This book is being touted as the long awaited sequel to The Pillars of the Earth, which was published 18 years ago. Although it is set in the same town as the original book and some of the characters from the past are mentioned this story occurs 200 years after the events in Pillars.
Four children witness a murder in the forest near their home. They never tell anyone of what happened that day and never discuss it among themselves. The four children, Merthin and Ralph brothers of a disgraced knight, Caris daughter of a rich merchant and Gwenda the destitute daughter of a thief, live vastly different lives but their paths are always entwined with each others. Over the course of 34 years we follow these four through their loves and losses and learn to care for some and loathe others, but always we are wrapped up in their story.
Although I think Pillars was a better book, I think this one is not too far off the mark. We have a lot of the same themes that were visited in that tale here: Star crossed love, wicked nobleman, ambitious monks, hard working poorly treated peasants, murder, death, betrayal, and the Black Plague. Through it all you root for some people to overcome the obstacles thrown in their way and wait for others to get payback for all the evil they do.
Once again I learned many things about life in those Dark Ages and was fascinated by all the detail Follett put into his work. This is a huge book, over 1000 pages, yet I managed to read it in about a week and a half, about 500 pages over the past two days; I just had to know how it would all turn out.
If you loved Pillars I don't think you will be disappointed.
Historical purists will not be pleased. Neither will readers who make their selections based on the length of a book, or people who object to a little sex in their reading (World is hardly pornography), or religious fundamentalists.
But those who enjoy ripping epic adventures, historical settings, compelling characters, and plot twist after twist, should have a fine time in World Without End. Yes, it mimics its predecessor, but that is precisely what I, for one, was hoping for. Jumping back into Jack the Builder's city after 200 years was a joy. Few writers on the scene today are capable of creating such appealing protagonists and such hateful villains. Few are capable of filling 1000 pages with heartfelt conflict, human mistakes and foibles, or gut-wrenching turns of event. Follett can do all of this, and has proved it again in World.
The treatment of the bubonic plague in World is worthy of comment. Rather than focus upon the horrific physical element, Follett has chosen to represent the vast psychological, financial, and societal consequences of this most devastating of diseases: the breakdown of mores, conventions, and behavior, the inability to produce enough food, the utter uselessness of mere wealth, the failure of the religious establishment to meet the needs of its flock. It is difficult today to imagine that time, and the narrative here helps.
Circumstances change, but human nature doesn't. Here's hoping Mr Follett has another Kingsbridge novel in him, set perhaps during the religious and political upheaval that characterized the Tudor era.
I've been telling people for years about Pillars Of The Earth - it was a remarkable work. Among the many aspects of the story, I enjoyed the description of the development of Ecclesiastical architecture - fascinating stuff! It was a great tale, well told. World Without End is a gripping sequel and while it pays homage to its predecessor, it stands by itself as a story. It didn't quite capture my imagination as much as POTE probably because there were so many similarities to the plot. This time the building centered more on bridge building - again, interesting from a technical aspect. There was also a lot more gratuitous sex thrown in - some of it was necessary to the plot but some of it seemed to be added just to spice things up and really didn't need to be there. All in all it was a pretty good read.
For those who enjoy a good epic historical tale, I'd highly recommend Stephen Lawhead's 'Byzantium' - a marvelous tale (based on historical fact) of an Irish monk's journey to Byzantium. His King Raven trilogy (Hood/Scarlet/Tuck) retelling the legend of Robin Hood from a different historical perspective is also excellent!
I enjoyed this book, but not as much as Pillars of the Earth. This is a stand alone book, and not truly a sequel to Pillars. The book follows the town of Kingsbridge during the 14th century England and includes a vivid portrait of the devastation of the plague, the trials of the serfs/peasants and the hostility of the ruling gentry, and the lack of sanctity of the church. This is a social novel that depicts the conflict between serfs/nobility; men/women; clergy/guilds and the rise of the middle class. The novel is extremely long (1,000+) pages, but if you like historical fiction, or Pillars, then this is worth a read.
I enjoy escaping to another place and time through reading a good book. And with over 1000 pages, this book provides a lengthy escape. It also provides some graphic violent details and sexual encounters (including both willing and unwilling participants). The length of the story was not a problem, as the story did not drag on. I did, however, have a problem accepting the part where the nuns head off alone across Europe to track down the Bishop just to tell him that the priests had stolen their money. The 2 women dress in disguises and fall in with the French army as they march on towards battle. Yes, the nuns were travelling to see the Bishop who was currently involved in the war, and the 2 women were following the troups across the country just to tattle on the priests back home. Whatever. So I didn't appreciate Follett's crude details at times, nor the diversion from Kingsbridge, but it was overall a good read.
Great read. 1014 pages long you can't wait to get to next episode but don't want it to end. This is a sequel to "Pillars of the earth".It is set in the late middle ages and contains abundant details about life in those times.
A great novel about life from 1327-1361. Follett followed up "Pillars of the Earth" with "World Without End." This book takes place 200 years after his previous best seller. What a wonderful read. You get involved in these people's lives and it becomes hard to jump back into your own life. I recommend it highly. Just keep in mind that Follett is an athiest and so his world view is a little different, but what a great read!
This novel closely mimics its predecessor Pillars of the Earth. Set some 200 years later, it picks up life in the town of Kingsbridge. The characters are well developed and you quickly become pulled into their lives. This book has the same compelling character types of the first book. The couple whose love seems destined yet are again and again heartbreakingly separated, the villans who seem to run into their share of misfortune as well, yet never seem to be defeated. All of their struggles seem so unsurmountable yet somehow they persevere. Their pain is gut wrenching and their happiness profound. If you loved Pillars- World Without End will be equally lovable.
Amber (amber1111) reviewed World Without End (Pillars of the Earth, Bk 2) on
Helpful Score: 2
I made it about 200 pages into this book and I just couldn't get into it. It's nowhere near as good as Pillars of the Earth in my opinion. The sheer size of the book is ridiculous. It could have been condensed a great deal.
The sequel to "The Pillars of the Earth", this book takes place 200 years after the original book and traces the lives of the descendants. Well written in a simple, straight-forward style, the book is very readable and extremely engrossing. Especially valuable in understanding the historical context, Ken Follett has done his homework and paints a masterful portrait of life in the 1300s with the plague, with the political and ecclesiastical power struggles and abuses. I can guarantee you won't regret picking this one up.
A gripping and turbulant sequel to Pillars of the Earth, this book is thrilling! If you can overlook some adult themes (quite a bit of sex, violence, bad language) this book is a series of twists and turns that will enthrall the reader and leave you thinking about the book and characters long after you have finished it. The characters are believable and the Middle Ages come alive in this book. Highly recommended.
"Pillars of the Earth" is one of my favorite books of all time. This sequel might rank as one of my least. I am halfway through and have rolled my eyes countless times. I have thought of abandoning it, but I spent good money on this dud so by gum I'm going to read it. That's how bad it is. The speaking style and words used by the characters remind me of 21st century mall-rats. Follett seems to think readers are clamoring for a sex scene every five pages or so...and not tasteful sex scenes either. I feel like he wrote this for teenagers whose interest will wane without sex, sex, sex. This book is just plain DUMB.
If you loved ,Pillars of the Earth, - which I did - than this one is a must read as well. Ken Follett's "stories within the story" draw you in and captivate you. His amazing details about life in a very difficult time fascinated me. By the time I finished this book I felt like the characters were my old friends. It may be a very long book but its worth the time in my opinion.
I bought the book in the airport. Usually I feel that I am being overcharged for books bought in the airport. I feel World without End was worth every penny! I could not put this book down. I really enjoyed the read and look forward to reading Pillars of the Earth.
I enjoyed this book as much as "Pillars of the Earth." The only problem I had was that I think I read it too soon after Pillars thinking it was the sequel in the typical sense of being a sequel, in that I didn't want to "forget" anything from Pillars, but really, this is a book that can easily stand on its own. I loved it and definitely recommend it.
This is a book that I picked up because I was a fan of Ken Follet's suspense novels. Initially, I was disappointed when I realized this book fell into a completely different category. But the author paints a vivid picture of 11th century life and the ease with which a man could become unemployed and how quickly a family could become a victim of starvation. An eye-opening book about an earlier time.
This book is OUTSTANDING! I had previously enjoyed his "Pillars of the Earth". This is sort of a sequel, but still stands alone as a terrific read. Although it's over 1000 pages (yeah!), it wasn't long enough! Ken Follett knows how to captivate a reader's attention and brings you right into the story with him. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Ken Follet's sequel to Pillars of the Earth does not disappoint. The descendants of his PoE characters face different challenges, all made 14th century real by Follett in a detailed, believeable and historically accurate way. I really enjoyed this read and now have it and PoE on my keeper shelf. I gave it 5 stars!
World without end was written as a sequel to The Pillars of the Earth, but can also be read as a stand alone book. When Starz announced their Pillars of the Earth series, I decided to go ahead and read World Without End (it had been sitting on my to be read shelf for a... while).
World Without End had some big shoes to fill and it did not disappoint. This book took me at least twice as long to read, but I think I have an explanation for that. In other reviews readers mentioned that it has the same characters, just renamed and placed 200 years later than in PoE. To a great degree this is true, and therefore it was much easier for me to put the book down and walk away for even a couple of days because I just didn't feel the urgency that I did before. It's like deja vu all over again. It was good, but not the roller coaster experience that I had with PoE.
Having said all that, this is still a very good book and well worth the time to read the 1014 pages. If you've already read Pillars though, just be aware that it's a bit like chasing the dragon.
I really enjoyed listening to this audio book. The narrator does an amazing job with all the character voices and different period accents.
This story continues (many years later) the theme of follett's "Pillars of the Earth", and entrances the listener.
This review is taken from Amazon.com and is their review of the book. It is exactly what I would say if I was writing the review, except it says it about 100 times better so:
"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. Critics were overwhelmed--"it will hold you, fascinate you, surround you" (Chicago Tribune)--and readers everywhere hoped for a sequel.
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 crossroad 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 breathes new life into the epic historical novel and once again shows that Ken Follett is a masterful author writing at the top of his craft."
I came across this book by accident. It was on the shelf I had run out of books to read...I wouldn't say that I couldn't put it down...but it was a pretty interesting read. I haven't read many books form the twelfth century, so this was pretty awesome and an eye opener. I haven't read Pillars yet, but now I'm pretty excited to pick it up.
I've had this book on my shelf for a couple of years and finally decided to read it after seeing the TV mini-series. I enjoyed the mini-series but the book was so much better! The TV series changed a lot of the story, in some cases quite drastically. Anyway, the book is superb storytelling! It is a sequel of sorts to Pillars of the Earth which I read about 20 years ago and have always considered to be one of the best historical novels ever. Well, I don't remember a lot of the details of Pillars, but World Without End is truly great story-telling. The book is over 1200 pages but Follett's prose makes this an easy book to read. He keeps you engrossed in the story. It takes place 200 years after Pillars in the town of Kingsbridge during the 14th century. The characters are all vividly portrayed including Caris, the healer turned nun; Merthin the builder; Gwenda, the peasant girl; Ralph, the ruthless brother of Merthin turned knight; and the monks Godwyn and Philemon. The events of the novel take place during the hundred years war between France and England during the reign of Edward III. It is also during the time of the black plague and its decimation of the population of England and Europe. This all leads to the downfall of feudalism and the start of modern methods of medicine and disease treatment and prevention. All in all, a very high recommendation for World Without End!
I read Pillars first and had to have more. I finished this monster of a book in about 2 weeks...it's 1014 pages long but you don't notice the length as you're drawn in to the lives of the characters. The writing is so easy that you just keep moving on through. The characters are wonderfully drawn as is the description of life during the middle ages: the classes, the way of everyday life and the trials that the characters experience. I felt as if the characters were friends and found myself loving and hating them. This is definitely worth the time it takes!
This continuance takes place two to three hundred years after "Pillars". It is different, and though I do not rate it as good as pillars it still is a favorite of mine and a definite five star book. It is amazing to see the advances that were made in the period between "Pillars" and this story.
Another absolutely spectacular book by this author. If you loved Pillars of the Earth you will be thrilled to read the sequel. It leaves you the same way as Pillars, hoping there is another book to follow. Don't worry about the pages, you will read it quickly and think it ended too short!
Entertaining! The characters are a bit too larger-than-life (as an example, the main female, Caris, warps from merchant wonder to (almost) town alderman to nun/Mother Superior to founder of hospital/modern medicine (sic) all within the 40-50 years of her life. Wow!) but you can't help but like them. Even the evil characters are enjoyable because their evildoing are written with such light humor. Of course, life back then was probably much tougher and harsher than what is described in this book, plus not sure if the timing of the historical events are entirely accurate, but this was not meant to be a history reference book.
P.S. This book should be retitlted "Book Without End" 1000+ pages, whew!
World Without End was an entertaining book, with strong characters and a plot that came full circle. At times, I felt I could picture the town, the bridge, the hospital, the people, the atmosphere. This book made me dig deep into thinking about the plaque and all the deaths and fall out that must've caused for so many families and businesses. It made the 14th century come alive as no other book has before. Ken Follett is an excellent author and develops his characters better than most. I'm often sad to see his books end, and this one was no different.
This is the sequel to my favorite book of all time "Pillars of the Earth". It is just as good as Pillars. It goes back and tells the story that happened before the story of Pillars. It is equally wonderful.
I was disappointed with how it seemed everyone in this interesting story were either sexually motivated or sexually deviant. From the landless peasants to the Bishops and everyone in between every one was sexually active, heterosexually or homosexually and if not they thought that "sex" was a sin, forget about the sanctity of marriage. You tend to lose respect for the hero and heroine Caris and Merthen when they are copulating every chance they get. The Monks and the Nuns depicted seemed to have a vocation to self indulgence and gratification not to the Lord. Political motivation and not spiritual motivation was the main calling. It's obvious to me that Ken Follett thought the Church was in ruins during this period in history run by a bunch of ignorant selfish arrogant men and if it wasn't for Caris we would still be in the dark ages.