ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

London - Edward Rutherfurd

Updated on February 14, 2010

Book review - London by Edward Rutherfurd

‘By seeing London, I have seen as much of life as the world can show”

Samuel Johnson

What else can this city possibly reveal! This massive hit tells all.

Who is the author?

Edward Rutherfurd was born in 1948 and raised in Salisbury, England. Educated there in his early years, he later went on to university in Cambridge and Stanford California.

He worked in publishing, book selling and had some early attempts at writing. He finally began to focus as an author and returned to the place of his birth to write his first best seller - Sarum. Four years in the making, it was published in 1987 and established Edward Rutherfurd as a true craftsman of descriptive historical fiction.

He has spent most of his life living between Europe and New York. He is a Patron of the National Theatre of Ireland and is active in cathedral and civic life in Salisbury, his beloved birthplace; so much so that in 2005 one of the streets leading from its market place was named Rutherfurd Walk in honour of their famous and talented son.

What’s the story?

London is a great sprawling city, full of life, intrigue wealth, pleasure and pain. The Thames is its life blood.

London the novel is a great sprawling story, which captures the essence of the city from its beginnings as a primitive settlement on the banks of the river, before the Romans arrived on English shores, through to development of the docklands today.

Spanning two millennia, it follows the fortunes of families whose lives are inextricably linked to the river and the tide of fortunes and failings it brings.

Historical fact is the core of the book; Rutherfurd takes us through London and its development into the business capital of the world. The places, street names events – all will be familiar to those who know London. To those that don’t it is a wonderful introduction to the city’s history.

It shows that London has always been the diverse mix of peoples and cultures which makes it one of the most exciting cities in the world.

My experience of the book

I first read this epic when I began working in London in 1998. I wanted to get to know the city and came across the book one day in a station bookshop.

800 pages - quite a challenge, but it held my attention so well.

I spent the next few days locked into those 800 pages. Enthralled, captivated, excited, and entertained; all of these emotions came from Rutherfurd’s characters, coupled with the detailed historical knowledge, they are woven by his mastery into a magical fabric which brought the city alive.

The families we are introduced to – the Doggets and Duckets – paupers and aristocrats respectively. The Saxon Bulls and Carpenters, Viking Barnikels; the arrival of the Norman Silversleeves; Flemings from Flanders, the Merediths from Wales; the Protestant Penny family, Huguenots from France, and the Scottish Forsyths.

Rutherfurd takes you into their lives and walks their journey with them through this amazing city as it grew and developed over the centuries. Intrigue, pain, joy; fortunes won and lost. You cannot help but to feel their very presence.

A city that I thought I knew took on a whole new dimension!

What is London - the city?

The story shows that the city’s history has always been that of a centre for immigrants to the country.

London's 7.5 million residents account for 12.5 per cent of the UK population (1)

85 per cent of Londoners say that their local area is a place where people of different backgrounds get on well together (2)

London's economy generated $452 billion in 2005 and is predicted to rise to $708 billion by 2020, making London the fourth largest city economy in the world (behind Tokyo, New York and Los Angeles) (3)

(1) Focus on London 2007, table 1.2 ONS/GLA

(2) London Councils' survey of Londoners 2007/08

(3) PWC - global city forecasts 2007

London today
London today


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • WestOcean profile image


      8 years ago from Great Britain

      Good review of a fine book.

    • dragonbear profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Essex UK

      Thanks for the welcome Immartin; Rutherfurd is a master of his craft indeed, his whole series is massive and great reading.

    • lmmartin profile image


      8 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      I read this novel several years ago, and like you, I loved it. Having visited London on many occasions I found it thrilling to "live" the history in this wonderfully written book. And you are right; those 800+ pages zipped by leaving me wanting more. (Sarum was also an excellent read) Welcome to hubpages.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)