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187 Reviews
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51 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book. I have seen London with new eyes.
As I began a new job in the city, I purchased this book to read as I commuted. Over a thousand pages was a little daunting. However, I have been enthralled, excited and intrigued as Rutherfurd propelled me through a city which I now see with new eyes. From the quiet idyllic life before the Romans to the blasting of the city in the Blitz. One moment excited, the next...
Published on 22 May 1999

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Do not read this if you've read Sarum
What could have been a gripping book became highly annoying as I had read Sarum beforehand. The author obviously has found a winning formula and refuses to let go of it. In London (or Sarum) he has someone with webbed hands, in Sarum, it's prehensile toes. In London, he has a short stubby person build the cathedral and guess what? In Sarum, he has a short stubby...
Published on 29 May 2001


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51 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book. I have seen London with new eyes., 22 May 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: London (Paperback)
As I began a new job in the city, I purchased this book to read as I commuted. Over a thousand pages was a little daunting. However, I have been enthralled, excited and intrigued as Rutherfurd propelled me through a city which I now see with new eyes. From the quiet idyllic life before the Romans to the blasting of the city in the Blitz. One moment excited, the next sad. The injustice of some of the events. Right prevails - but not in every case. As the book developed, I felt part of what was happening. The grief, joy and intrigue - each character and family developing over the centuries as the city grows and develops also. This is the magic of fiction woven through the historical fact of the great city of London. It is the first book I have read by this author, I can't wait to begin another.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most interesting and un-put-down-able book I've ever read., 22 Sept. 2011
This review is from: London: a Novel (Mass Market Paperback)
This book is a fantastic journey through London's history and brilliantly connects the key events through a family tree, showing how London and the people of London have changed through time. It is an interesting account of social history and has me talking about the city constantly, and wanting to know more. Once my husband has read the book we're going to complete a tour of the key areas, starting at St Mary Le Bow. I have already bought this book for a colleague as I'm desperate to have someone keep pace with me and share the tales of the Bulls, Carpenters and Flemings... 5 stars isn't enough!
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86 of 91 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book about a great city, 22 Mar. 2003
By 
Darren Simons (Middlesex, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: London (Paperback)
This was the first Edward Rutherfurd book I read and I was initially apprehensive at the vast number of pages it contain - over 1300 in fact! The book describes itself as a fictional biopic of London and that's exactly what it is, but the way in which it's done is quite superb, far better than I'd expected, and very much the formula used by Rutherfurd for his other books of different places.
At the front of the book, a family tree is shown detailing generations paths of five or six families over the path of the two thousand years covered by the book and the way in which they are related at various times (this in itself made me wonder what sort of book this would be as it looked as if the book would be remarkably difficult to follow).
The book is structured as a number of relatively short stories at a specific period of time, such as when the Tower of London is built, the Fire of London, The Globe theatre and Shakespeare, The Blitz and many others. In each of these chapters you are introduced to a new set of characters who invariably inherit some of their ancestor's attributes, such as a white streak of hair or webbed hands. You also see the rivalries and hatred shared by these families, covering all classes in the English system at the time of each chapter.
The book is superbly researched and incredibly well written, and I found that I'd actually got through the book far quicker than I'd expected without at any time feeling I was reading something equivalent to War and Peace. This is a definite recommendation from me, particularly if you're interested in the history of London and keen to read about it in a relatively easy manner.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Story Of The Greatest City On Earth, 17 Jan. 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: London (Hardcover)
London is supremely woven tapestry charting the lives of families from Celtic tribes through the Roman occupation, the Middle, Stuart, Tudor, Georgian & Victorian ages to the 20th century. Painstakingly researched, Rutherfurd wonderfully melds the fictional with the famous against the backdrop of historical events to tell both a fascinating history lesson and sparkling novel of the City.
Do not be daunted by the 800+ pages. London is essentially a collection of short stories with common families and of course the same location. The high number of era's covered does ensure good pace throughout whilst doing justice to each. The book includes a family tree to assist and these are likely to be the most thumbed pages by any reader.
On the negative side, I did find some of the recurring features to be a little annoying in particular, Duckett's webbed fingers and Silversleeves nose. It also seems most unlikely that so narrow group of families would remain in virtual unbroken interaction for around 2000 years. But this is mere nit-picking, I found London to be an outstanding piece of work in terms of education and entertainment.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In my top five of all time!, 25 Aug. 2011
By 
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This review is from: London (Kindle Edition)
This is easily in my top five best reads of my lifetime (so far!) :-)

An absolutely fabulous book teeming with historical fact intertwined with Rutherfurd's colourful, believable characters. The family trees devised for this work have been painstakingly constructed, and are interesting in themselves, I went over them a number of times while reading.

I live and work in London and envy the time that this author spent at the Museum of London researching this book. His description of the building works at the Tower of London from inception to completion and St Paul's (ditto) is breathtaking (these are but two of the many iconic buildings that have been covered in this work).

Packed with lively characters, humour, suspense, intrigue and romance 'London' is entertaining and absorbing. Populated with real people from the past whose stories are cleverly linked with Rutherfurd's families.

I've purchased this book for a number of friends and relatives since I read it because I want to share it but need to keep my own copy and read it again (and again).

I haven't yet read any of the other titles written by Edward Rutherfurd, but my mother bought me a copy of `The Forest'The Forest and `Dublin' Dublin will be my next purchase.

Any review for this book with fewer than five stars is a mystery to me, but each to their own I guess.

In my opinion, few people will have reason to regret spending their hard earned on this brilliant, scholarly novel.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply astounding!, 6 Feb. 2004
By 
SecretSweets (Caxias, Portugal) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: London (Paperback)
This is the first of three Rutherfurd books that I recently purchased from Amazon. It is undoubtedly a BIG book - 1229 pages! But once you get stuck, in the pages literally fly off your fingers. Its is a historical novel packed with well researched facts and details that will give you an insight into what was and is London. In the middle of all this, the author manages to deliver the mystery, intruige, passion and emotions that we expect of a novel. Striking this beautiful balance between fact and "fiction" is a feat that not many authors can achieve.
So what is London? I believe Mr Rutherfurd answers this question when begins his preface with the assertion - "London is, first and foremost, a novel". After reading this novel I dare say he was actually refering to the City!
Read it even if you think it might take you the good part of this year to get to the last page. You will not regret it and you might - like me - consider reading it a second time!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant but not for the 'casual' reader., 31 Dec. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: London (Kindle Edition)
When James A Michener died, fifteen years ago, I was surprised that no one stepped into his style of relating super-accurate history, over a huge time span, using fictional chacters and I felt the loss. Now I've found Edward Rutherfurd and the world is back in balance! This is an absolutley massive book and, having read for hours on end, you'll be surprised to find that Kindle says that you are only 20% through!. Because there are lots of folk who just won't have the patience to read all of this book, it's not for everyone, and that's the main reason that I haven't given it five stars. The other thing is that, after a while, because the same families are used throughout, the names can become a bit confusing if you don't keep the handy 'family tree' from the front of the book by your side.
But that's the negatives out of the way; everything else is just brilliant. This isn't a rip roaring swashbuckling romp of a book; rather, it is hugely immersive and each chapter is a tale in its own right; some have happy endings and others are brutally tragic. Everything in here is utterly believable and each story sweeps you along the time line that spans two thousand years. Further, you know that the characters or their descendants form one story will crop up, often unexpectedly, in a later tale. This is a book just waiting to made into a TV series.
I also like books that teach me something new, without patronising me, and 'London' is just stuffed with snippets that had me thinking "That's interesting, I must remember that".
So, if you can settle down into a big book and allow yourself to be swept through history, where time flows just like the River Thames itself, get this book. Don't set yourself a time limit to read it, just absorb and enjoy!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I've ever read., 30 Oct. 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: London (Paperback)
If you really want to get your teeth into a historical novel, read this one. I still have to read the last chapters, but I finished the rest in less than a week. Once you start this book, it grips you and doesn't let you go. An interesting fact is that you follow people of the same families through all the periods of time. It makes it somehow more personal. I for one can't wait to read his other books.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Totally Fantastic, 20 Aug. 2003
This review is from: London (Paperback)
I have just finished reading London for the second time - I feel exactly as I did the first time almost in mourning as I feel the characters were my personal friends. Like other reviewers of this novel I feel I have learnt so much about the History of My City - no matter how useless the information it was something I didn't know before - I truly love this book and it is one of my All Time Great reads. I recommend it to everyone I meet who likes a good read and I defy anyone who loves to get involved in a book not to enjoy it.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable and very long, 18 Sept. 2007
By 
P. MARSTON (Norfolk, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: London: The Novel (Paperback)
If you have a short attention span then this may not be for you. Rutherford's style is distinct but in a story made ou of so many stories rarely does it feel as if he is repeating himself. This is not serious history, this is very well written historical fiction. It is probably the easiest and most enjoyable way to learn about London's glorious and inglorious history. From little details like how streets and areas got their names to piesces of historical fact that were nearly forgotten. A very enjoyable read that should keep you going for some time.
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London: a Novel
London: a Novel by Edward Rutherfurd (Mass Market Paperback - July 2010)
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