Sarum: The Novel of England by Edward Rutherfurd
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I picked up Sarum by Edward Rutherfurd because I have an interest in that area of England. The book details more than 2000 years of human life in Southern England around what is today Salisbury.
This long book is similar in style to books by Mitchern (think Hawaii, Texas, Alaska).
For me some parts of the book were better than others. I enjoyed the pre-historic sections as well as the building of Stonehenge. The Roman period was well done and I liked the portion about King Alfred. Although, I think he could have done more with that section.
I was very disappointed with Rutherfurd’s handling of the period after 1066 and Henry II. After all, his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine was held under house arrest at Sarum after her failed rebellion against Henry! Clearly, Rutherfurd had to condense history in order to keep the book under the 1000 page mark, but I really like that period.
The building of the famous Salisbury Cathedral was well portrayed.
I did like the author’s treatment of the American Revolution and the letters home about what was happening.
I feel as if the 1st half of the 20th Century was very much glossed over but I liked the discussion of American troops in Britain. I especially enjoyed the social issues the author talked about such as the difference in pat between the British and American soldiers.
All and all, the story was a little slow for me and it got bogged down at certain points. I keep picking up these epics and yet I find myself struggling to get to the end of them. Unless you truly love these very long sweeping stories, stay away.