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Historical Novels

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by Edward Rutherfurd

The Back Cover

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.

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The Location

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The Timeline

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
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My Comments

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.

Comments from Others

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