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
Show other 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
Paperback - 1152 pages - 978-0-345-45568-0
Open Ebook - 1328 pages - 978-1-4090-3749-1
Hardcover - 1182 pages - 978-84-92429-46-2
Paperback - 784 pages - 978-0-09-920191-5
Open Ebook - 731 pages - 978-0-307-80602-4
Paperback - 1182 pages - 978-84-15729-05-1
Paperback - 1328 pages - 978-0-09-955137-9
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Email Address


Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.