rating: 3 of 5 stars
This book was suggested to me after I reviewed Ken Follett's Pillars of the Earth and World Without End, both of which are set in the fictional (I think) English town of Kingsbridge. Like the Follett books, Sarum is also set in an English cathedral town, Salisbury, but that's where the similarities end.
Sarum sweeps across the history of England, from the island's physical break from the continent through WWII. Five main families are followed throughout the novel, and as names and circumstances change incrementally, some physical and personality traits carry across thousands of years. This book is full of history, but it isn't a "history book". It has snapshots of how historical events affected certain people in one locality.
It puts a very personal face on history. I could see using certain pieces of the book as a supplement to a World History class. At the same time, because such a long time frame is covered, it wasdifficult to keep track of who the characters were or to have a connection with them.
Sarum was interesting, but it was the longest thousand page book I've ever read. It seemed to take forever. I liked it, but I could put it down.
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