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London (1997)

von Edward Rutherfurd

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4,250692,352 (3.95)154
Eine Liebeserklärung an die englische Metropole, angelegt als epochale Zeitreise durch 2000 Jahre Vergangenheit von der Römerzeit bis in die Gegenwart.
Kürzlich hinzugefügt vonWASfam, MarkT27, Ngaiwi, private Bibliothek, paninaro, biblioinplpp, lblightsey, CyndiCiavarella, KarolGray
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My type of writing motif, but it is so close to Michner's style, I wonder if it's an unpublished manuscript or unfinished and are using Rutherford as faux author. ( )
  Huba.Library | Jul 30, 2022 |
Edward Rutherford writes historical fiction novels about big cities that span 1000 years. Each book is over 1000 pages and follows several families throughout the centuries. London, however, spans a period of 2000 years and tells the stories of six families. I previously read Rutherford's China and loved it. In my mind, Rutherford is the James Michener of the 21st century.

London begins with the birth of the Thames River and quickly moves to 54 BCE, capturing the life of Segovax, a man with slightly webbed hands and a flash of white hair on the front of his head. This description of him will be carried forward by his descendants. Segovax is the ancestor of the Ducket and Dogget families, who are fictional families in the novel. There are several historical figures who also appear in the story such as Julius Caesar, Geoffrey Chaucer, Henry VIII and William Shakespeare. We also see the rise of chivalry and the Crusades. In addition, we read about the Norman Conquest of England and the Great Fire of London as well as the Blitz during WWII.

London is much more than a history book. The reader is given a slice of what life was like for London's residents from its beginnings to the current time period. Not knowing anything about the city during times before Christ, I learned how people dealt with marital and sexual matters, trade and also the type of clothing that they wore. We get all of this information for each time period. In addition, we read what life was like when the Romans, Celts, Saxons, Danes and Normans arrived. It seems to me that people just wanted to go about their lives as best they could when invaders came to their shores. No one really cared who was in power. People just wanted jobs and to be able to feed their families. It was interesting, too, to read about why and how the Tower of London was constructed. The building of St. Paul's Cathedral and Westminster Abbey is also covered but there was a greater emphasis on the Tower.

I would have to say that the Middle Ages was covered in more detail than other eras. However, the Middle Ages covers 800 years of history. I was surprised that more contemporary eras such as the Victorian Era was not written about in great detail. As far as characters go, I loved reading about Chaucer's life in particular. He is introduced as a friend of one of the main families. He becomes a godfather to one of the kids before he became famous for his writing.

There is so much more to say about this book. I absolutely LOVED it and can't wait to read Rutherford's novel on Paris next. I am happily rating this novel 5 out of 5 stars. ( )
  Violette62 | Mar 5, 2022 |
Another fascinating book by Rutherford. I already thought I knew a lot about London, but I learned a lot more from this book. Easy reading, interesting story. ( )
  Nefersw | Jan 14, 2022 |
You have to really really like History to be able to get through this long chunkster of book. There are over 1000 pages

Every chapter there are long info dumps basically updating what had happened since the end of the previous chapter.

Time gaps between chapters were on average 50 years towards the end of the book - and several hundred years in the early chapters.

Once you get past the info dumps then you get into the characters stories.

There are several families involved - Bull, Barnikel, Meredith, Penny, Doggett, Fleming, Carpenter, - and they all intermarried with each other, eventually becoming distant cousins.

The Bulls, Barnikels and Doggett names go back over 1000 years, Meredith was a Welsh name, Fleming was a name from the Flemish area of Belgium, Penny was originally a Huguenot protestant family from France. Carpenter is of course an occupational surname.

One thing I did learn that was of major interest to me was the origin of the dissenters or the non conformists in English history.

My ancestors came from England, and many of their birth, marriage and death records were found in the Non conformist parish records.

These were people who after King Henry 8th, chose to keep to their own religion rather than be forced to join the Church of England (Anglican church). These religions included the quakers, puritans, catholics and other smaller groups such as methodists, baptists and scottish presbyterians. Their story was very interesting. (See chapter 14)

I have been a non conformist all my life - well at least since I was a teenager anyway. That was when I realised that I did not believe in the religion I was being raised in - and that I had never believed in it!! I still vividly remember at age 10, praying the prayer of salvation with my eyes open and immediately telling myself afterwards, that I was not a real christian because I had prayed with my eyes open which was against the rules. I left the church I was raised in, when I was 19. Best decision I ever made.

As well the long info dumps at the beginning of every chapter, it was also a headache to keep straight on who everyone was and who married whom. The family tree at the beginning of the book, is helpful only for those who read the physical book. The tree at the beginning of the e-book, is not easily accessible. You cannot just flip back to check, whenever you wish. I kind of lost interest in knowing whose family was who and so I just kept reading. I was reading an E-book.

So for me there was no continuity in the characters. A new generation for every chapter. Only the city was the same, but since I have never lived in London and none of my ancestors lived in London, I have no real connection to that city.

I would rate this as 3 stars. It loses 1 star for the long info dumps in each chapter and it loses another star for the lack of real continuity in characters and story events. ( )
  Robloz | Sep 23, 2021 |
Even though London follows the same narrative pattern as Paris, I didn’t find it quite as engaging and I’m still struggling to figure out why. The history of the City is fascinating, but I am much more familiar with English history and there was therefore much less to “discover” per se, even through the eyes of Rutherfurd’s unique group of characters. His focus is typically on the common people of London - only straying to a minor encounter with Henry VIII and a few characters to rise to high middle class from common roots - but their stories are no less poignant than that of their social betters. Rife with mercantile greed, Roman gold, and peppered with the great happenings of a great city, these characters may have lived “common” lives, but they definitely seem to be representative of the people. What possibly made their stories less engaging than those of their Parisian counterparts is that Rutherfurd chose to focus on characters driven by economics. Sure, they fall in love, they hatch murder schemes, but the common thread that ties the pre-Roman fisherman to the cash-strapped Renaissance playwright to the slag-heap Baron is money. Tradition in economics is strong in the British Isles, so the passing on of ale-brewing businesses and marrying into the right-guild families is much more common than in laissez-faire Paris, where many of the characters seemed to fall into their circumstances merely by chance or through breaking with tradition. Of course, this doesn’t make the book any less good, since Rutherfurd’s prose and storytelling is still wonderful within each micro-tale, but it definitely sets a different literary tone than the one that I was expecting! ( )
  JaimieRiella | Feb 25, 2021 |
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This book is dedicated to the curators and staff of the Museum of London, where history comes alive.
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Many times since the Earth was young, the place had lain under the sea.
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Eine Liebeserklärung an die englische Metropole, angelegt als epochale Zeitreise durch 2000 Jahre Vergangenheit von der Römerzeit bis in die Gegenwart.

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