3 ½ stars
I’m a fan Rutherfurd's sweeping epics, but this is not one of my favorites. I think this is partly because he changed his style of writing. Instead of his usual linear approach where he begins in ancient times and moves forward to the present, this book is set mostly during the late 1800's through World War II with interludes to prior centuries—but going only as far back as the 13th century. The bouncing back and forth in time was a bit disconcerting for me. Just when I would get fully invested in the current events, Rutherfurd would move to another time period—leaving me floundering a bit to keep track of the different characters and events. More than once I had to turn to the family tree at the front of the book to keep from getting lost.
Nevertheless I was able to keep on track, and I did find memorable moments sprinkled throughout the book. Paris really came alive for me during the building of the Statue of Liberty and the Eiffel Tower, the descriptions of events surrounding the St Bartholomew’s Day Massacre and the activities of the French Resistance during World War II. I just wish other events were depicted in as vivid a fashion.