#1 New York Times Bestseller
In 1989, Ken Follett astonished the literary world with The Pillars of the Earth, a sweeping epic novel set in twelfth-century England centered on the building of a cathedral and many of the hundreds of lives it affected.
World Without End is its equally irresistible sequel—set two hundred years after The Pillars of the Earth and three hundred years after the Kingsbridge prequel, The Evening and the Morning.
World Without End takes place in the same town of Kingsbridge, two centuries after the townspeople finished building the exquisite Gothic cathedral that was at the heart of The Pillars of the Earth. The cathedral and the priory are again at the center of a web of love and hate, greed and pride, ambition and revenge, but this sequel stands on its own. This time the men and women of an extraordinary cast of characters find themselves at a crossroads of new ideas—about medicine, commerce, architecture, and justice. In a world where proponents of the old ways fiercely battle those with progressive minds, the intrigue and tension quickly reach a boiling point against the devastating backdrop of the greatest natural disaster ever to strike the human race—the Black Death.
Three years in the writing and nearly eighteen years since its predecessor, World Without End is a "well-researched, beautifully detailed portrait of the late Middle Ages" (The Washington Post) that once again shows that Ken Follett is a masterful author writing at the top of his craft.
Eighteen years after Pillars of the Earth weighed in with almost 1,000 pages of juicy historical fiction about the construction of a 12th-century cathedral in Kingsbridge, England, bestseller Follett returns to 14th-century Kingsbridge with an equally weighty tome that deftly braids the fate of several of the offspring of Pillars' families with such momentous events of the era as the Black Death and the wars with France. Four children, who will become a peasant's wife, a knight, a builder and a nun, share a traumatic experience that will affect each of them differently as their lives play out from 1327 to 1361. Follett studs the narrative with gems of unexpected information such as the English nobility's multilingual training and the builder's technique for carrying heavy, awkward objects. While the novel lacks the thematic unity of Pillars, readers will be captivated by the four well-drawn central characters as they prove heroic, depraved, resourceful or mean. Fans of Follett's previous medieval epic will be well rewarded.
Good read - entertaining way to learn about 14th Century England
Just when I thought Pillars of the Earth was the best historical fiction I had ever read, I might have enjoyed this book even more. First, Ken Follett is a great story-teller; able to create characters that jump out of the pages, and provide a plot that keeps you engrossed. Second, Ken Follett appears to know his stuff when it comes to historical knowledge.
Pillars of the Earth and World Without End have left me anxiously awaiting the third book, hopefully due out before the end of 2014. From these books I feel I now have a solid understanding of life in England in the 12th and 14th centuries. Follett gives you a real appreciation for life in those times. He provides great depth on the system of Kings and the Earls who held allegiance, as well as the power of the Church.
In my recent travels to Portugal, because of Follett, I understood why architecture dates a little older in the region of France, Spain, and Portugal. Follett taught me how the English were behind in that category, and caught up only after travels to Europe, bringing back with them the knowledge to build better cathedrals.
But in the end, as I stated before, Follett simply writes a great story. You don't have to like history one bit in order to enjoy his books, and especially this one.
World without end
I’m not a history student but I’m always intrigued by historical events. I have finished reading World without end and now on Pillars of the earth. I have always wondered how people lived centuries past. Even though mostly fictional, Ken Follett has given me an insight and a window into how life was like in the years past. .... A brilliant writer indeed