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Publisher's Summary

"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

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Wonderful, descriptive tale. Thoroughly enjoyed it

What made the experience of listening to Paris the most enjoyable?

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.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Hard to say - they were all great.

Any additional comments?

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

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  • Joe
  • Warwick, U.K.
  • 10-24-13

Centuries of beautiful, delectable snobbery

Would you consider the audio edition of Paris to be better than the print version?

Listening is so much more experiential, the voice, like a an instrument adds emotion and nuance to the writer.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

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.

What about Jane Wymark and Jonathan Keeble ’s performance did you like?

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.

If you could take any character from Paris out to dinner, who would it be and why?

I would have liked to win that lucky draw, not for the obvious, but for the other.

Any additional comments?

A good, albeit weak yarn, on a magnificent backdrop.

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  • Chris
  • Whitstable, United Kingdom
  • 10-14-13

Paris - just amazing

What did you love best about Paris?

How the fictional characters were woven into the factual account of some of the history of the city

What other book might you compare Paris to and why?

Any of Edward Rutherfurd's books

What does Jane Wymark and Jonathan Keeble bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

A French influence

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Far too long to read in one sitting but always looked forward to the next sitting

Any additional comments?

Made me look for factual reference to events around which the story is woven. Learnt a lot.

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  • Penny
  • 11-29-13

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.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Jean
  • 08-07-13

A good read.

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

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.

Who was your favorite character and why?

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'.

What does Jane Wymark and Jonathan Keeble bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

They were excellent and helped to bring the characters to life. Jane Wymark's French accent was particularly good.

Any additional comments?

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.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Alison
  • 02-04-14

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.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Karen
  • 12-02-13

Epic

Where does Paris rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

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.

What did you like best about this story?

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.

Have you listened to any of Jane Wymark and Jonathan Keeble ’s other performances? How does this one compare?

I haven't, but I do have The Girl On The Stairs by Louise Welsh on my wish list

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

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.

Any additional comments?

I'm looking forward to the next Edward Rutherford novel, or more likely, audiobook.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Amy
  • 08-19-13

Loved it!

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-12-15

A clever story with many dimensions.

A very clever, nice and enchanting story through several centuries of the French history and lifestyle. A complete history revision book as well as an enjoyable fiction.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Paul D
  • 02-05-15

Great blend of history and story

Would you listen to Paris again? Why?

Possibly. There is certainly enough content to make a second listening enjoyable.

What did you like best about this story?

The blend of history with family saga.

What about Jane Wymark and Jonathan Keeble ’s performance did you like?

Good clear and unobtrusive.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Nope.

Any additional comments?

All round an I interesting and stimulating listen. Looked have looked for further books - plenty in reading but none for audible. London, New York, Madrid . . . .yes please. .


1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • helen
  • 03-11-14

Great for lovers of Paris and French history

Would you consider the audio edition of Paris to be better than the print version?

i have not read the book yet but thought the book was narrated well.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Thomas Gascon. A decent person who took a few risks yet was dependable and ultimately acted for the greater good of his comrades

What about Jane Wymark and Jonathan Keeble ’s performance did you like?

The way they ensured it was easy to follow which character they were portraying?

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

How badly the solicitor's daughter treated people and also when Louise was betrayed

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Bedelia
  • 08-06-14

interesting story

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Will listen again to this saga, very good description of Paris during the ages

What did you like best about this story?

The way the story was told

Which scene did you most enjoy?

All of it

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Alex
  • 07-08-14

Good but I need to read another

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

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.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

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.

Which character – as performed by Jane Wymark and Jonathan Keeble – was your favourite?

Louise, much much more than the usual 'tart with a heart'.

Was Paris worth the listening time?

Marginal yes.

Any additional comments?

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.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Jan
  • 07-07-14

Rutherfurd brings out the soul of the city

Where does Paris rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Best to date

What did you like best about this story?

We have visited Paris many times, and loved each visit. But this treatment adds a new dimension to our experience

What about Jane Wymark and Jonathan Keeble ’s performance did you like?

Top readers

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The section on the resistance movement in WWII

Any additional comments?

Just the book to listen in midwinter or while on a long trip. Absorbing.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Debra
  • 10-11-17

brilliant read

i loved this book - the story is amazing brings Paris history to life. amazingly put together through time.

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  • Amy
  • 08-16-17

Got so lost.

Would you try another book written by Edward Rutherfurd or narrated by Jane Wymark and Jonathan Keeble ?

Yes, I loved the Narrations and I love most of ER books.

What could Edward Rutherfurd have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Be clearer with dates around the characters?

Any additional comments?

I got so lost trying to keep up with who was whom and what dates were :/

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  • paolomac
  • 08-26-16

Beautifully read

The narrators were marvellous. Their French was also very good.

The story is quite engaging. It brings Paris to life and hits all the major points of French history along the way and from several different points of view through the different characters with different sympathies and beliefs.

Quite long, but not a chore to listen to at all.

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  • P
  • 01-30-15

A few centuries of wonder

I listened entranced by this book.This was the first book by Edward Rutherford that I had encountered and I wondered why I hadn't come across him before. It helped that Paris is one of my favorite cities and that I had been there for short visits quite a lot of times and knew the area she spoke of.
I can't wait to listen to another.

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  • Garyfmp
  • 10-04-14

A long story but but full of interesting information

What made the experience of listening to Paris the most enjoyable?

Listening to the story about the Eiffel Tower, Statue of Liberty and the war years,

Who was your favorite character and why?

Thomas Gascon was my favourite because of his link to the above

What three words best describe Jane Wymark and Jonathan Keeble ’s performance?

A good performance but not sure why the French characters had an English (cockney?) accent and yet the Germans had the more appropriate (in my opinion) German accent.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No because its very long

Any additional comments?

The numbered chapters in the audio book did not match the spoken chapter numbers, not sure why.

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