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Customer Review

on 22 March 2003
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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