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)
Rutherfurd has authored a captivating tale that chronicles the fortunes of several families as the story weaves through significant periods in English history. The story lines of the individual families remain true to historical events and, in some small way, allow us to experience what life in those times may have really been like.
I had some initial trepidation on the choice of Wanda McCaddon as narrator. However! Twenty minutes into the book and I was sold and thereafter thoroughly enjoyed her rendition.
The performance and the story are wonderful. I think Wanda McCaddon does a fine job changing her voice around for each character. However, the skips in the tracks where the audio seems to jump forward leaves much to be desired. I hope Audible can get fixed tracks soon.
I love history,I am into genealogy, my iPod is my constant companion. Favorite authors...D. Gabaldon, N. DeMille, K. Follett, E. Rutherfurd
If you love history, if you love long books, you will love Sarum. It was the first Rutherfurd book I read and have since read everything he has written. I absolutely do not have a problem with Wanda McCaddon's narration, I think she did a phenomenal job of reading and you must remember she was reading the book. If you get bored with long books of history this one is probably not for you, however, I listened to it twice, and found it was easier to keep the families straight through the name changes, on the second listen.
trying to see the world with my ears
(aka Doneda Peters and Nadia May) because you'll be listening to so much of her here - and from reading reviews of other books she's narrated, listeners usually have a love or hate relationship with her. She has an older-style narration (Talking Books) and she shines in classics with multiple-claused sentences and in nonfiction. I love her, and that was the tipping point for this download for me -- because although I love historical fiction, I usually can't stand anything earlier than early a 19th century setting.
I really didn't expect to like this novel - I thought it a good value for listening and learning while I did chores, etc.- but I VERY much enoyed the listen too. It's not a Ken Follet page turner, but I think the details will linger in a listener's mind more than those from a potboiler. Rutherford knits together a unique novel-docudrama
He does take century long leaps in time and in conjecture, but after about ten hours of listening, this starts to seem natural! I did not experience the technical glitches mentioned by other reviewers, BUT it does sound like an older quality recording (back when Wanda was getting paid about $15 a hour).
So know what you're getting before you hit "cart" -- or like me, if you have days to fill with listening, take a chance in case you too will be pleasantly surprised.
Rutherford performs at his usual high standard. I'm always entertained and informed by his work. Unfortunately, the narrator/production crew fell short. Although the narrator has a soothing but authoritative voice (to me), there are numerous odd pauses that could have been edited, as well as deficiencies in the audio file (skips, gaps). Perhaps minor quibbles, but annoying nonetheless.
you will probably enjoy this book. Indeed,I think I enjoyed Sarum more because I had listened to Pillars first. Pillars covered a smaller time period in more detail. Sarum covered more time in less detail.
Starting in pre-historic times, the book is a series of short stories, following a family through thousands of years and showcasing many historic events.
Although this is already a very long book, it seems that, just about the time I am really enjoying the characters and story, it abruptly ends. Then you are moved forward hundreds or thousands of years to find the family's descendants involved in another historical event.
One of the most interesting aspects of the book is how Rutherford shows which people are related to whom in each prior story through physical characteristics, personality and surname evolution.
If you like history, genealogy, England - you will enjoy this story.
Pillars of the Earth
No, but I enjoyed this one.
I would not rename it. The name is perfect.
I read all the time, or nearly. I always have, I guess, since I was very young ... and now, getting older, more audio than any other medium.
I'm not sure if I have read every book by Edward Rutherfurd, but if I haven't it's merely an oversight. This author has never written anything I didn't like, but this is one of his great ones. Not his ONLY great one, but one of them. It is the first one I read and I've been hooked since. It's the story of the Salisbury plain, but it is, in a way, the story of humankind. It is rich, it is a tapestry that is both broad and intimate. It is everything you could possibly want in this kind of fiction. I have read it in print, but listening to it may be even better.
I love reading Rutherfurd's books. I love following families and seeing how historical events in history shape the lives and fortunes of succeeding generations. Anyone who enjoys history will enjoy this as well as all of Rutherfurd's books. Details of historical events are accurate and seeing them through the eyes of the characters brings them alive.
My only disappointment is the narrator. In the Ireland series the narrator was perfect and I was somewhat disappointed in the reader of this book. While she has a lovely voice, the constant swallowing bothered me. Her voice sounds old. Otherwise, I loved the book and would recommend it to anyone interested in historical novels.
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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.
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.
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