Sunday, November 23, 2008

World Without End

World Without End is the sequel to Pillars of the Earth, which I read last June and reviewed here. Pillars of the Earth followed the townspeople of Kingsbridge, England in the 1100's. World Without End picks up in the same town with a new cast of characters in the 1300's. In every way possible, this book is the same as the first one. It has medieval romance, royal scandal, cathedral building and gothic architecture, and it is very, very long. I believe in my review of Pillars of the Earth I awarded it the title of longest-book-ever. Well, it will now have to release that title and hand it over to its sequel because this book is 1014 pages long.

I finished this book yesterday afternoon while wearing my cloak and sipping a goblet of Meade. It's rare that I let my medieval side win out, but this book was worth it. It's not the best book ever, but it's very entertaining in a mildly educational way. The book appears to be well researched, and I found the story line following the nuns and monks in the town to be highly entertaining. In general I think Ken Follet paints a very thorough and seemingly accurate picture of life in the 1300s. The book explores the difficulties of being a woman during these times, the struggles the Catholic church faced, war and the politics surrounding battle, and the plague that ravaged Europe in the mid 1300s.

Probably because the book is so long, Ken Follet is able to really take a story lower than you think possible. By page 500 or so, you're thinking, "Dude, this book is a DOWNER, is it ever going to get better for these people?" But then you realize that the book isn't even half over yet, and he still has plenty of time for things to improve. At times, the simplicity of the "bad guys" and the goodness of the "good guys" gets tiresome, but after my second goblet of Meade, I forgave this.

Basically, if you liked Pillars of Earth, I can pretty much guarantee that you'll like World Without End.


Okie said...

I finally picked up Pillars of the Earth at the bookstore a week or two ago with the plan/hope to read it over Christmas break in between work, family and school semesters.

From what I've read and heard, I'm really looking forward to getting into Follet's writing.

Bybee said...

Thanks for reviewing this...I'll keep my eye peeled. Hardcover or paperback?

cranky rae said...

"I finished this book yesterday afternoon while wearing my cloak and sipping a goblet of Meade." I want to hate it but I love it.