Sarum by Edward Rutherfurd
My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
While I’m thinking about historical fiction, I figured I might as well post about one of my favorite examples of the genre. Where Cold Mountain was about one man’s experiences during a relatively brief period of American history, Sarum is a monumental recounting of the entire history of England. We are talking Epic, here, in the most wide-sweeping sense.
The book begins in the Stone Age, and loosely follows the story of five family lines, as their descendants come forward through the centuries to modern day England. It seems daunting, especially when you see the size of the book, but it is actually very readable. I found Sarum shortly after it was published in 1997, and I remember that I could not put it down. It was one of those books that makes history come alive, and we are talking about everything from the first conquerors that swept into Britain, to the creation of Stonehenge, to the building of the Roman baths and the great cathedrals. And every story along the way pulls you in completely. I learned more about the history of England from this book than I ever learned in school. Of course, I’ve forgotten a lot of it since 1997, but I do remember how riveting it was. This is how history SHOULD be taught. Instead of memorizing dates and battle sites, ad nauseum, you experience historical events through the eyes of those who lived them.
For anyone who wants to know…well…EVERYTHING…about England, including Cro-Magnon man, the Celts and the Romans, the Vikings and the Normans…this is one-stop shopping. I’ll bet you’ll be as fascinated by it all as I was.
If you decide to place an order with amazon, clicking through from my links will give me credit. If you are enjoying my reviews on Bookin’ It, it’s a great way to let me know! Thanks!