Wednesday, October 2, 2013
This novel is epic. It covers a broad scope of time, beginning in prehistoric ice age England with the first primitive hunters and farmers, and coming up through thousands of years to the present (1980's). The story concentrates on the Salisbury Plain area of southern England, an area that was originally known as Sarum. It is not the easiest read, but worth the effort. There were sections that I found very "dry" but I slogged on... Of course it is impossible to cover every event in 10,000 years of history but he gives a very good "overview" and one learns about the Roman Empire, the Industrial Revolution, the plagues, and so on. One of the sections I enjoyed the most covered the incredible construction of Stonehenge. Because I have visited Stonehenge and know the enormity of those stones, I could really appreciate Rutherfurd's ideas of how it "came to be". Although I have not seen Salisbury Cathedral, I have been in many others that are similar, so that was also a very interesting section (shades of Pillars of the Earth). The author traces five families through many generations and you become engrossed in their stories and almost forget that you are learning history at the same time. I have often regretted not being more interested in History in school, but I think many other people are the same. (Perhaps History is "wasted" on the young?) It seems few of us really appreciate history until we are older. Every time I travel now, I wish I could remember more about the history of the place... For sure some teachers are more successful than others, sadly I never had a good History teacher who really knew how to make it come to life for the students... Maybe that's why I enjoy reading historical fiction now...I'm trying to catch up?
Back to Sarum. If you enjoy historical fiction, or you like James Michener or Ken Follett, I'm quite sure you would like Sarum. Just know that it will take some effort. But the effort is worth it. For sure.
What are you reading this week? I am almost through another book so I'll be telling you about it shortly. And yes, it is much shorter. No more 1000+ page books for me, for a little while.... until the next good one comes along...
"If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need." ~Marcus Tullius Cicero