James's Reviews > Sarum: The Novel of England

Sarum by Edward Rutherfurd
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Jan 25, 12

Read in September, 1987

I spent a fair amount of time in and around Salisbury in the early 1980's, one of my favorite areas in Britain. While I was (and continue to be) fascinated by Stonehenge, I particularly recall being totally transfixed by Salisbury Cathedral the first time I visited as an American tourist. The soaring spire, the gorgeous light in the nave, and the sense of awe at its astonishing size. It was a glorious place, and a place that I still think about all these years later. In my estimation, no other cathedral compares.

Although it was more than 25 years ago, I recall eagerly anticipating the publication of Sarum, and couldn't wait for it to appear at my local bookseller's. It didn't disappoint. Once I had it in my hands, I devoured it. I vividly remember not wanting to put it down, and read nearly non-stop until I reached the end.

Rutherfurd was brilliant at bringing the history of the area, and particularly the cathedral's history, to life. I was transported through history and felt as though I had witnessed the construction of Stonehenge, and then much later, the actual building of Salisbury's magnificent cathedral. Naturally, it's all a fiction, but Rutherfurd's writing put me on the ground, illuminated the human condition, and made me feel as though I'd been a part of it all.

This is still one of my favorite books of all time, and one that stands out as one of my most pleasurable reading experiences, ever.

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