj megalomanskoj ideji, i dovoljno skromnih mogućnosti da pisanje ne bude potreba sama po sebi, da ne fascinira i ne oduševljava ni rečenicama, ni stilom, ni ritmom, koliko hronološki sređenim mislima i idejama, i banalno i jednostavno osmišljenim junacima koji će vas držati budnim dok pričaju o najvećem od svih gradova.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Karla

    It started out fine, but about 3/4ths of the way through, the repetition (particularly every era having a character with an odd streak of white hair) got to be annoying, and in a 1100+ page book, it ended up seeming interminable. Rutherfurd's got a schtick of writing massive doorstoppers following one family over the course of millennia. There's intimate domestic dramas and high points in history all mixed together. A fine formula, but once is enough. I tried reading his Russka: The Novel of Russ It started out fine, but about 3/4ths of the way through, the repetition (particularly every era having a character with an odd streak of white hair) got to be annoying, and in a 1100+ page book, it ended up seeming interminable. Rutherfurd's got a schtick of writing massive doorstoppers following one family over the course of millennia. There's intimate domestic dramas and high points in history all mixed together. A fine formula, but once is enough. I tried reading his Russka: The Novel of Russia soon after this and suffered burnout and boredom from the formulaic repeat. Haven't been tempted to pick up another of his books.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Mary JL

    This is a long book--I will be a few days on this one. Looks good so far. ************ Tuesday 1/6/09. Now on page 365 of London. Still good. Will review when finished. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Finally finished London (we have been a bit busier at work). The historical details of this book are excellent. I know a bit out history and there were no obvious errors or jarring anachronisms. This is a long book--I will be a few days on this one. Looks good so far. ************ Tuesday 1/6/09. Now on page 365 of London. Still good. Will review when finished. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Finally finished London (we have been a bit busier at work). The historical details of this book are excellent. I know a bit out history and there were no obvious errors or jarring anachronisms. The chapters each covered a different era--making it more like a chain of short stories than a novel. The one criticism I have--which is why it gets a 3 and not 4 stars is: it is uneven. It starts out very well and reads fast. Then for about three chapers it drags and I had to force myself to continue. Thien, it picked up for several chapers, then 2 dragging ones again, then the book ended well. When characters I liked were "on stage" as it were, I read much faster. That said, I do not want to turn people away from reading this wook. It is a very, good solid three stars--just can't give it four. But the patient reader---especially if you like history --will find much to enjoy here. If you are a faster reader than I--I am quite slow--you might finish it in less time. I recommend it for anyone with a serious liking for historical fiction and /or family sagas. Also, for anyone with an interest in English history.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    So... this book. I read Edward Rutherfurd's novel "Paris" at the beginning of this year and flew through the 800-something pages because I just couldn't put it down. Yes, part of it is my bias because I love that city, but the book was such a great work of historical fiction in itself. It has a place on my favorites list and I recommend it to all. With that, I bought "London", assuming I'd love it just as much. I'm totally into England and English history, especially Tudor history, so I was really So... this book. I read Edward Rutherfurd's novel "Paris" at the beginning of this year and flew through the 800-something pages because I just couldn't put it down. Yes, part of it is my bias because I love that city, but the book was such a great work of historical fiction in itself. It has a place on my favorites list and I recommend it to all. With that, I bought "London", assuming I'd love it just as much. I'm totally into England and English history, especially Tudor history, so I was really excited. Then, cut to almost 6 months later and I am barely halfway, even actively avoiding reading this book in favor of many, many others. I kept telling myself I had to keep going till I finished it, because it has everything I should love. I love history! I love historical fiction! I love England! I loved "Paris"! What's wrong that I don't love this?? Then I realized that it isn't the real setting or the history that I don't love here: it's the fictional characters. While Rutherfurd filled his "Paris" with fascinating and intriguing fictional people, with "London" he did not - at least in my opinion. I couldn't make myself want to read over 1,000 pages about characters I don't care about. And I don't think there's anything wrong with that. I am still planning on trying Rutherfurd's novels "New York" and "Russka", to see whether "Paris" was the shining light in a group of books not for me, or whether "London" was the lone anomaly I couldn't get through. Maybe if I like both of them, I'll go back and try "London" again one day. In the meantime, I'll try not to feel too guilty about giving up (I really hate to do that). Life is too short and filled with too many great books to waste time with ones you aren't loving!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Villines

    With over eleven hundred pages, I was anticipating London to be both entertaining and educational. I was hoping for that magical merging of history and fiction, which gives life to history and historical significance to life. Rutherfurd's book, however, misses this anticipation by a wide margin. London covers almost two thousand years of history and focuses on a few familial hereditary lines throughout that span of time. Each period of history that is selected by Rutherfurd is complemented by sto With over eleven hundred pages, I was anticipating London to be both entertaining and educational. I was hoping for that magical merging of history and fiction, which gives life to history and historical significance to life. Rutherfurd's book, however, misses this anticipation by a wide margin. London covers almost two thousand years of history and focuses on a few familial hereditary lines throughout that span of time. Each period of history that is selected by Rutherfurd is complemented by stories that focus on these families. But the stories are mostly rooted in domestic issues. Domestic problems such as infidelity, disobedient spouses, and marriage arrangements dominate every time period covered by Rutherfurd. The history is often provided in narrative form along side the domestic tales and, as a result, life and history move forward on parallel paths. These two vital components seldom merged into that powerful combination known as great historical fiction. I'll also add that Rutherford stories tend to be prosaic. While he touches on the harsh conditions that humans have endured throughout history, his characters rarely express their suffering that accompanied these hardships. While narratives and positive happenstances occupy spans of pages, descriptions of the tragic or horrific are limited to brief sentences. While this approach makes for a pleasant reading experience, it does not give justice to the realities of our existence.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ruth

    I'll admit it--I didn't finish it. It's a good idea, and a good introduction to London's history, but I really got a little tired of the story (over and over and over) of the Brave, Heroic, Intelligent Man who manages to seduce, conquer, and commit adultery with the Silly, Stupid, Manipulative Woman, who is brainless, yes, but prettier than all the other silly, stupid, and manipulative women in that particular chapter. In fact, I have a hard time remembering a chapter in which this does not happ I'll admit it--I didn't finish it. It's a good idea, and a good introduction to London's history, but I really got a little tired of the story (over and over and over) of the Brave, Heroic, Intelligent Man who manages to seduce, conquer, and commit adultery with the Silly, Stupid, Manipulative Woman, who is brainless, yes, but prettier than all the other silly, stupid, and manipulative women in that particular chapter. In fact, I have a hard time remembering a chapter in which this does not happen. And there are a lot of chapters.

  16. 5 out of 5

    M.G. Mason

    Edward Rutherford writes mammoth books where the central character is a place and the people in them are incidental and used to drive the plot across a given time period (usually several thousand years). It is a formula that has worked well and gained critical and popular acclaim. ‘London’ is the third such novel of his I have read; the other two are ‘Sarum’ and ‘The Forest’. ‘London’ contains all of the best and worst elements of those two books. In ‘Sarum’ the characters and their situations ar Edward Rutherford writes mammoth books where the central character is a place and the people in them are incidental and used to drive the plot across a given time period (usually several thousand years). It is a formula that has worked well and gained critical and popular acclaim. ‘London’ is the third such novel of his I have read; the other two are ‘Sarum’ and ‘The Forest’. ‘London’ contains all of the best and worst elements of those two books. In ‘Sarum’ the characters and their situations are being shaped by real world historical events and integrated into it. In ‘The Forest’ that is less important as we follow families through the generations with real world events are largely in the background. I much prefer the former as it gives the novel more of an authentic feel. He also skips over too many important events in the first half. I know this is a novel about London but some events would have had an impact on the city. For example, after Julius Caesar’s failed invasion, we skip over Claudius’ succesful invasion and end up in the third century when little is happening. Then it ignores the withdrawal of the legions and the Anglo-Saxon migrations and drops us into the 7th century where again not much is happening after Christianity is well established. We see nothing of the turmoil of the conversion period, the establishment of Lundenwic, or the effects of the Viking attacks. The book limps toward the Norman invasion which is the first good chapter. Into the second millennium and though the Henry II-Thomas Beckett event is dealt with well, the Black Death and its after effects on society is given little coverage (a stark contrast to Sarum). Instead we get meaningless fair such as “The Whorehouse”, which, though amusing to understand and see how church-run brothels worked in medieval London, does little to advance the plot. The second half is better with more integration. Real improvement is seen in “God’s Fire” which deals with the beginning of the Stuart era, the Civil War and Restoration. The most impressive chapter centres around the design and building of St. Paul’s Cathedral. Rutherford writes with such passion that this is easily the best chapter, if only as much care had been put into other chapters, this would have superseded ‘Sarum’ as my favourite work by this author. Then we feed through the world wars, including the blitz and to 1997 (date of publication of the book) with a short epilogue. I am assuming that the novel was finished and published before the two major events of that year: the election of Tony Blair and the death of Princess Diana. A shame almost that he did not hold off long enough to write a chapter on the millennium celebrations at The Dome to bring it full circle. Overall this book is a slog and though better than ‘The Forest’ it is not as good as ‘Sarum’ I will probably read another Rutherford but only if a suitable subject comes up. To date, his other written work is ‘Russka’, ‘New York’, ‘Dublin’ and ‘Ireland’. See more book reviews at my blog

  17. 4 out of 5

    Katy

    400 pesos el librito, me entran ganas de llorar. Mientras tanto sigo esperando que me lo compren....

  18. 5 out of 5

    Vít

    Hrdinou téhle knihy je samotné město Londýn a Edward Rutherfurd vás provede dvěma tisíciletími jeho dějin. A myslím si, že se mu to hodně povedlo. Vzhledem k tomu, jak dlouhé období popisuje, jde vlastně o takové střípky z dlouhého život města, tyto střípky ale dohromady dávají docela fascinující mozaiku. Ukážou vám duši města jako tavícího kotlíku národností a ras, ze kterých nakonec vznikl dnešní Londýňan. Historii města popisuje na historii mnoha generací několika londýnských rodin. Jednotlivé Hrdinou téhle knihy je samotné město Londýn a Edward Rutherfurd vás provede dvěma tisíciletími jeho dějin. A myslím si, že se mu to hodně povedlo. Vzhledem k tomu, jak dlouhé období popisuje, jde vlastně o takové střípky z dlouhého život města, tyto střípky ale dohromady dávají docela fascinující mozaiku. Ukážou vám duši města jako tavícího kotlíku národností a ras, ze kterých nakonec vznikl dnešní Londýňan. Historii města popisuje na historii mnoha generací několika londýnských rodin. Jednotlivé postavy nejsou až tak důležité, jde vlastně o typy lidí, které mohl člověk v té které době v Londýně potkat, takže ani nějak nevadí pokud se začnete ve všech těch Ducketech, Doggetech, Barnikelech a Silversleevesech ztrácet. Za mě čtyři hvězdy a kousek, a těším se na Dublin :)

  19. 5 out of 5

    Helio

    About halfway through Chapter 18 (~page 1030) on the Cutty Sark I recognized that I had read that story before. Then I realized I had read the whole book before - that is how unmemorable the stories and characters are.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kelsey McKim

    I read this as a crash course in London history before studying abroad in the old English city. While I do feel much more familiar with the city's (and England's) basic history, the book didn't have as much merit as literature. There are a few things I want to specifically address: -Character development is lacking, which makes sense because the book takes place over thousands of years. As others have said, the main character is London itself, but the individuals in the book were often flat and/o I read this as a crash course in London history before studying abroad in the old English city. While I do feel much more familiar with the city's (and England's) basic history, the book didn't have as much merit as literature. There are a few things I want to specifically address: -Character development is lacking, which makes sense because the book takes place over thousands of years. As others have said, the main character is London itself, but the individuals in the book were often flat and/or static, which made them less appealing than those in most other novels to me. -The length, being so great, is not fitting for the quality of the writing. I want to read all thousand-plus pages of Gone with the Wind, for example, because of its strong writing and characters. Not so for this book. It took some time to get through, partly because it began to feel like a chore rather than a pastime. Also, London has a lot of history and Rutherfurd chose to include most of London's big moments in history. -Finally, the female characters in this book were a) greatly outnumbered by men, b) less prominent than their male counterparts, and c) not treated with respect (in my opinion). There's a difference between writing in a historically accurate manner (women in the sixteenth century would be concerned with finding husbands because of the time period, regardless of author) and in a male-dominant way. I'm not familiar enough with the role of women in British history to say whether Rutherfurd's portrayal of women was historically accurate (I think it was), but his descriptions of the female characters that almost always were limited to just physical characteristics (especially boobs) and his tone when narrating sections about female characters both felt at least subtly sexist to me. Which, as you can tell from the length of this paragraph was annoying at best. All in all, it's not a pleasure read, but it is good if you have a specific interest in London and want to commit a good chunk of time to learning about the history of the city without picking up a textbook.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Patricia

    Hot summer days between the move and the arrival of household goods - no better time to start a long epic by Rutherfurd. I discovered this book was loaned to me about ten years ago by someone who doesn't want it back. I love these Michener-like authors who start with the creation of the earth and bring it through the centuries to modern day time, especially when, like Rutherfurd, they have families who intertwine through the epochs and are followed from earliest times to the present. I also love Hot summer days between the move and the arrival of household goods - no better time to start a long epic by Rutherfurd. I discovered this book was loaned to me about ten years ago by someone who doesn't want it back. I love these Michener-like authors who start with the creation of the earth and bring it through the centuries to modern day time, especially when, like Rutherfurd, they have families who intertwine through the epochs and are followed from earliest times to the present. I also love his theme that there really are no pure-breeds, that we are all the result of rivers of population changes, influxes of immigrants, plagues, intermarriages, inter-breeding outside of marriage (No! LOL) and random attractions. And how quickly we forget - two centuries later, people have legends about their beginnings that have little or no relationship to the truth! I even have another Rutherfurd book, The Forest, as a carrot for when I am finished with unpacking boxes.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Zukie

    He dudado mucho acerca de la nota que debería ponerle a esta novela, ya que aunque muchas partes se me hicieron super interesantes otras me aburrieron bastante y se me hicieron muy pesadas... Pero como creo que lo segundo era culpa mía por estar un poco verde con la historia de Inglaterra, el libro se nota currado y muy bien documentado, y la última parte la he disfrutado muchísimo y eso hace que me haya quedado buen sabor de boca... Creo que se merece las 4 estrellas. "Londres" es un paseo de má He dudado mucho acerca de la nota que debería ponerle a esta novela, ya que aunque muchas partes se me hicieron super interesantes otras me aburrieron bastante y se me hicieron muy pesadas... Pero como creo que lo segundo era culpa mía por estar un poco verde con la historia de Inglaterra, el libro se nota currado y muy bien documentado, y la última parte la he disfrutado muchísimo y eso hace que me haya quedado buen sabor de boca... Creo que se merece las 4 estrellas. "Londres" es un paseo de más de 2000 años de historia por una de las ciudades más carismáticas de Europa. Nos cuenta su historia a través de distintas generaciones de varias familias. A la vez que las vidas de estos personajes se van entrelazando, vamos aprendiendo acerca de los distintos sucesos históricos que han ido moldeando la ciudad hasta convertirla en lo que es hoy en día. Rutherfurd nos habla de arquitectura, economía, política, religión, y hasta de como la lengua fue evolucionando. La principal pega que le pondría a esta novela son los personajes. La inmensa mayoría son muy planos y absolutamente olvidables. Esto es entendible teniendo en cuenta que son más de 2000 años de historia comprimidos en 1180 páginas, y que cuando consigues acordarte de quién es quién dentro de una generación, ya te pasa a la siguiente. Y claro, entiendo que sea difícil desarrollar tantos personajes en tan poco tiempo. Al principio y con esa justificación lo dejaba estar, pero cuando llevas más o menos la mitad del libro empieza a molestarte un poco, porque no deja de ser una novela y los personajes son una parte fundamental. Personalmente el personaje que más me ha interesado de todos ha sido Violet y por toda su vinculación con las suffragettes. Otro aspecto que me ha fastidiado es lo rápido que pasa por los últimos 100 años y sobre todo por la Primera y Segunda Guerra Mundial... Esto ya más bien es personal, porque son partes que me interesaban muchísimo y se me hicieron cortísimas. Ya de leer un libro tan extenso, no me habría importado que le hubiese dedicado unas 150 páginas más a esa parte, pero como digo, es cuestión de gustos e intereses... Ya para terminar, aconsejaría a las personas que quieran leer este libro y que estén un poco verdes como yo, que lo complementen con algún documental o algo por el estilo, ya que si no hay momentos en los que pierdes un poco el hilo... Y de esta forma creo que puede disfrutarse un poco más, con una base un poco más amplia a la que yo tenía... En general ha sido una buena lectura, y aunque ha sido exigente y densa en ocasiones, yo la recomiendo un montón.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

    Enjoyed this thoroughly though I concede it is popular rather than literary fiction. I haven't read other Rutherford books but I understand the concept is similar -- follow a few families, with distinguishing physical and personality traits, down through the ages from nigh pre-historic all the way through to contemporary world (the 1990's in this case), weaving history in with (fictional) biography. There is a quite an array of characters, and although some of them are stock or have elements of Enjoyed this thoroughly though I concede it is popular rather than literary fiction. I haven't read other Rutherford books but I understand the concept is similar -- follow a few families, with distinguishing physical and personality traits, down through the ages from nigh pre-historic all the way through to contemporary world (the 1990's in this case), weaving history in with (fictional) biography. There is a quite an array of characters, and although some of them are stock or have elements of stock, generally he mixes them up well and sketches them likably enough. I liked chapters 9 (somewhere in the early 2nd millenium) and 16 (the bombing of London during WWII) best, because in these chapters Rutherford realises more deeply the potential of the form he has chosen -- in these chapters appear characters from various different social strata, there is a deep sense of the myriad coincidences that makes history what it is as well as of the sense of tumult of the passage of time and the feeling that the low can rise and the high can fall, on chance alone. Rutherford is also generally kind to his characters: he definitely has favourites (and it can be funny to see the same positive/negative/odd traits) and while there are deaths and losses, generally his heroes turn out all right (a little Hollywood in that respect). The WWII chapter is also interesting for one more thing: because his canvas is large, he comes at events from different points of view. He can use one character to see things a certain way, and later reference the same event from another character's point of view -- creating opposing yet simultaneously sympathetic viewpoints. The chapter is also quite skilfully written in that it comprises largely of snapshots of a few paragraphs each with each snapshot focusing on a different character; stuff is happening (bombs, fire, lost gold) and Rutherford has to hop constantly from one character to the next (and there are a lot of them) yet he manages to pull off a coherent narrative without losing you. It's not a five, however, because though sympathetic, the characters do not truly develop and the book is largely plot driven. While there is interesting historical detail, there is description but little effort to write into the characters a sense of their psychology or the psyche of their time, so it is very much a 20th century worldview throughout.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Tony Taylor

    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 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. Historical Fiction. The novel covers the major historical events in the history of London. The book follows several families throughout numerous generations as the different events occur. The author used aritfacts from the Museum of London to inspire the story.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    2.5 stars. So in 2018 I have decided that I will be doing my own version of a Tome Topple challenge, where every month I will aim to read a book that's ~600 page plus in length. To kick things off, I've decided to pick up Rutherfurd's 'London', after having enjoyed two of his previous works. Unfortunately, not so much here. Look, I love the way that Rutherford makes everything interconnected within families, and it's fascinating to watch the city change and develop. However, I didn't really connec 2.5 stars. So in 2018 I have decided that I will be doing my own version of a Tome Topple challenge, where every month I will aim to read a book that's ~600 page plus in length. To kick things off, I've decided to pick up Rutherfurd's 'London', after having enjoyed two of his previous works. Unfortunately, not so much here. Look, I love the way that Rutherford makes everything interconnected within families, and it's fascinating to watch the city change and develop. However, I didn't really connect or feel anything for the characters, and at various times throughout the chapters, I grew bored with whatever small plot line was being developed. And when you're reading a novel this size, you need to be invested in some way in order to get some level of enjoyment out of it. It was okay, but not great - not for me, anyway. Still, it probably won't prevent me from checking out s0me of Rutherfurd's other work, and I just hope that I'm able to enjoy it better than my experience here.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Laurie

    Well, for an 1100 page-plus book, I would've liked it to be more interesting. There were a lot of large sections that were bogged down by politics & religion (and at one regrettable point, banking); while I know these issues obviously affect people's lives, I don't need to read about every single complexity therein. There were some great historical tidbits I'd never heard before and I went Googling several times to look at photos & drawings of places gone by (several still remaining). The Well, for an 1100 page-plus book, I would've liked it to be more interesting. There were a lot of large sections that were bogged down by politics & religion (and at one regrettable point, banking); while I know these issues obviously affect people's lives, I don't need to read about every single complexity therein. There were some great historical tidbits I'd never heard before and I went Googling several times to look at photos & drawings of places gone by (several still remaining). The early to mid-book descriptions of the river were lovely. Really, the best parts of the book focused on the City itself and the surrounding landscape. However, I enjoyed Peter Ackroyd's non-fiction tome, London: The Biography, much more.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay

    London: The Novel is an entertaining, albeit long, read. It takes some time to get into the book; you have to make your way past some dry geographic passages and slow character development. Each chapter is its own short story which could probably stand on its own. Since the author couldn’t use the same character through two millennia, he has simplified the character development by using several families and their descendents. Different genetic traits and/or attitudes reoccur through the ages—giv London: The Novel is an entertaining, albeit long, read. It takes some time to get into the book; you have to make your way past some dry geographic passages and slow character development. Each chapter is its own short story which could probably stand on its own. Since the author couldn’t use the same character through two millennia, he has simplified the character development by using several families and their descendents. Different genetic traits and/or attitudes reoccur through the ages—giving the reader a sense of familiarity as he moves through time. I enjoy the fictional history, seeing how the city has developed, and how art, religion, and science influenced people. My favorite chapter so far is “The Globe,” even though I was able to predict what would happen in the winter of 1599.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    This was a lonnnnnnnnnnnng book! It traces the history of London, from Roman times up through the 1990s. The author cleverly establishes several families and follows them throughout the various historical periods of London's history. It was a fascinating book, and I learned a great deal about the city, the history of British royalty, the origins of buildings and businesses in London and also the origins of many archaic says we still use today. I enjoyed the book, but it was a little too long for This was a lonnnnnnnnnnnng book! It traces the history of London, from Roman times up through the 1990s. The author cleverly establishes several families and follows them throughout the various historical periods of London's history. It was a fascinating book, and I learned a great deal about the city, the history of British royalty, the origins of buildings and businesses in London and also the origins of many archaic says we still use today. I enjoyed the book, but it was a little too long for my tastes--over 800 pages. While I understand that this was a necessary length for such a big topic, undertaking this book was daunting, and I did keep looking to see how far I had to go until the end. I probably would have rated it higher if the author had been able to edit it down a little more.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lobstergirl

    I think my younger self would have liked this, say, my 12-year old self. It reminded me of Michener's The Source (which I also never finished - as a kiddie). I'm saying farewell at p. 54 of 1124 and will donate this to the local book fair. Weirdly, the pagination in the Table of Contents is all wrong.

  30. 4 out of 5

    İsmet Uluer

    Bir kere kitap roman değil, öykü türünde olabilir. Her bölüm ayrı bir hikayeyi barındırıyor. Bir kere bunu düzeltmek gerektiğini düşünüyorum. Okumadan önceki beklentim bizzat içinde olan karakterlerle Londra'nın tarihsel sürecini okumaktı. Ki zaman zaman bazı bölümlerde bu beklentim karşılandı ama çoğu zaman o anki tarih içerisinde olan büyük haberler bir gazete haberi kadar arkaplanda kalırken birkaç ailenin kökenleri etrafında şekillenen ve daha çok onların ailevi problemlerini değinildiği uzu Bir kere kitap roman değil, öykü türünde olabilir. Her bölüm ayrı bir hikayeyi barındırıyor. Bir kere bunu düzeltmek gerektiğini düşünüyorum. Okumadan önceki beklentim bizzat içinde olan karakterlerle Londra'nın tarihsel sürecini okumaktı. Ki zaman zaman bazı bölümlerde bu beklentim karşılandı ama çoğu zaman o anki tarih içerisinde olan büyük haberler bir gazete haberi kadar arkaplanda kalırken birkaç ailenin kökenleri etrafında şekillenen ve daha çok onların ailevi problemlerini değinildiği uzun tekdüze pasajları okurken bulmak benim için hayli yorucu bir okuma olduğunu söyleyebilirim.

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