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4.05  ·  Rating Details  ·  19,225 Ratings  ·  1,098 Reviews
Dieser Roman beschreibt die Geschichte der Stadt London und das Schicksal ihrer Bewohner. Es ist eine gewaltige Saga, eine Zeitreise durch zweitausend Jahre bewegte Vergangenheit, die noch vor der Zeitenwende mit der römischen Siedlung Londinium beginnt und bis zur Sanierung der Docklands in unseren Tagen reicht. Einem Leitmotiv gleich schlängelt sich die Themse, die Leben ...more
Paperback, 888 pages
Published November 30th 2000 by Knaur (first published January 1st 1997)
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Jacqueline Oranges and lemons,
Say the bells of St. Clement's.

You owe me five farthings,
Say the bells of St. Martin's.

When will you pay me?
Say the bells of Old…more
Oranges and lemons,
Say the bells of St. Clement's.

You owe me five farthings,
Say the bells of St. Martin's.

When will you pay me?
Say the bells of Old Bailey.

When I grow rich,
Say the bells of Shoreditch.

When will that be?
Say the bells of Stepney.

I do not know,
Says the great bell of Bow.

Here comes a candle to light you to bed,
And here comes a chopper to chop off your head!

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Sep 07, 2007 Natalie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A sprawling historical novel as big as London itself - it was required reading before I went to study abroad and I've read it twice since. Rutherford did an incredible amount of research and it all comes together beautifully. The characters' family trees carry through the entire history of Britain - pre-Roman through WWII. This book is so dear to my heart!
Chariti King Canny
I did not like this book, and probably won't finish it though I'm 3/4 of the way through. The author goes from life to life through the history of London, and because it's such massive history, is unable to give details about the characters and environments that I usually adore. Because of this lack of detail I feel disconnected from the characters and the story. I chose to read it after going to London and wishing I could learn more about the historical day to day. I think reading seperate book ...more
Apr 23, 2008 Dave rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
The third book of Rutherford's that I've read of this type. Have previously read Sarum and Russka and this book pretty much followed those; nothing really surprising or extraordinary about this book.

I suggest reading this book for more of the historical facts than any sort of story-telling. As a history of London (and England) it's nice in that it's not too dry and involves a little bit of fictional aspects. However, the fact that the characters change every couple of chapters (as the narrative
Jan 08, 2009 Laura rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Ugh. Every physical description of a female character began and ended with her breasts. Wooden prose, stilted dialogue -- actually, the only thing I enjoyed about this book were the descriptions of London as it grew and changed. If Rutherfurd had written a story about the city itself, rather than bringing characters into it, I might have enjoyed it more. Maybe a better writer will attempt that book.
Jun 08, 2016 Gary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This epic work really does bring history alive in your as Rutherford moves from chapter to chapter effortlessly tracing the history of the remarkable city London and 5 remarkable families .There is not a dull moment and this should really awaken any interest you may have in history
Incredible men and unforgettable ,often extremely sensual, women enliven the pages of this work as you gain more knowledge about England and in the last chapter the message of the book is described succinctly .The rich
Mar 27, 2009 Margaret rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's odd to read a 1,124 page novel and feel that it's too short. This is not a "haute" literature novel, but rather a sprawling ramble through the history of London - the terrain and its people - made accessible through a series of chronological tales told through the ages. As with "Sarum," Mr. Rutherfurd follows different families over the centuries, with their stories intertwining due to coincidence, marriage, and friendship. This book genre is terrific for learning little known facts, such a ...more
Jun 28, 2016 Debie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you happen to like hauling around 1000+ page books with you for weeks, you'll love this one! Although not in the same league as Ken Follett's "Pillars of the Earth" and "World Without End", this is a nice book for Follett fans who are suffering from severe withdrawal symptoms after finishing those two great novels.

I probably could have done without the first 200 pages, I really didn't need to know how the White Cliffs of Dover were formed to lead into the rest of the book, but once I got pas
It started out fine, but about 3/4ths of the way through, the repetition (particularly every era having a character with an odd streak of white hair) got to be annoying, and in a 1100+ page book, it ended up seeming interminable.

Rutherfurd's got a schtick of writing massive doorstoppers following one family over the course of millennia. There's intimate domestic dramas and high points in history all mixed together. A fine formula, but once is enough. I tried reading his Russka: The Novel of Russ
Mary JL
Mar 11, 2011 Mary JL rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: any fan of historical fiction or hisotry
Recommended to Mary JL by: Discovered it myself
Shelves: fiction-classics
This is a long book--I will be a few days on this one. Looks good so

Tuesday 1/6/09. Now on page 365 of London. Still good. Will review when finished.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Finally finished London (we have been a bit busier at work).

The historical details of this book are excellent. I know a bit out history and there were no obvious errors or jarring anachronisms.
Dec 11, 2014 Katy marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
400 pesos el librito, me entran ganas de llorar. Mientras tanto sigo esperando que me lo compren....
Daniel Villines
With over eleven hundred pages, I was anticipating London to be both entertaining and educational. I was hoping for that magical merging of history and fiction, which gives life to history and historical significance to life. Rutherfurd's book, however, misses this anticipation by a wide margin.

London covers almost two thousand years of history and focuses on a few familial hereditary lines throughout that span of time. Each period of history that is selected by Rutherfurd is complemented by sto
M.G. Mason
Edward Rutherford writes mammoth books where the central character is a place and the people in them are incidental and used to drive the plot across a given time period (usually several thousand years). It is a formula that has worked well and gained critical and popular acclaim. ‘London’ is the third such novel of his I have read; the other two are ‘Sarum’ and ‘The Forest’.

‘London’ contains all of the best and worst elements of those two books. In ‘Sarum’ the characters and their situations ar
Sep 26, 2012 Matthew rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, history
Enjoyed this thoroughly though I concede it is popular rather than literary fiction. I haven't read other Rutherford books but I understand the concept is similar -- follow a few families, with distinguishing physical and personality traits, down through the ages from nigh pre-historic all the way through to contemporary world (the 1990's in this case), weaving history in with (fictional) biography. There is a quite an array of characters, and although some of them are stock or have elements of ...more
Jul 01, 2009 Patricia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hot summer days between the move and the arrival of household goods - no better time to start a long epic by Rutherfurd. I discovered this book was loaned to me about ten years ago by someone who doesn't want it back. I love these Michener-like authors who start with the creation of the earth and bring it through the centuries to modern day time, especially when, like Rutherfurd, they have families who intertwine through the epochs and are followed from earliest times to the present.

I also love
Feb 03, 2011 Ruth rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'll admit it--I didn't finish it. It's a good idea, and a good introduction to London's history, but I really got a little tired of the story (over and over and over) of the Brave, Heroic, Intelligent Man who manages to seduce, conquer, and commit adultery with the Silly, Stupid, Manipulative Woman, who is brainless, yes, but prettier than all the other silly, stupid, and manipulative women in that particular chapter. In fact, I have a hard time remembering a chapter in which this does not happ ...more
Tony Taylor
Jan 22, 2010 Tony Taylor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Edward Rutherfurd belongs to the James Michener school: he writes big, sprawling history-by- the-pound. His novel, London, stretches two millennia all the way from Roman times to the present. The author places his vignettes at the most dramatic moments of that city's history, leaping from Caesar's invasion to the Norman Conquest to the Great Fire to (of course) the Blitz, with many stops in between. London is ambitious, and students of English history will eat it up. The author doesn't skimp on ...more
Feb 05, 2015 Laurie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: London Fanatics
Well, for an 1100 page-plus book, I would've liked it to be more interesting. There were a lot of large sections that were bogged down by politics & religion (and at one regrettable point, banking); while I know these issues obviously affect people's lives, I don't need to read about every single complexity therein.

There were some great historical tidbits I'd never heard before and I went Googling several times to look at photos & drawings of places gone by (several still remaining). The
Feb 06, 2008 Lindsay rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
London: The Novel is an entertaining, albeit long, read. It takes some time to get into the book; you have to make your way past some dry geographic passages and slow character development. Each chapter is its own short story which could probably stand on its own. Since the author couldn’t use the same character through two millennia, he has simplified the character development by using several families and their descendents. Different genetic traits and/or attitudes reoccur through the ages—giv ...more
Nov 03, 2008 Lisa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a lonnnnnnnnnnnng book! It traces the history of London, from Roman times up through the 1990s. The author cleverly establishes several families and follows them throughout the various historical periods of London's history. It was a fascinating book, and I learned a great deal about the city, the history of British royalty, the origins of buildings and businesses in London and also the origins of many archaic says we still use today. I enjoyed the book, but it was a little too long for ...more
Salley J Robins
Oct 05, 2015 Salley J Robins rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You either love or loathe this book. I loved it! We were lucky enough to have a friend in London lend us his apartment for a month while he was overseas working. And that was our honeymoon - a month in London. In the years that followed, we returned many times to explore the city we loved. This book brought things to life that we'd seen many times and had no clue as to why they were like that. It's the biography of a huge city made personal by the very human characters. There are so many parts t ...more
Jun 16, 2015 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had to refer back to the family tree in the beginning of the book a lot because I kept getting confused about which family the character I was reading about belonged to but on the whole I enjoyed it. Some of the descriptions of London were lost on me since I have never been there but I did learn something and I enjoyed googling some of the famous buildings and seeing what they really looked like. I concluded in the end that if I wanted to get really familiar with London I'd have to visit and r ...more
Fantástico. Definitivamente leeré nuevamente a Rutherfurd. Lo mejor son las descripciones de lugares y edificios, y las tecnologías usadas en la construcción (mi lado arquitectónico sale a flote aquí).
Ammetto di aver fatto una lunga, lunga pausa a metà della lettura, giusto prima che costruissero il Globe Theatre. Eppure, ciò non mi ha impedito di gustarmi il libro, né avevo dimenticato le parti/epoche precedenti, impresse nella memoria grazie a personaggi vitali, descrizioni vivide, e intrecci accattivanti - il giusto mix di eventi storici e invenzione letteraria.
È proprio questo il punto di forza di "London" (e di tutte le opere di Rutherfurd, che mi sembra siano strutturate in modo simile)
Apr 10, 2016 Blu rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Finally finished it! Wow! From the time I started reading this, to the time I finished it, I must have read a dozen other books. Typically I’ll finish a book before I start the next one, but apparently not in this case – there always seemed to be something else that took precedence. I think it’s because I could never really get into it.

From chapter to chapter the characters change, and I found myself losing track of (or not really even caring) who was who. All in all, the story (or stories) span
Dec 08, 2015 Emily rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: london, brit-lit
The great strength of "London" is the author's ability to interconnect the vignettes that make up this massive novel. The main character is not human, but the city of London itself; Rutherfurd doesn't spend enough time on any one character to really make this a strong novel. Nevertheless, it's a very fun (and sometimes informative) read, especially if you're a fast reader and want to kill some time.

The first few chapters made me cringe a little. The initial setups are unbelievable and work out a
Kelsey McKim
Nov 22, 2015 Kelsey McKim rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-library
I read this as a crash course in London history before studying abroad in the old English city. While I do feel much more familiar with the city's (and England's) basic history, the book didn't have as much merit as literature. There are a few things I want to specifically address:

-Character development is lacking, which makes sense because the book takes place over thousands of years. As others have said, the main character is London itself, but the individuals in the book were often flat and/o
I adored Edward Rutherford's Sarum, Russka, and the two Ireland books. However, London is just falling short of these other books. While it is keeping me entertained enough to want to continue (I rarely if ever stop reading a book, I've done it twice in my life) it isn't enough for me to sit down and want to keep reading past a few pages. The issue for me is I'm having trouble with the main characters. I've only had this problem when I read War and Peace. Rutherford has created names that while ...more
Nov 29, 2009 Barbara is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
A long time ago I saw Sarum in a bookstore, started reading it, and realized after a while that standing there reading that engrossing but LONG book was making my feet ache. The irresistible solution was to buy the book! Since then I've bought Russka, The Forest and London (Russka has been sitting unfinished on a shelf for quite a while, but I plan to remedy that)...and my next Rutherfurd purchase, since I could use some weight training that doesn't involve lifting cats, will probably be New Yor ...more
K.M. Weiland
Feb 06, 2015 K.M. Weiland rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I purchased this book because I loved the idea of a grand overview of history. I knew I'd find it educational. But I admit I was pretty doubtful about how entertaining it would be. I fully expected great research and flat writing. I couldn't have been more delightfully surprised. Rutherford has not only offered amazing and fascinating research, he's also proven he's a marvelous storyteller.

I was never bored for a minute while reading his short stories, chronicling the lives of several London fam
Apr 11, 2016 Zaparenko rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One more amazing Rutherfurd's book, where the author pays attention not only to the historical events and the interconnections of 7 families, but also to the linguistic origins of different proper nouns.
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BP HOLDINGS: Droite sur la cible pour Londres 2012 - authorstream 1 7 Dec 12, 2012 05:24PM  
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Francis Edward Wintle, best known under his pen name Edward Rutherfurd, was born in the cathedral city of Salisbury. Educated locally, and at the universities of Cambridge, and Stanford, California, he worked in political research, bookselling and publishing. After numerous attempts to write books and plays, he finally abandoned his career in the book trade in 1983, and returned to his childhood h ...more
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“When a voyager begins a journey, he prepares his ship, decides upon his course and sets sail. What else can he do? But he cannot know the outcome – what storms may arise, what new lands he may find, or whether or not he will return. That is destiny, and you must accept it. Never think you can escape destiny.” 3 likes
“So how would you define a Londoner, then?” Lady Penny asked curiously. “Someone who lives here. It’s like the old definition of a cockney: someone who’s born within hearing distance of Bow bells. And a foreigner,” he added with a grin, “is anyone, Anglo-Saxon or not, who lives outside.” 2 likes
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