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In Sarum, Edward Rutherfurd creates a masterpiece of breathtaking scope - a brilliantly conceived and superbly written epic novel that traces the entire turbulent course of English history. From primitive beginnings almost 10,000 years ago to the medieval world of knights and ladies, from the bloody civil war to colonial preeminence in the nineteenth century, right up until the present day, this is a magnificent story that until now has never been told.
This rich tapestry weaves a compelling saga of five families - the Wilsons, the Masons, the family of Porteus, the Shockleys, and the Godfreys - who preserve their own particular characteristics over successive generations and reflect the changing character of Britain. As their fates and fortunes intertwine over the course of the centuries, their greater destinies offer a fascinating glimpse into the future.
A rich and absorbing historical chronicle, Sarum is a keen tale of struggle and adventure, a profound human drama, and a masterful work of sheer storytelling.
The following timeline provides an overview of the history of England. I believe that most of the events listed below are a part of Sarum, but it has been quite some time since I read this book. If you have read the book recently or are reading it now, I would appreciate any suggestions for improving the time line.
8000 BC Ice Age Ending The rising sea level creates the English Channel thus creating the island known today as Great Britain and isolating its inhabitants from the rest of Europe. 2500 BC Stonehenge 600 BC Celts Dominate the Island The Celts, tall fair skinned wanderers who probably came from beyond the Caspian sea, had dominated much of Western Europe and then crossed the English Channel where they dominated the Island of Britain. The island's name come from those Celts known as Britons. The Celtic culture was dominated by the Druids (priests). 55 BC Julius Caesar Invades Britain Julius Caesar invaded Britain in 55 BC. 43 AD Claudius I Invades Britain Britain becomes a Roman military outpost and adapts many Roman customs and styles though remote areas are still dominated by the Celts. 410 AD Rome Abandons Britain Roman influence quickly disappears and Celtic culture begins to return, but local conflicts and attacks from the people of Ireland and Scottland weaken the culture. 449 AD Anglo-Saxons Invade Britain The Angles, the Saxons, and the Jutes, Germanic people from the region of modern day Denmark, crossed the North Sea and invaded Britain. Germanic kingdoms such as Wessex, Mercia, Northumbria and East Anglia were established throughout the island. The Celtic culture was pushed west to Wales and Cornwall. The island came to be called 'Angle island' or England. 850 Danes Set on Conquering England Sporadic raids of England's eastern coast by Scandinavians of Norway and Denmark, (known as Vikings or Danes by the English), turned into a concerted effort to conquer the island. Much of Eastern England taken by the Danes. 878 Alfred the Great Defeats Danes Treaty is signed. Wessex to be left alone by Danes. Danes retain eastern territories(?) 1016 Danish Rule Danes return in late 900's and England unable to stop them. Canute, king of Norway and Denmark makes himself king of England, but after his death Danish rule of England had reached its end. 1066 Norman Conquest
Although Sarum was written in a style similar to Russka, (which I thoroughly enjoyed), I did not find Sarum quite as enjoyable. There are many good stories within the book, but as a whole Sarum did not leave a lasting impression. If you are interested in England, it is certainly worth reading though.
If you have read Sarum and would like to have your comments included on this page, please send me your comments through feedback.