In Sarum, Edward Rutherfurd weaves a compelling saga of five English families whose fates become intertwined over the course of centuries. While each family has its own distinct characteristics, the successive generations reflect the changing character of Britain. We become drawn not only into the fortunes of the individual family members, but also the larger destinies of each family line.
Meticulously researched and epic in scope, Sarum covers the entire sweep of English civilization: from the early hunters and farmers, the creation of Stonehenge, the dawn of Christianity, and the Black Death; through the Reformation, the wars in America, the Industrial Age, and the Victorian social reforms; up through the World War II invasion of Normandy and the modern-day concerns of a once-preeminent empire.
©1987 Edward Rutherfurd (P)1994 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“Nadia May is ideal; her British accents fit the locale, and her pacing and characterizations are smooth, unobtrusive and compelling. The ease of her reading leads the listener to forget she is there, the sign of the perfect narrator.” (AudioFile)
Yes, I like the narrator but the whole thing became "mechanical" due to the unrelenting assault of facts at the expensive of a good story. There was little a narrator could do but plow through it.
No, it was big on historical facts, one after another, but minimal character development. Nothing to make a movie out of. I guess it could be done in documentary form for quite a history was presented.
With my long commutes, a book like this can make time on the road bareble. I would recommend it for folks that can dedicate the hefty time needed to complete these volumes.
I would probably try another work by Rutherfurd. I would however try to have it less comprehensive, or more broken up.
Narration was adequate. The various voices and accents made the flow enjoyable.
No. It is already comprehensive in its scope. You can't expect much more beyond a caveman to present day timeline.
I enjoyed the book. It has led me to learn more about the area and times covered in the work.
Member Since 2006!!
I love the concept of this book: the history of a place told by a family of its inhabitants down through the generations. That’s one of the reasons it’s on my Favourites List: Over and above an appealing story that I enjoy reading, it’s a clever concept.
The story starts in prehistoric times, and continues over the ages during the building of Stonehenge, the arrival of the Romans and Vikings, The Plague, The Reformation etc… If you love historical fiction, you’ll enjoy the tales of how everyday ordinary people lived during those significant times in British History. In essence, because you can’t really cover 5000 years of detailed history in 1000 pages (or 45 hours on audio), the book is a collection of short stories. Interesting ones!! and that’s what makes the book so easy to read despite the length… then again, after reading (and loving) Ken Follett’s bricks, this one doesn’t seem so bad.
I have to admit that I got a little lost along the way, and I am no longer sure how the families are interconnected, but it’s not a deterrent to keep going. I am three quarters of the way through, up to “The Unrest” in 1642 (Catholics versus Protestants in Ireland). I have another few days to go until I am done (or 350 years), but I know I will be riveted to the end (1980s).
Clearly I am not alone in my admiration of this concept for a book, the formula was a hit and he’s written many more in the same style (for example: Russia, London, Ireland, and Dublin) but I think after Sarum I am done with Britain for this kind of book but I might try “London”. “Russia” doesn’t interest me that much, but I do have “New York” and I am looking forward to “Paris” due to come out in April 2013.
The narrator was great, but I agree there were a few production glitches – not many, but enough to lose a star.
British radio producer; storyteller, folk historian and book addict. I rely on audio books to help me fit in extra reading.
I listened with a sigh. oh blast! I thought; I'm now definitely going to maintain my reputation for fussiness over pronunciation.
First, Wanda McCaddon aka Doneda Peters; is a well known reader to me. I've listened to many of her performances, and like her voice very much. She adds character without over doing it; and rarely lets one down.
This performance is mostly brilliant.
Only one tiny (but teeth grinding) problem. Nobody explained to her, the all important rules of Celtic pronunciation.
No soft C's....F is pronounced like V, no soft G's.
So when she said "Selt" rather than "Kelt" in virtually the first line, I was a little dismayed.
When she went on to say "Affon" rather than "Avon" (at least she pronounced the "A" correctly) I actually chuckled, as the sentence read something like
"The Roman's pronunciation sounded strange to the Celts' ears" Actually, the Roman pronounced Afon correctly, the Celtic way.
I know, we've established that I am an irritating fusspot....but...in a reading of a book, these little things can make or mar the telling.
Luckily, Wanda's overall performance is up to her usual star turn. I hold the researchers and producers responsible for these slips.
The book itself is extraordinary. Rutherfurd brings us an history of a part of England; that is rich and compelling.
If you happen to know the area well (as I am lucky to do) the story becomes even more fascinating, as you feel the development and changes over the centuries.
I have read other Rutherfurd books, his "London" remains locked in my memory.
I love the way that Rutherfurd gives his characters small identifiable physical characteristics, so that one may recognise the line of descendants over the story.
Wonderful story for lovers of England, British history, and particularly Salisbury and Wiltshire.
Overall brilliant....how does one describe an audio equivalent of a page turner?
I couldn't bear to take out my earbuds......I worked happily on cleaning /sorting tasks for hours allowing the story to transport me.
Yes, for people who relish extremely, well-researched historical fiction.
I am already quite familiar with the history of this area so I thoroughly enjoyed the author's description of particular events, battles, social changes etc. and how the effect on a diverse group of people. However, what made this book memorable for me was author's depiction of the ice age, migration south and early settlement of the area: this was simply delicious!
I think her consistency was particularly notable. Given this was such a long book, I was impressed that her narration brought the same tone from beginning to end. I had no idea which of the six parts I was listening to at any given sitting - other than the timeline itself. Like many of the good narrators, she did not emote and allowed the events and the characters to tell the story.
There were many...
I have read extensively about this area and how the political and social powers in the UK and Europe changed over time and I anticipated more of this. I was certainly not prepared for how skillfully the author wove a tapestry of family relationships over such a long period of time and such dramatic changes to society. At the end, I was thrilled the author introduced a descendant from one of the group who left for the New World just after the American Revolution. To connect with name recognition to a distant relative was a tad contrived, but I was pleased that loose end was tied up. I also appreciated the contrasting view points of both these characters (and likely the author himself)... i.e. Salisbury being like a museum (stagnant) and the perception of fighting for the past vs. acknowledging and celebrating the fluidity of change. The irony of these view points was not lost on me and it certainly cuts both ways.
I adore really well-written fiction, mystery series, and historical fiction, and delight in finding well-narrated translations.
A friend recommended this series, knowing I loved Frank Delaney's IRELAND - A NOVEL.
But two things have me bogged down in Part 1: (1) the narrator, whose voice is fine for other things, plods along without much variety in tone, (2) the fictional assumptions and trite story of pre-historical England just don't work for me. The characters aren't alive for me--or interesting. No new material is presented. Not that I expected surprises, just that I thought there would be more than I've gotten from a zillion other sources before, like: could there would be more archeological information to it than the surface assumptions about those early inhabitants that are already all over popular media? Is there really no more to learn about those early people? Are they really so simple as to be "not like us?"
For me, good historical fiction bridges that particular gap--relating to real people we could know.
My friend says to stick with it, that following the genetic group that the "prehistory" part begins with becomes more interesting later on. I might just skip ahead, as I just can't plod along with the pre-Arthurian Brits!
The narrator is, IMHO, the wrong one for this series. Perhaps the series itself is why she didn't put the early part over so far as I was concerned, though.
If you buy this series, prepare yourself to slog through it until it gets interesting along the way in this LONG series--and like I will, hope that happens! .
This was a book I looked forward to eagerly and was dissappointed in the plodding nature of the story. When just getting to know a character and liking or hating them, you are thrown hundreds of years into the future. This goes on again and again. I won't even bother to download the remainder of the story as I have given up on it entirely.
This book was such an excellent story. It made me so much want to visit that part of England. I love the way the author creates such a sense of continuity through the ages. I recommend it wholeheartedly!
It was at times maybe hard to follow on audio, and having the printed pages may have been helpful- but overall I really enjoyed this book! Others have said there were some odd pauses in the narration, but I find that listening at 1 1/2 or 2 x speed takes care of the issue:)
A Great Story and a super way to study history. He traces the history of Sarum through four different families and their story really never gets dull.
Report Inappropriate Content