Another book review blog?!?

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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Sarum - Historical Fiction

Author: Edward Rutherfurd
Title:  Sarum
Publication Date:    1987
Number of Pages: mass market:1344; pb: 897
Part of a Series: No

Subject Heading(s):
  • Cathedrals–England
  • Christianity
  • Civilization, Stone ageFamily
  • Domestic fiction
  • Family – Fiction.
  • Farmers
  • Historical fiction.
  • Human evolution
  • Human settlements
  • Hunters
  • Industrial revolution
  • Men/women relations
  • Salisbury (England) – Fiction.
  • Salisbury (England) – Fiction.
  • Salisbury Region (England) – Fiction.
  • Salisbury Region (England) – Fiction.       
  • Stonehenge (England) – Fiction
  • Technology and civilization
  • Women rulers
Geographical Setting/ Time Period: England/7,000 B.C.E. to 1985 C.E.

Main Character(s): The ancestors of the five families
Hwll: lived as a nomadic hunter from the tundra in 7,500 BCE; has a reputation as a skilled hunter and tracker, he is a good protector and provider for his family. He is above average height with coal black eyes, beard and hair.
Tep: a woodland hunter in 7,500 BCE; conniving and vicious without provocation, he and his family are pariahs. His distinct physical traits: his face had a pinched look and he had unusually long toes.
Krona: lived around 4,000 BCE: a born leader among men, he was both a fierce warrior and peaceful farmer. He was a big as a bull, had a noble mien and piercing, angry black eyes. He always carried a large, black wooden club.
Nooma: a stone mason around 4,000 BCE; shy and often reserved, he easily trusted others. People often respected him for his skill with stone but found him physically unusually- his large, statuesque head was combined with a stocky body, bowed legs and small hands with stubby fingers.
Aelfwald the thane: an Anglo-Saxon that lived in 877 CE; he was a thane, meaning a nobleman, tall, “well built,” and was remarkably good looking with his blond hair and blue eyes. He was known for being calm and intelligent.

Plot Summary: Describing the history of England over 10,000 years, from the Ice Age to present, it traces five families from 7500 BCE to their present day descendants. Included are maps of southern England and family trees.

Appeal: Frame: a wealth of details about the evolution of the country of England; both how the land changes, how the people and their beliefs evolve, and how society develops. Setting: England from 7,000 BCE to the present. Most of the narrative describes the events that lead to England becoming the nation it is today. Realistic fictional characters and real historical figures are tools for fleshing out accurate historical events. Language is modern, but includes some vocabulary relevant to each time period. Some descriptions of violence are included that are necessary plot elements but rarely graphic. Pacing is unhurried; chapters are chronological, each chapter describes a different point in history, and chapter lengths vary from 50 to 200 pages.

Brief quote: “About seven thousand five hundred years before the birth of Christ, in the still bleak and uninviting season that was summer in those northern lands, a single hunter undertook a journey that was impossible. His name, as nearly as it can be written, was Hwll.” (page 3)

Prizes or Awards:
NYT Bestseller for 23 weeks.
Rutherfurd’s New York: The Novel won Langum Prize for American Historical Fiction for 2009 from the Langum Charitable Trust.

Similar Works:
London by Rutherfurd
Fall of Giants by Ken Follett
Ireland by Frank Delaney

Reviewer’s Name:   Lori Chatman

Sarum: The Novel of England

Form adapted from Saricks, Joyce G. and Nancy Brown. Readers= Advisory Service in the Public Library 2nd.  Chicago: ALA, 1997.

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