Murder, intrigue, plague, and pestilence all play a part in this stunning sequel to the international best seller The Pillars of the Earth.
On the day after Halloween, in the year 1327, four children slip away from the cathedral city of Kingsbridge. They are a thief, a bully, a boy genius, and a girl who wants to be a doctor. In the forest they see two men killed.
As adults, their lives will be braided together by ambition, love, greed, and revenge. They will see prosperity and famine, plague and war. One boy will travel the world but come home in the end; the other will be a powerful, corrupt nobleman. One girl will defy the might of the medieval church; the other will pursue an impossible love. And always they will live under the long shadow of the unexplained killing they witnessed on that fateful childhood day.
Ken Follett's masterful epic The Pillars of the Earth enchanted millions with its compelling drama of war, passion, and family conflict set around the building of a cathedral. Now World Without End takes listeners back to medieval Kingsbridge two centuries later, as the men, women, and children of the city once again grapple with the devastating sweep of historical change.
©2007 Ken Follett (P)2007 Penguin US
I loved The Pillars of the Earth and put World Without End off as I could not see how that great book could be matched.
I was wrong.
World Without End keeps the PotE style of writing, but the plotting seems more heavier, more dramatic, more everything really, which some will like and some may not.
OMG, these poor character really do suffer through the story and the reader that inevitability gets attached to the characters, suffer with that agony as well.
Ken Follet may seem to be nasty with the misery that he puts his Characters (and readers) through, but do not let this put you off the book. All Metal in a forge gets stronger through fire and beating of a hammer and the characters in WWE do get stronger through their baptisms of fire.
This is a adult book with adult themes which may shock, but at the same time seem to fit the time period that this grate story is set.
World Without End is a well written period book, with awesome characters, and many many plots with in plots, woven into a classic piece of literature. Like PotE this book will be adapted for Film/TV. (I would put money on that.)
...oh yes the narrator is fantastic. Thank you MR Lee.
Downloaded this to keep me company while I dectorated 2 bedrooms on my own. I had really enjoyed reading (and watching) 'Pillars of the Earth' and this is set 200 years later in Kingsbridge Cathedral. I thoroughly enjoyed it even to the point of listening to it when I went to bed, which is somethiing I never do. The narrator is excellent, giving every character a voice but not overdoing it.
I have read Pillars and thought why not, I spend a lot of time driving and Pillars was enjoyable. Ken certainly knows how to tell a great tale and cleverly turns every day events from the past into a fascinating tale of both ordinary and not so people into a great story. The bits that annoyed were often around how he seems to translate the thoughts and ideas and words of the 21st century mind and presented them as if they would have been the usual beliefs for people who lived in medieval times. along with this the first four parts had numerous graphic sexual scenes, I thought much of them over dominated the story and unessacary. It was intersting that as the book progressed the detail of such incidents became less dominant but the story remained completely in tact. My other concern is how Ken's characters always seem to have siblings who are so different from them that it is difficult to understand how so many characters can be related to such heinus brothers or sisters, that did t times become far fetched. Apart from these issues that at times really iritated me I completely enjoyed the book, it was not easy to work out what would happen next so many surprises awaited. I learned much from the detail around the everyday life of the era. I wonder if another saga of Kingsbridge is about to be released.
If you loved Pillars of the Earth, you may very well wish to skip this listen. The characters are distinguishable from those of Pillars only by name. The baddies are the same kind of baddies, doing more or less the same things. Ditto for the "goodies".
Even the plot is more or less the same... this time it's a bridge and a tower, rather than a cathedral. This time the heroine becomes a healer instead of a merchant (though she too starts out this way...) This time the impediment to marriage is forced nun-hood rather than a mistaken marriage. This time, the bad guy is brother to the builder. No wait, that didn't change at all! BUT - he's rolled up together with the bad earl! The good, kind clergy person is the prioress instead of the prior....
But for goodness sakes - they are all just interchangeable paper figures!
I like Ken Follett. Hopefully next time he'll write a new book instead of recycling an old one.
This story has taken over my life. I listen to it in the car, when I'm running and when I'm cooking.
It was just as good as the first book and I got totally wrapped up in it. Nice to not get wrist strain from the paperback. Desperately seeking something to replace now - a big task!
I highly recommend this book. Very exciting and engaging.
I don't know how this book could have been better. It was a long haul, but I was still sad to see it end. This is literally like a roller-coaster, you will NEVER be bored, and the longer the better.
There was a slight imbalance between the four initial characters, with two of them receiving more prominence than the others, but that worked well, as the tale wieved and bobbed around them.
I have no regrets on spending a credit on this book, and I am sure you will feel the same.
Literally no faults whatsoever!
I read and loved Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett and so thought I would give World Without End a go as well. I also loved World Without End but it is very similar to Pillars. What Ken Follett has done is to take the characters, themes and locations of Pillars of the Earth and mixed them about a bit to create World Without End. That is not necessarily a bad thing as Pillars was a brilliant book and therefore World Without End is also excellent and it does have some differences such as the plague which are interesting. Another nice difference to Pillars is there is a lot fewer sex and rape scenes which meant strangers on the tube weren't throwing me worried glances over my facial expression. I would definitely recommend reading it, it does reference the characters and events of Pillars in it but you don't have to have read Pillars to understand it. A very comforting book and you feel you really get to know the characters.
This is a beautifully read and fascinating story of life in the 14th century. Following on from the previous story Pillars of the Earth it follows the story of the fictional town of Kingsbridge and the lives of its inhabitants. I was spellbound by the descriptions of life during the plague and also how the lords ruled their villeins and serfs. Recommended highly.
A really enjoyable book, made even more superb by John Lee's fabulous engaging and faultless reading - brilliant!
Although this is a very long book at 45 hours, it is worth it in the end. I really enjoyed it and thought it was well written and well narrated. Some content is definately unsuitable for youngers ears though some be warned.
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