London

Edward Rutherfurd, Author Crown Publishing Group $25.95 (752p) ISBN 978-0-517-59181-9
Like his aesthetic mentor, James Michener, Rutherfurd (Russka; Sarum) takes readers from primordial days to the present; here he focuses on the last 2000 years of humanity on the island kingdom as manifested through the fortunes of seven families and one ancient, ever-evolving city. Such chapter headings as ""The Tower,"" ""Hampton Court"" and ""The Globe"" reveal Rutherfurd's primary technique--to create verbal dioramas that, alas, too often feel as static and didactic as museum displays. Rutherfurd lavishes his greatest attention on the minor figures in English history rather than the greats. Instead of Shakespeare there is Edmund Meredith, playwright of the middling The Blackamoor; instead of Christopher Wren, there is a cowardly, anti-papist woodcarver; and there is Isaac Fleming, creator of the wedding cake. Due to the sheer scope of Rutherfurd's vision, many signal events, such as the Black Death, are afforded only a glancing nod, while the first and final chapters read more like a mannerly BBC documentary than a proper setup for a legend on a grand scale. Rutherfurd's workmanlike narrative ultimately buckles under the weight of its own vast scale, yet readers will savor individual tidbits like the snapshot of young Geoffrey Chaucer saving an abandoned baby. Readers with imagination may even come away with the sense that great cities aren't just places but living beings with hearts and souls. Major ad/promo; BOMC main selection; simultaneous Random House audio; author tour. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/28/1997
Release date: 05/01/1997
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FORMATS
Hardcover - 978-0-517-70162-1
Hardcover - 978-0-609-50024-8
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-679-44381-0
Mass Market Paperbound - 1152 pages - 978-0-449-00263-6
Hardcover - 978-0-517-43427-7
Open Ebook - 1152 pages - 978-0-307-80602-4
Paperback - 784 pages - 978-0-09-920191-5
Paperback - 1152 pages - 978-0-345-45568-0
Hardcover - 1182 pages - 978-84-92429-46-2
Paperback - 1328 pages - 978-0-09-955137-9
Open Ebook - 1328 pages - 978-1-4090-3749-1
Paperback - 1182 pages - 978-84-15729-05-1
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