Sarum: The Novel of England by Edward Rutherfurd

Sarum - Edward Rutherford - Historical Fiction - Ancient Medieval England Sarum is the sweeping epic of England, a rich history that blends the ancient and the modern, beginning with the Ice Age 10,000 years ago and transporting the reader through the worlds of Stonehenge, the Black Death, the Industrial Age, World War II, and ending in modern times. It follows the fortunes of five families: Wilson, Godfrey, Shockley, Mason, and Porteus. Witness how changes in political, social, and economic climates affect these families and witness how the landscape is transformed over time. From the unspoiled land of the five rivers to the ritual and spiritual centers of Stonehenge and Salisbury Cathedral to the bustling commercial and industrial centers of the modern age, Rutherfurd interweaves history with fiction to create a seamless tale that will endure across the ages.

Though several chapters seem to drag with the story and characters, you can still learn a lot about the history of England — many parts of the novel actually read like a history book — and you will learn how the country arrived at its modern state. You will understand how the social climate changed dramatically with the coming of the Black Death and how the legislative system developed over time to make England unique. I particularly enjoyed the earlier chapters, those dealing with the Stone Age, the Roman occupation, the arrival of the Anglo-Saxons, and the medieval period, which included the construction of the famous Salisbury Cathedral. I felt the stories and characters were much more entertaining than those in part two of the book, “New Sarum.” Despite the slow going of some of the chapters, Rutherford’s impressive storytelling ability does not get lost in all the history.

Definitely worth the read. Rutherfurd seems to have done his research well, though as with all historical books, I’m sure there will be debate concerning the accuracies of various parts. It’s a book you will want to read more than once, as much for the entertainment as for the history.

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My life has been pretty simple. I grew up in Alabama and graduated from the University of Alabama with a Bachelor's in Advertising. I have spent about the last ten years in web development. In 1998, a friend of mine and I started a web design company we ran for three or four years before deciding to close it due to the demands of school. Since then, I stayed in the web working with various companies in Alabama. I worked for a brief period with Southern Progress, namely with Southern Living magazine and Health magazine, in their web departments. While there, I also wrote for Southern Living magazine,, and the company's internal newsletter. I write as much as I can. For the last five years, I have been working on my first novel. I am on the third revision now and hope to be finished with this draft by the end of the year. I also write short fiction, though not as frequently as I used to due to the time I spend on the novel. My goal is to have my novel published in the next three years. Other interests include: History (particularly medieval and ancient civlizations), Reading, Foreign Language (I currently speak Spanish but plan to learn as many as I can), Landscape Photography, the outdoors, sports (especially college football), and Travel.

4 thoughts on “Sarum: The Novel of England by Edward Rutherfurd”

  1. half way through, fascinating, thought i was well read on British history. this has got me interested again.

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