World Without End Paperback – Oct 7 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
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. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
This book is a big event. In 1989 Follett published what was to become one of his most popular novels, The Pillars of the Earth, a historical epic about the construction of an English cathedral, set in the twelfth century. Now, 18 years later and with several intervening best-sellers to his credit, Follett presents his eager fans with a sequel to Pillars. According to publicity material, he spent three years writing it, and it shows, because this an amazingly well-researched, intricately plotted, richly detailed novel that, while long in pages, never sprawls or flags. It is set in the same English cathedral town as Pillars, some two centuries later, and has as its primary characters the descendants of the major characters that appeared in the previous book. Follett's technique is to follow the lives of four individuals who have varying goals in life and, in the process, build a comprehensive tapestry of medieval English lifean especially important background thread being the horrible natural disaster of that era, the black plague. Follet has complete mastery over his material, and the result is a novel destined for the best-seller lists. Hooper, Brad --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Follett creates and paints a believable world for his cast of characters. As usual the quality of the writing keep the story flowing and scene after scene setting up great events. Follett's characters are as usual drawn with daring, humor and more than a touch of mystery. The setting is dynamic and part of what I enjoyed the most, seeing how his creations moved through the society of the times and how they reacted, rebelled, fought and, yes, fornicated. Family life, and the society of the guilds and how they worked within the ages, and of course the conflicts that developed within that context.
Plotting is very strong, Follett should be congratulated for juggling so many characters and moving them through the scenes and situations he has created to bring out conflicts, love, hate and violence that was very much familiar to the time period. If, like me, you have enjoyed many of Follett's books, no matter what genre as much as I have then I believe you will like this one too, and very much.
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That said, most people will be pleased that they take the time to read the over 1,000 pages of World Without End. But start your expectations lower than the way you remember Pillars of the Earth.
I started late on Wednesday night and couldn't put it down until I finished today . . . with brief breaks for sleep and refreshment.
At one level, the book is simply a soap opera based in the Middle Ages where youthful encounters set lifelong enmities and alliances into motion. At another level, World Without End is a fictional history of the 14th century as seen through English eyes. At a third level, this book creates a bridge between the 14th century and the 21st century by presenting modern sensibilities in medieval dress.
World Without End returns to Kingsbridge, England, two centuries after Pillars of the Earth. Kingsbridge, the cathedral, and descendants of the key characters in Pillars of the Earth provide the continuity. But this is a Kingsbridge led by people who are either obsessed with never changing anything or by seeking personal advantage . . . regardless of the cost. As a result, when there are problems, well, it's a problem to fix things.Read more ›
It opens with the hiding of a document bearing on the death of Edward the Second and goes on from there to describe in detail, through the lives of the inhabitants of the cathedral town of Kingsbridge, the wars with France and the battle of Crecy, the feudal system and the relationship between nobles and serfs, the power of the Church and the political maneuverings within it, the Black death and related medical practices.
Some reviewers have objected to the scenes of sex and violence. They are present, as they are in the Old Testament. It is impossible to record the history of humankind without including two of it's prevalent practices.
Meticulously researched, well written and entertaining. For a non fiction portrayal of the same period, "A Distant Mirror" by Barbara W Tuchman is also recommended.
Most recent customer reviews
This novel is an internationally recognized masterpiece. Money well spent.Published 21 days ago by TP
Great storey,well written,easy to read,keeps me interested from chapter to chapter...I shall read more from this author.Published 3 months ago by Laura wilson
I started with Pillars of the Earth and continued on to World Without an End. It is well written with intertwining plots and I can't wait to finish as I'm almost at the end.Published 3 months ago by Versatilegirl
Captivant roman ! Ken Follett demeure fidèle a ses lecteurs qui adorent le mariage de l'histoire a la tragédie humaine.Published 6 months ago by Daniel Dubuc
Follett successfully leaves the spy genre to write this masterly novel of the Christian middle ages foretelling the battles between conservative and reform elements in church and... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Anthony Marinelli