Following the triumphant publication of London, Edward Rutherfurd's new novel focuses on four turbulent centuries- Norman, Medieval, Elizabethan, and Tudor- in England's New Forest and the city of Bath.Edward Rutherfurd's new novel covers four ...
vel covers four centuries of British history, with the New Forest as background, culminating in a five-family saga set in the days of Jane Austen. Few places in England are more resonant, more mysterious, yet more friendly than the huge forest that lies by England's southern coast, that provided hunting for England's Saxon and Norman kings, whose ancient oaks were used to build Nelson's navy. Jane Austen and her family lived just twenty-five miles northeast of the forest. The river Avon runs down the forest's western edge. On its eastern side is the ancient Saxon capital of Winchester, the great port of Southampton from which the Titanic set out and the QE2 sails to, and beyond that Portsmouth, home of the British Navy.
It is against this rich backdrop that Rutherfurd tells a tale of woodsmen, monks, sailors, craftswomen and families. The largest family in the novel is modeled loosely upon the extended family of Jane Austen, together with certain other known families from the New Forest area. And so, we have the magical formula of previous Rutherford novels with the same sense of the passing of centuries but a shorter time period allowing for more character development and drama, culminating in the Austen period, a favorite in British history, just at the time when the New Forest was at its most bustling.