Friday, March 02, 2007

Rutherford Rules

Sarum by Edward Rutherford
London by Edward Rutherford
The Forest by Edward Rutherford

In case you haven't guessed by now, I'm a bit of an Anglophile. (It must have something to do with all those hours spent watching Masterpiece Theatre as a child). I love historical novels, particularly those set in the British Isles, and these three are like taking a travelogue through ancient times.

They aren't really related, except the author wrote them all in a similar style. He takes a few fictional families and weaves their stories into real historical events through the centuries. For example, during Sarum's 10,000-year time frame, we see characters and their descendants build Stonehenge, the Roman Baths at Bath, and Salisbury Cathedral. They also fight in the Norman invasion, the American Revolution and World War II. It wraps up in the mid-1980s, with Prince Charles kicking off a campaign to restore the Cathedral spire.

Rutherford often gets compared to James Mitchner, who wrote the same sort of epic, multi-generational stories, but I think he's better - mainly because he doesn't spend half the book telling you about volcanoes and beavers before the story gets going. He starts out right away with people.

He also has written two books in recent years about Ireland - which I can't recommend because I haven't gotten to them yet. (Me bad.) I'm sure they're just as good as the three that already have a permanent place on my keeper shelf, though.

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