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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sequel to Pillars
"World Without End" is a sequel, and comparisons are natural. Like many of the other reviewers I too had read the first volume years ago, and though I remember enjoying it very much I think that even if one does not read that book they will still experience a great read. WWE is loaded with interesting characters and literally hundreds of stories winding through the main...
Published on Oct. 13 2007 by Reviewing for dummies

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing read
I was really looking forward to this book, especially after reading the first book Pillars of the Earth. Pillars had a great plot, great characters, and a fantastic setting.

World Without End on the other hand was nothing but violence, followed by sex, followed by more violence. Then repeat that over and over again for 1000 pages. End of novel.

I...
Published on Oct. 22 2009 by NorthVan Dave


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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sequel to Pillars, Oct. 13 2007
This review is from: World Without End (Hardcover)
"World Without End" is a sequel, and comparisons are natural. Like many of the other reviewers I too had read the first volume years ago, and though I remember enjoying it very much I think that even if one does not read that book they will still experience a great read. WWE is loaded with interesting characters and literally hundreds of stories winding through the main plot. The characters come off as real and lively as well as purely evil, funny or pathetic - in other words a book chock full of something for every reader who truly enjoys settling down with a thick volume that takes effort to complete.

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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing read, Oct. 22 2009
This review is from: World Without End (Paperback)
I was really looking forward to this book, especially after reading the first book Pillars of the Earth. Pillars had a great plot, great characters, and a fantastic setting.

World Without End on the other hand was nothing but violence, followed by sex, followed by more violence. Then repeat that over and over again for 1000 pages. End of novel.

I don't recommend this book at all. While Follett does make an attempt at developing some great characters, he spends too much time on the other stuff and not enough time building a good plot. This book could easily have been 400 - 500 pages long and a great read. Instead it's nothing but a doorstop.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars No where near as good as Pillars, Sept. 15 2008
This review is from: World Without End (Hardcover)
I am not a Ken Follett fan at all. I don't like his style of writing, his affinity for violence etc. But when I read Pillars of the Earth I was stunned. It was a book I couldn't put down. And it's a book I will read again because it's so beautiful, so human.

On the other hand, I hated World Without End. It's got interesting characters and they are just as human as in Pillars. But Follett reverts back to type in this book and it's just violence followed by sex scene followed by violence--with a bit of a story thrown in. Because all I really wanted to read more about was Merthin & Caris. And Merthin's inventions (which you don't read about, really), and more about the central characters of the story. But instead Follett throws in a gruesome description of a flaying, that I could have done without, or a witch hunt.

I don't recommend this book at all. If it were re-edited with just the STORY without the murder and violence and sex and rape, I might consider it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Historical Fiction, Aug. 22 2014
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This review is from: World Without End (Mass Market Paperback)
This book is a historical fiction tale set in the late Middle Ages in a small fictitious cathedral town. The story is ‘book ended’ by a mysterious letter. A knight is accosted by men at arms and he kills them and hides the letter that would reappear at the end of the story.

The majority of the story is about the local inhabitants who compete for survival and wealth. Various villains and good guys have it out in a rich setting. The time frame and setting give, in my opinion, the richness of this story. While the plot does thicken at points, it is the place that captures my interest. Whether it is a view of middle age building or farming or even the pubs, all of these gave me a perspective of a time I wouldn’t spend much effort to research.

Long stories take a investment of time and that made me feel for some of the characters. Feeling anger and joy at the various victories and defeats that flow from the pages I was engaged. I won’t give a spoiler, but it finished in a lofty manner. I felt that the writing was a bit mechanical at first but it began to flow with rhythm and I would look forward to reading it.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good story with some caveats, Aug. 19 2014
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This review is from: World Without End (Mass Market Paperback)
Ken Follett is a masterful writer. He is able to weave stories that are complex, that touch on the challenges, the pains and the joys of everyday life like few other authors can and, in this belated sequel to "Pillars of the Earth", he shows us again his knowledge of social structures and life during medieval England. Very few authors are able to communicate the texture of the medieval times as Follet does. This knowledge, along with particular insights into architecture and building knowledge during this time, are particular treats for the reader of WWE.

This is a novel that I would recommend, but not as highly as the first. Three points here: First, Follett brings to the fore too many 21st century moral issues and questions without much of the thinking of 14th century England to help us understand why people thought the way they did. Issues such as the women's liberation, abortion, the validity of religious belief, the possibility of a woman living with a man without being married, etc. all were certainly a part of life at that time, but essentially are portrayed in a way that makes 21st century thought on these issues as the "correct" ways of thinking, and 14th century thought as the rigid, incorrect and harmful ways of conceiving of these issues. It is fine that Follett brings his opinions to his writing. One would hope, however, that there would be some justice in the way historical ideas about life were treated. Perhaps an exception to this criticism is that Follett does a very nice job in showing how the seeds of the scientific revolution were perhaps present in early ideas about medicine and architecture. But here, social and moral issues are not as front and center as with other, more personal questions. Second, there is perhaps too much similarity between "Pillars" and WWE. There is also some important similarity in the character portrayals of the protagonists. It is a bit as if there was a path that Follett felt comfortable taking and took it up again, albeit with important changes. Finally, I would argue that scenes involving sex and intimacy are too graphic. There was a bit of that in Pillars, but too much in WWE. In addition, the same problem arises as in Pillars: this is a novel where church and faith-based questions are critical to the thoughts and behaviours of all actors, but there seems to be a decalage between how Follett describes faith-based questions and the actual thinking of that period. Again, perhaps too much 21st century in the 14th century.

Nevertheless, Follett's work remains remarkable because of the quality of the story he weaves and certainly, I will pick up other Follett books simply because the stories take you and keep you. So many written by others simply do not.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars What a waste of time, Dec 9 2010
By 
MONICA RIOS (MEXICO CITY, MEXICO D.F. MEXICO) - See all my reviews
This review is from: World Without End (Paperback)
They say "time is precious", so don't waste it in reading this book. I had never quit reading a book in my life until I reached page 450 of World Without End. I just coudn't read any more about sex and violence and so many blatant attacks on the Church. Characters have no personality at all and the plot develops so slowly you almost want to read the last pages to see if it's worth continuing. In my case it wasn't.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars ENOUGH WITH THE EPIC NOVELS, Dec 10 2009
This review is from: World Without End (Paperback)
Judging by the many positive reviews on Amazon I guess I am in the minority. I am not an avid reader but do enjoy a good book. Pillars of the Earth seemed to be in everyones hands and the topic of conversation at every social function I attended lately, so I looked past the 900+ pages and read this and enjoyed it. That being said I foolishly decided to read World Without End or as I call it, Book Without Eend. I will keep it short and sweet, Basically rape, violence and oh yes more rape. I implore you do not waste your time reading this and sit back and reflect on Pillars and how much you enjoyed it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A worthy successor to "Pillars of the Earth"!, July 4 2009
By 
Paul Weiss (Dundas, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: World Without End (Paperback)
"World Without End" continues the story of Kingsbridge, a medieval town noted for the awe-inspiring Gothic cathedral designed and built some 200 hundred years earlier in the 12th century by Jack Builder.

Gwenda, a female medieval version of the Artful Dodger, is one of five starving children in a very poor family. Despite the horrific punishment that sees the hands chopped off a convicted thief, she's being raised by her father to be a cut-purse and a pickpocket. Ralph is a tall, strong boy whose hopeful family see him as destined for greater things. They imagine him as the young squire of a noble knight or (dare they wish for such an impossibility?) perhaps even elevated to the rank of knighthood and nobility itself. But Ralph is an aggressive bully and although he certainly seems to have the strength and the warlike skills to achieve such an ambition, he is sadly lacking in the ability to soak up any academic learning at all. Descended from Jack Builder, Merthin seems to be the polar opposite of his stepbrother, Ralph. Merthin is a kinder, gentler, more intelligent person whose innate pragmatic genius drives him to wonder how things work and how things are built. Caris, also a descendent of Jack Builder, shares in Jack's and Merthin's intelligence but she is determined to use that academic brilliance to study medicine, an activity strictly forbidden to mere women in the 14th century.

In 1327, these four children slip away from the confines of Kingsbridge and play in the forest, a dangerous activity forbidden to them by their parents. But who among us hasn't ignored a prohibition like that at one time or another? When, to their horror, they witness a killing that they cannot understand, their lives become inextricably entwined together and it is not until many, many years later that any of them will understand the dark motives behind the brutal event in the forest that unfolded before them that day.

Of course, "World Without End" is a sequel to Ken Follett's runaway bestseller, "Pillars of the Earth" and, as you might expect, Kingsbridge Cathedral, the priory and Merthin's skills as an engineer, a mason, a designer and an architect, all play a central role in the continuing story. Caris' cousin, Godwyn, also a descendant of Tom Builder, becomes a monk at a very early age and sets his career sights very high indeed. With an abundant supply of self-confidence and arrogance, he is absolutely convinced that it is in Kingsbridge's and his own best interests that he become no less than the Prior of the cathedral. Of course, this is still the 14th century and, clearly, Godwyn, the priory and the authority of the Catholic Church will have no small part to play in the history of Kingsbridge as the story of the four children's lives begins to play out against the rich medieval backdrop that Follett provides.

Feudalism, medieval law, the iron hand of the Catholic Church, the innate male chauvinism of the day, the nobility, ongoing war against France and, of course, the Black Death that savaged Europe in the second half of the fourteenth century, all play a major role in Follett's epic tale, "World Without End". Given the setting of the story in terms of time and place, this shouldn't come as a surprise. What may come as a surprise is that, although readers of "Pillars of the Earth" who waited so long for this sequel were desperately afraid that Follett couldn't possibly repeat such a literary triumph, their worries were quite groundless. Follett has provided his fans with an epic tale that veritably leaps off the pages - bloody war and battles; greed, ambition and power; lust, love and loyalty; suspense and intrigue; and, of course, a realistic, astonishingly well developed historical setting that will transport delighted readers to the heart of medieval England.

"World Without End" is a doorstopper weighing in at a hefty 1000+ pages. But, without a doubt, it's the fastest 1000 pages that you're ever going to read and you'll still be sorry to see it end. What a story!

Paul Weiss
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Words Without End, Sept. 12 2008
By 
This review is from: World Without End (Hardcover)
Too long, repetitive, same plot as Pillars. Wouldn't have started had I realized it would be such an endless rant against the medieval nobility and church. Almost quit reading at the point she became a nun, but did finish the rest. Very disappointing sequel to the great book Pillars of Earth.
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5.0 out of 5 stars It is one of the best books I have read in a long time, July 29 2014
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This book kept me spell bound. It is one of the best books I have read in a long time. The writing style is superb. There must have been an enormous amount of research done. I can recommend it to anyone interested in history. Well done.
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World Without End
World Without End by Ken Follett (Mass Market Paperback - July 27 2010)
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