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Publisher's Summary

Edward Rutherfurd's new audiobook 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, and whose ancient oaks were used to build Nelson's navy. Jane Austen and her family lived just 25 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 this day, and beyond that Portsmouth, home of the British Navy.
It is against this 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 Rutherfurd 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.
©2000 Edward Rutherfurd; 2012 Random House Audio
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Critic Reviews

"Not all good things come in small packages. If you like books that are big, Edward Rutherfurd is your man. He writes wonderful sagas, tales that cover centuries, always keeping these long stories lively by telling us about the events and conflicts of people's lives. Rutherfurd does the painstaking research; the reader has all the fun." ( Seattle Times)
"Many of the most memorable characters are women - Adela the Norman, bold in the face of injustice; her descendant Alice Albion, almost brave enough to defeat the hatred of the civil war; tough old Adelaide, so loyal to ancient grievances that she can't let her sweet niece Fanny take hold of love." ( Kansas City Star)
"The novel covers 10 centuries, tracking a half-dozen or so families and their fates, their fortunes, and intrigues moving the stories along. But the trees have tales to tell, too. As fiction, it works like a charm.... English majors will love this, and so will almost anyone else who starts page one and follows Puckle, Godwin Pride, Cola the Huntsman and their descendents along Rutherfurd's twisting road." ( New York Daily News)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By Bob on 07-18-14

Beware, Abridged. Just a "Readers Digest" version.

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

No, I was disappointed. I didn't realize it was an abridged copy. Most would say "so what?".
Well, I started reading this book when it first came out. I was not able to finish for one reason or another, but the picture in my head of what I did read stayed with me for all these years. After listening to this audio version, something was flat. Missing... It didn't inspire the imaginative pictures like the first time. Then I checked and found out it was an abridgement.
Something really good was left out. The mood, the atmosphere, whatever. It just does not feel more than mundane now. Like reading a "Readers Digest" version of "Gone with the Wind" or some such thing. I do not think I want to finish this audiobook.

If you’ve listened to books by Edward Rutherfurd before, how does this one compare?


What does Lynn Redgrave bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Very good narration. Excellent!

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

No, Movies are an abridgement as well. And usually butchered for sensationalism.

Any additional comments?

Feel dumb I didn't spot the abridgement classification.

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13 of 13 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By Hillarie on 10-09-15

not enough

Is there anything you would change about this book?

Yes. The length. It's too short. I liked the characters, and was ready to enjoy it as much as I had his other books, but it was over almost before he was really able to develop the plot and characters

What did you like best about this story?

the setting. I'm familiar with that area of England, and know some of the history, so it was enjoyable to have someone but the history into a storyline

Which scene was your favorite?

the deception on the beach

Any additional comments?

It was a good read. I'm glad I bought it. I'd just love to have had more.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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