Whew! Along the way, Mr. Rutherfurd traces generation after generation of several families. They come in contact with each other, with historical figures and often participate in historical events, and that's where the learning comes in. The author has a wonderful way of weaving facts and explanations of how certain commonly known things came to be into his story. I learned so much from this book and I couldn't put it down because the stories are wonderfully exciting and often very moving. Having been to London, the stories held even more meaning for me. It brought back my visits to the Tower of London and Hampstead Heath and I now see these in a new light. This book is just terrific and well worth your time.