"City of love. City of splendour. City of terror. City of dreams."
Inspired by the haunting, passionate story of the city of lights, this epic novel weaves a gripping tale of four families across the centuries: from the lies that spawn the noble line of de Cygne to the revolutionary Le Sourds who seek their destruction; from the Blanchards whose bourgeois respectability offers scant protection against scandal to the hard-working Gascons and their soaring ambitions.
Over hundreds of years, these four families are bound by forbidden loves and marriages of convenience; dogged by vengeance and murderous secrets; torn apart by the irreconcilable differences of birth and faith, and brought together by the tumultuous history of their city. Paris bursts to life in the intrigue, corruption and glory of its people.
Beloved author of Sarum, London, and New York, Edward Rutherfurd illuminates Paris as only he can: capturing the romance and everyday drama of the men and women who, in 2000 years, transformed a humble trading post on the muddy banks of the Seine into the most celebrated city in the world.
©2013 Edward Rutherford (P)2013 Hodder & Stoughton
I was in Paris at the time so that helped! This book spans several generations and does it well. Loved it. Was a long, great yarn.
Hard to say - they were all great.
I appreciated Paris so much more having read this book, and it was just a great read. kept me hooked right til the end. Brilliant
Listening is so much more experiential, the voice, like a an instrument adds emotion and nuance to the writer.
One does not read Edward Rutherfurd for the plot and story. The narrative is purely a backdrop or a canvas to explore the city and to 'experience' its historic life. The actual story is, in true Rutherfurd tradition, slightly weak and contrived. Don't get me wrong, it is much less painful than anything by Dan Brown, but the narrative is a vehicle not the end. Therefore the end of the book could be anything, since the real end of the book is going to be your travel agent.
The two J's do justice to the story and help to delineate the forward-backward jumps in centuries. Jonathan can really make con you to believe it is a woman talking without any obvious falsetto trick. True craft.
I would have liked to win that lucky draw, not for the obvious, but for the other.
A good, albeit weak yarn, on a magnificent backdrop.
How the fictional characters were woven into the factual account of some of the history of the city
Any of Edward Rutherfurd's books
A French influence
Far too long to read in one sitting but always looked forward to the next sitting
Made me look for factual reference to events around which the story is woven. Learnt a lot.
"A great book - hard to follow in Audible format"
I love the way Edward Rutherford follows families through the ages, and gives such marvellous glimpses of what it might have been like to be involved in, or witness to, historical events - both terrible and inspiring. It alternates between events in the middle ages and more recent, with a lot more focus on the 19th and 20th centuries, but is quite hard to follow. I kept thinking that I needed the book to refer back, to remind myself of the family connections, and I also believe it is likely that a book might contain maps and drawings to illustrate the places it was referring to.
That said, I loved the book, it has given me a good overall perspective on French history. Narration is excellent too.
"Press on past the first hour or so..."
This was my first E Rutherfurd. I love long audio books and I love Paris, so that's why I bought it. It's not exactly what I was expecting - but it is very good.
The plot is very complex. It seems simple enough at face value, but the switches in era, generations and families adds a layer (or several) which at times, did baffle me. I was slightly bored, or at least not engaged, for about 1 - 2 hours but given that this is such a long book, I was prepared to go with it. Very glad I did. Sometimes the switches in time/characters made sections of the book feel like extended short stories, which I also liked.
Plotting it must have been a nightmare! Even now, I am slightly unclear about the fate of a couple of the characters/families - but it didn't spoil it.
The main feature is the way the book captures a very tangible sense of Paris, through several hundred years of living history. At times, because of the richness of the historical content, I felt that I was listening to a book that was 100% factual; of course it isn't, but the fiction of the plot, set in front of the facts, which come to life, was very clever and rewarding.
The 2 narrators were excellent.
Definitely in my upper top 10! I wonder sometimes whether I would enjoy a book this much if I had actually read it. The narration definitely adds an obvious added dimension, but its definitely a positive one. I love audiobooks especially when there are narrators acting as both sexes and then even sharing some characters, as they do in this audiobook. They're are so good that you forget that its a woman narrating a man's "voice" or vice versa.
The overlapping stories over such a long period of time, combined with actual history of the ages were a joy. The intricacy of all the characters within each family was so complete! Each new revelation in their relationships was a like a little burst of energy infused to the novel.
I haven't, but I do have The Girl On The Stairs by Louise Welsh on my wish list
Funnily enough, although I felt very connected with all the characters, it was the vision of the Eiffel Tower growing as it was built that I found so moving. To think of Paris without it was impossible for me, until Edward Rutherford's novel. Now I can put names and stories to the men who built the Tower. Even if they're only fictional.
I'm looking forward to the next Edward Rutherford novel, or more likely, audiobook.
I've been to Paris many times but after reading this book I will view it with different eyes. It is beautifully written, painstakingly researched and made Paris and it's history come to life for me. A must-read for any Francophile and one which I will listen to again and again.
"A good read."
Yes. It captures the feel of Paris and there's a lot to get your teeth into. I really enjoyed the descriptions of a city I know reasonably well, and love.
I suppose it was Thomas Gascon and his love of the Statue of Liberty and the Eiffel Tower- although his brother Luc was interesting and I hoped that he would eventually 'come good'.
They were excellent and helped to bring the characters to life. Jane Wymark's French accent was particularly good.
I've enjoyed all Rutherfurd's books and was pleased to see this one available. My only hesitation is that, unlike Sarum or London, it didn't follow a clear timeline. I found it a bit confusing at first to keep jumping backward and forward between years. Apart from that a really good book and one I shall listen to more than once.
Will listen again to this saga, very good description of Paris during the ages
The way the story was told
All of it
"Good but I need to read another"
Undecided. This was my first Rutherfurd and there was good and bad. Interesting enough for me to read another to see if the bad points were unique to this book.
The interweaving of information and historical fact with the fiction.I learned a few things. For example that the French Army went to the front line in WWI in taxis.
Louise, much much more than the usual 'tart with a heart'.
I found the way of drip feeding information about historical figures before revealing who they were to be patronising in the extreme. I suppose it was designed to make SOME listeners may feel smug and self satisfied at knowing who they were before they were named.I just found it obvious and irksome. It got to the point I was expecting a primary school teacher voice to cut in with 'Do you know who it could be children?'
In any book of this length the linking and drawing together of many characters over an extended period becomes contrived. Add in the many real writers, artists etc. with whom the fictional characters had interactions, and it became more than slightly ridiculous.
Having said that all that there was enough good in the book that I will listen to another of the author's works before I jump one way or other from my seat on the fence.
"Totally great story"
Thomas Gascoigne cutting the cables on the Eiffel Tower, but really there are many. This is a great story spanning centuries of French and European history. Its just a shame that the narration wasn't quite up there. It is perfectly tolerable, but I would have liked more accurate French intonations.
There are two narrators, both good, but, I would have preferred better French accents .
The more things change, the more they stay the same, but you can't keep good men and women down. SO much of our history is determined by war.
"We'll sometimes have Paris..."
No, it was interesting enough but there's nothing in it that would persuade me that there's more to be gained from a second listening
The final scene between Luc and Thomas was particularly emotional...you could see it coming but couldn't quite believe it was going to play out the way it did.
Nevermind that, what I couldn't help wonder was: why didn't they pick a male actor who could do a passable French accent? And as for his female voices....*shudder*. Wymark was excellent though and Keeble, when sticking to male voices, was fine enough.
It's not all cheese and wine, y'know...
Despite my grumbles, I really enjoyed this book, the sense of history and sweeping scope of it.
"Great for lovers of Paris and French history"
i have not read the book yet but thought the book was narrated well.
Thomas Gascon. A decent person who took a few risks yet was dependable and ultimately acted for the greater good of his comrades
The way they ensured it was easy to follow which character they were portraying?
How badly the solicitor's daughter treated people and also when Louise was betrayed
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