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Theirs Was the Kingdom (Swann Saga, #2)
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Theirs Was the Kingdom

(The Swann Saga #2)

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  1,016 ratings  ·  41 reviews
A brilliantly woven tapestry of history and adventure, this imposing novel continues the saga of the Victorian giant of commerce Adam Swann and his tough-minded wife, as it follows their fortunes in the penultimate decade of the nineteenth century, and in the careers of the five Swann children reflects both the triumphs and tragedies of Imperial England.
Paperback, 798 pages
Published July 14th 1999 by Da Capo Press (first published 1971)
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Average rating 4.17  · 
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 ·  1,016 ratings  ·  41 reviews

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3.5 - rounded down.

The second book in a three-part series that began with God is an Englishman. I did not like this book as much as the first one, primarily because I think a good editor could have cut it by a good 250 pages. There is much time spent on offshoot characters, detailed business dealings, and repetition and it detracts from the stories which are interesting and which you really want Delderfield to get back to. In the end, I found myself dissatisfied and wanting to restructure and
Blaine DeSantis
Not as good, in my opinion, as book 1 of this series. I enjoy the Swann family but this book was definitely 200 pages too long. Why? Adam Swann is the patriarch of the family and the owner of the transport business, Swann on Wheels. He is married to Henrietta and this book has way too much of Henrietta reminiscing about their family. I am not sure why the author did this, and whether this was to allow us to keep all the family members straight in our minds (they did have 9 children!), but the ...more
Susan's Reviews
May 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The second installment of the Swann saga. No filler here, just the continuation of the transport empire that Swann was hellbent on building. For some strange reason I was utterly fascinated by Delderfield's descriptions of how Swann started off with just a few trucks, modernized and became a big deal in the transport industry.
Nov 13, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dads-picks
Sometimes if you're looking for an unexpected find, it pays to check out the 30 year old books your parents are giving to goodwill.

Theirs was the Kingdom is book II in what is commonly called the "God is an Englishmen" trilogy. Book I is the story of a guy who quits the army to seek his fortune and start a family at the dawn of the industrial revolution of Victorian England. Book II is the continuation of him and his large family, with each child now spawning a subthread.

It's a great,
Oct 01, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: england, hist-fiction
I read this a hundred years ago, long long long before this edition was published.... but they offered me no other editions to choose from. I remember that I loved this book ..... England before and during WW I, the hearts and souls of the class systems, the thankless hard work of the serf-classes, the privileged lifestyle of the upper classes coupled with the attendant parental 'affection' and 'caring for' or condescending arrogance toward the working poor. Since first reading this I have grown ...more
Aug 26, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: england
I was stunned, but I just couldn't get into this book! I read about half of it, thinking it had to get better because it's so popular. But it never did. Very formulaic: stereotypical characters and plots. Yuck.
Nov 19, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
Not as good as GIAE - see why in that review.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Larry Epp
Apr 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Rating more like 3.5. I had read God is an Englishman about Adam Swann's building of a cartage business across England in the mid-1800s. This is a continuation -- a brick of a book with lots of rabbit holes following each child, often business partners, Adam and wife Henrietta. The essential story could be told in about half the pages -- I found myself skimming a number of times. Still, so much Victorian social, business, life, attitudes stuff, often comparing England to Europe. Worth the read ...more
Jul 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Really 3.5 because I did not like it as much as "God is an Englishman" but better than most 3 star books. Always interesting to read what Adam was thinking but I found myself liking Henrietta less and less. Similarly, some of the children were more interesting and likable than others.
Mar 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: k
The Swann family saga continues. Very enjoyable.
Colleen Formichelli

I was so glad to see the Delderfield books released on kindle. I am rereading all of them and enjoying the Swann family saga as much as the first time. Order them all as you will not want to wait between books.
Ian Billick
Apr 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
I'll admit it. Despite my better judgement, I'm hooked on the series and find the characters engaging. From a more dispassionate perspective, the book is capitalist propaganda. It's propaganda in an interesting way-- it makes points about the rise of business in England in the 19th century, as well as the role of business in political liberalism. But nevertheless, it's propaganda. It's also a weaker book for the fact that tragedy doesn't strike the family, except as a means towards greater ...more
Aug 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
Delderfield (1912-1972). Born in London in 1912, Delderfield moved with his family to South Devon in 1923, when his father, William James Delderfield, became editor of the Exmouth Chronicle. RF subsequently worked as a reporter on the same paper. This novel was published in 1971 and televised in 1980 and was set on the edge of Exmoor. Sadly, Delderfield died of cancer at the relatively young age of 60. This is the second volume in the trilogy and continues the story of the Swann family. I found ...more
Jun 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I have really enjoyed these books and look forward to reading the third and final one in the series. Great stories and you really get the feel of the times. These are not only sagas about a family but really about Great Britain as a whole and the progress of thought concerning human rights, individual responsibility, morality, success and money.

This book follows Adam and Henrietta Swann, the central characters in the first book, who epitomize the age of industry. The story also includes
Mary Lou
Apr 15, 2012 rated it liked it
I read this series when I was a teenager. Ran across this copy at the library book sale last fall and decided I would re-read it and see if it still held some appeal.

The book is part of a family saga about the Swanns, a merchant class family in England in the last half of the 19th century. This one is set in the 1880s. It is interesting to me now for the depiction of the family contrasted with the depiction of the company that Swann founded, and the descriptions of the increasing
Kilian Metcalf
Jan 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is the second of three novels telling the epic story of the Swann family: mother, father, and nine children. The parents have hopes and dreams for the children but allow them the freedom to find their own way, make their own mistakes, and finally come back to the family.

I love stories set in the Victorian period, and this is one of the best. The patriarch Adam Swann struggle as much against the constraints of the society as he does against the challenges of growing a business. When he is
Jul 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Surprisingly I enjoyed this second book in the series more than the first (and I liked that one quite a bit!). The charcters are finely drawn, even minor ones, and I felt as though I really knew and understood them. He brings the area to life in a most vivid way, setting me right down in late Victorian England and helping me see, smell and feel the sights and sounds. The appearances of the many varied spouses simply added to the tale and they became as genuine as the main cast.......his ...more
Aug 16, 2012 rated it liked it
Book 2 in the Swann family saga continues with Adam Swann building his empire and his older children coming of age. The story is slow and often repetitive but has enough to keep your interest. Overall it was not as engaging as God is an Englishman but still worth reading Hoping for better things from book 3. Sneak preview of book 3....this is what I wanted from book 2 already 20% into it and so far its a surprising roller coaster making be happy I didn't give up on the Swanns.
Harriett Bulger
Apr 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Second book in the Swan Saga....this book branches out from the main characters and deals more with the lives of their children and how all are impacted by choices made by each of them.

This book was an easier read because all the set up was done in the first book...and there are nine Swan children who are all very different and therefore many different choices.

Looking forward to finishing the saga in the final book.
Joan Podleski
It's embarrassing to admit how much of my knowledge of the beginning of the industrial revolution and the aftermath of the 'war of the peninsula' comes from reading and re-reading this series by Delderfield. My mother made me and Anglophile when she introduced me to Christie and Conan Doyle (in about 3rd grade), but DeMaurier and Delderfield clinched it.
Elaine Cougler
Aug 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Theirs Was the Kingdom by R. L. Delderfield is the saga of Adam Swann and his family, spanning many years right up to the advent of motor vehicles. The characters are well drawn with reader sympathies moving from one to another as the saga unfolds. This book was good enough for a second reading many years after my first time through.
Jul 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I loved the first book, so went on Amazon and ordered the next two.
Continuing story of the Swann family. Wonderful history of the industrialization of G.B. A family's journey. One gets to feel that one knows the family. Delderfield is brilliant in painting a picture of life and the British Empire, as it once was.

This story deals with the children coming of age. Excellent read.
Michael Kennard
Aug 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
A friend loaned me God is an English Man along with parts 2 and 3 of the Swann saga some twenty five or so years ago. They gathered dust, got moved around, got looked at but not read until around a year ago. I needed a quality read so I dusted them off and found a comfortable chair and started reading. What a wonderful reading experience, not quite up there with A Horseman Riding By but close.
J V Woods
Jan 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A little bit long-winded...

I did enjoy reading this. However, the story could have been a 3rd shorter. It is frequently bulked out by continual references to earlier incidents in book one and also previous happenings earlier in this novel. I kept waiting for a real tragedy to happen but so far it is happy ever after. Remains to be seen what happens n book 3!
Norma F Benton
Feb 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyable from start to finish

this is a top notch book that portrays Englanders and their lives through all social levels. society and it's qualities both good and bad are explored without prejudice or extreme preaching. the reader is allowed to make of each situation as they will.
Diana Quincy
Mar 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literature
I loved this second book in the series as much of the first. It's a family saga at its best, taking us through two generations of the Swann family, which also reflects the changing times in England. Highly recommend.
G.C. Neff
Jun 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This was a wonderful sequel to God is an Englishman. The intricate fabric of the family was well put together. To tell you more would be to ruin the reading experience. Well worth the time. And there is a third volume to the series. Absolutely wonderful.
Barbara Helen Plumb
Dec 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
How I love Delderfield! Big meaty volumes filled with historical detail and family saga. It has been some time since I read this book so I will not provide a detailed review sufficient to say I highly recommend it to lovers of big family sagas.
Apr 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I loved the trilogy .. it made me a reader outside school forty years ago
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Ronald Frederick Delderfield was a popular English novelist and dramatist, many of whose works have been adapted for television and are still widely read.

Several of Delderfield's historical novels and series involve young men who return from war and lead lives in England that allow the author to portray the sweep of English history and delve deeply into social history from the Edwardian era to the

Other books in the series

The Swann Saga (3 books)
  • God Is an Englishman (Swann Saga, #1)
  • Give Us This Day (Swann Saga, #3)