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I'm neither a Londoner, nor a London-dweller, and this is the first time I've wished I could be either. Ackroyd's introduction to the city is compelling, with believable conclusions and a good sprinkling of amusing anecdote. The links between the ancient past and the city's bustling present are rich and thought-provoking. But beware - you'll want to keep stopping to check a map and follow the lines of ancient walls and roads as Simon Callow describes them in his measured tones. If you are lucky enough to be in the City, you can play a real-life 'Da Vinci Code' by visiting the three ancient Druidic sacred groves that are alleged to stand in the heart of the city. By calling this a biography, Ackroyd promises to bring the city to life; he succeeded for me, and the book does what is says on the cover.
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