Edward Rutherford is the pen name of the British prolific British writer Francis Edward Wintle. Most of the author’s works are epic historical novels and their settings include some signature techniques of the author. The most notable of these techniques is that they are always set on the borders of a notable city or other specified location and range for extended periods of time in order to contrast periodical differences.
Political Research and Publishing
The novelist was born in 1948 in Salisbury, England but not much else is disclosed about his earlier years. What we do know is that he attended both the University of Cambridge and Stanford Business School. After that, he dedicated himself to political research as well as bookselling and publishing. He continued working in these fields until 1983 after which he moved back into his childhood home and wrote his first book, Sarum. He has authored nine magnificent books since then and now, we will go over them.
Best Edward Rutherfurd Books
To start off our Edward Rutherford book list, I will introduce you to one of the best selling Edward Rutherford books which is also his first publication as I have mentioned above. What I did not mention is that this piece was an instant and critical success for the career of its writer. It quickly rose in the ranks of best-seller lists and it was a part of the New York Times Bestseller List for a whopping twenty-three weeks.
For those of you who are unfamiliar, Sarum was the Roman name of the Salisbury region which is where the novel is set. The book is made up of more than one thousand pages and it tells us a story that ranges for about ten thousand years. As the timeline advances, we are provided with the opportunity to witness how the landscape, culture, and well-being of the region transform with each historical event that it was affected by.
Flawless Execution of a Complicated Idea
We witness this extensive story through the windows of five lineages. These are the Wilsons, the Shocklets, the Masons, the Godfreys, and the family of Porteus. The fates of these families occasionally get intertwined with each other only to be separated again and again. In the end, whatever happens is only fate and neither the characters nor the events are taken for more than what they are which is just a part of history.
This piece is our first contestant for the best Edward Rutherfurd book title and as you can probably guess, it is also among the most promising ones. Its dramatic chain of events makes up what I can only describe as a storytelling masterpiece. It is so well written that I can promise you will not be bored even after ten thousand years worth of material. The almost flawless execution of a piece as complicated as this is proof of the author’s talent.
The second place in our Edward Rutherfurd book reviews article will go to another one of his most well-known publications, New York. This piece has a solid place among the best rated Edward Rutherfurd books which is not really surprising as it is set in New York, one of the most iconic cities of our age. However, this piece concerns itself a lot more than just our age even though its timeline is not as extensive as Sarum’s.
The story of this book starts off in times when New York was known as New Amsterdam and it was just a small Indian fishing village with basically no remarkable qualities. We are also allowed the perspective of many families throughout the course of the city’s history but we read about most of them for only a few generations. The only exception to this is the family of Master, Anglo-Saxon Protestants who are among the first settlers.
The City is the Protagonist
Masters, as the unofficial protagonists of the story, have quite a number of exciting stories but I will not spoil them for you right now. The other “temporary” families are mostly used to highlight the ever-changing issues of the land. These issues range from the concept of land ownership to the struggle between classes, and even the effects of the Second World War and its consequences. We also hear the interesting stories of a handful of notable figures in American history.
One thing I liked about this book was how the “temporary” families allowed the story to be more focused on the city itself. It also added to the subtle idea that the people we read about are just a glimpse of the city’s history. Another thing I want to talk about is that since this one of the best Edward Rutherfurd books is set in America, it allows the reader to witness how the problems we see today came to be as well as how the troubles of the old faded away or transformed.
The third book that I am going to introduce to you in our Edward Rutherford books ranked article is London. It is one of the most popular books by Edward Rutherfurd and as you have probably noticed, it is the second book of the author that is set in the British Isles. However, I think London does deserve its own book even though there was a previous book set in England since it is one of the, if not the most, remarkable cities in human history.
The timeline of this piece spans about sixteen centuries, starting all the way back from the time it was occupied by the Roman Empire to the present. If you are a history buff by any standard, you probably already know that the history of London in the given time period has no shortage of notable events. From its invasion by Caesar to the Great Fire and even the Blitz, we see the city slowly turn into what it is today.
Heroic Men and Charming Women
In it, we are introduced to five bloodlines that provide us with stories about men who fall no short of heroes from tales of old and women who are as fierce as they are charming. Along the way, we are also given the opportunity to learn more about the history of London and its many people. From the Celts and Romans to the Angles, Saxons, Jutes, Danes, and Normans; no detail of London’s history and culture is left out of the story.
This work of the author is a source of enjoyment as much as it is an encyclopedia’s worth of information that just comes to life with brilliant narration. If you have ever wondered how the upper class of Middle Ages London spent their evenings or how the city came to be one of the beating hearts of the women’s rights movement, this is the book for you. And even if you did not, I just know that you are curious now.
We are almost halfway done with our article and the fourth piece that we will be going over today is another one of the top rated Edward Rutherfurd books, Russka: The Novel of Russia. This piece was the author’s second-ever publication and it was published in 1991, four years after his first. This was also the piece that he decided to take it back a notch and only include modern history in his books as it spans eighteen centuries.
This piece is perhaps the most unique one in the author’s portfolio as it is set in not just a city but in a country. One of the biggest ones in the world, no less. Given the size of the region that this book talks about, it is understandably a lot more colorful than the others. Not only did the motherland was the home to a great many cultures throughout its history, but it was also intercepted by Mongols and even Vikings.
More Colorful Than You Would Guess
While we are talking about the different cultures in Russia, it is also worth mentioning that the four families this story revolves around are all from different races. Another thing that caught my attention was the references to folk tales and legendary creatures such as Baba Yaga and rusalka. All in all, these small enriching details add up to make this piece one of the best novels by Edward Rutherfurd.
Russia is a country that not many of us in the Western world are not familiar with. The reason for this is partly geographical but for the most part, it is a product of the endless rivalry between the two regions. With this contestant for the best Edward Rutherfurd book title, you can learn all about the mysterious country of Russia. Chances are, you will find out that it is a lot more lively and interesting than you would have thought.
We are past the halfway point of our article and the next piece we will be taking a look at is one of the best Edward Rutherford book series, The Dublin Saga. Before we get into it though, I think I should clear up some possible misunderstandings. Some of the author’s books were initially published in two chapters as they are just very long. This is not the case for this series, it features two books that are each about eight hundred words.
The two books in the series are titled The Princess of Ireland and The Rebels of Ireland. While the stories in the first book take place between the 4th century AD and the Irish revolt in 1534, the second book picks up from there and takes us all the way to the founding of Ireland. I was pretty excited about both of these pieces as I think the story of the Irish is one of the greatest untold tales of rebellion and freedom.
From the First Encounter to the Final Stand
The first book of the best Edward Rutherford series starts off by introducing us to the Celtic roots of Ireland who lived tribalistic and paganistic lives before their land was intercepted by outsiders. First came the Vikings, disrupting the people’s harmony with each other as well as nature. Then, the English stepped foot on the island thanks to the unhonorable tricks of Henry the Second. For the most part of Ireland’s early history, there was only tragedy.
The Ireland we see in the second book of the series is completely different. The time has come for the English to complete their transformation of Ireland into a plantation which is just a fancy word for a colony. Centuries have been spent subduing the Irish and seemingly nothing stands in the way of this silent invasion. Except, of course, the rebels. Rebels who have lost everything, and will not stand losing their motherland too.
We are nearing the end of our article and the sixth book we will be talking about is Paris, the second latest Edward Rutherfurd book. It was published in 2013 and in some publications, it is titled “Paris: A Novel”. It takes place in one of the most magical cities on the face of the earth and spans seven centuries. This number may seem low compared to the author’s other novels but the rich history of Paris provides us with enough content.
The story of the new Edward Rutherfurd book starts off with the building of the wonderful Notre Dame Cathedral and as always, we see its world through the eyes of a handful of families. Given the nature of Paris, this book concerns itself with art and architecture a lot more than the ones we went over previously. We are reminded of the countless pieces of art that were created there and went on to become a part of humanity’s shared culture.
The Countless Monuments of Paris
If you know anything about Paris, you do know that it has no shortage of monumental buildings. This piece tells us how and under what circumstances they were built. There are a few that you can guess such as the Eiffel tower, the Notre Dame Cathedral, and the Palace of Versailles but I am sure you will be introduced to a few buildings that you did not know about. All in all, Paris is definitely one of the best books by Edward Rutherfurd.
Well, we have arrived at the end of our article and The Forest is the last one of the Edward Rutherfurd books that I have in order for you. By now, you might be wondering what forest this book is talking about. Wonder no more, the forest in the title refers to the New Forest district in the United Kingdom. It is among the most important wildlife preservation centers in Europe and it also carries a lot of memories.
It tells us the fates of seven different families but there is an unusual element to its stories. While big events such as the Spanish inquisition and the Golden Age of Queen Elizabeth are mentioned, most of the book concerns itself with how the forest affects the lives of the people living there as well as how those people affect the forest. For those people, the forest is just more relevant than outside events.
A Little Aimless
I feel like I have to come out and say that I could not like this book even though I really tried. The biggest issue for me was that the forest is just not an interesting place to read about. For example, the first part features the parallel stories of a woman and a deer who are both looking for a mate. Their fates become intertwined when the woman saves the deer from a hunting party and they find their mates thanks to this.
I was simply not invested in these characters enough for this short story to be meaningful. After all, they are supposed to be tools for telling the story of the place they live in. Given the place that they live in is a forest, it does not really have a historical story to speak of anyways. Thus, the short stories just feel aimless and I am afraid I can not say that this piece is one of the best Edward Rutherfurd novels.
I would not doubt Edward Rutherfurd’s writing talent for even a second. He builds his stories around historical events with such precision that they come alive in his interpretations. The techniques he utilizes allow him to work through multiple perspectives and this results in a well-rounded book that can open a reader’s eyes to the events of our history. I would recommend his books to people of any age and background.
Michael is a graduate of cultural studies and history. He enjoys a good bottle of wine and (surprise, surprise) reading. As a small-town librarian, he is currently relishing the silence and peaceful atmosphere that is prevailing.