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World Without End by Ken Follett

World Without End (2007)

by Ken Follett

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7,751229434 (4.03)1 / 381

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Showing 1-5 of 195 (next | show all)
Carey's book - a Christmas present from his brother 2007.

This book is a sequel to Pillars of the Earth. Both books are great with lots of details about medieval buildings (cathedrals in the first book and bridges in this one), the church and the role of women. My only difficulty with both these books is accepting how unjustly the main characters are treated and the immorality of the church leaders. ( )
  Susanna.Dilliott | Apr 23, 2014 |
Caris is a great female heroine and like the medicine, nursing, aspect to this book. ( )
  sschaller | Mar 31, 2014 |
Well, I read the whole damn thing. A 21st Century soap opera set in the 14th Century. Sloppily written and poorly edited it was, nevertheless, entertaining - especially if you let prurient instincts take over. This book had a bit of everything - strong women, weak men, strong men, palace intrigue, religious corruption, war, violence, sex - tons of sex, consensual and non-consensual, heterosexual and homosexual. All in all a pretty bad book. It's 1000 pages so don't read it expecting anything other than a big, lusty, summer read.
( )
  m2snick | Feb 19, 2014 |
A few days ago I was asked if I could live in any literary world, where would I choose. Such a hard decision, there are so many good ones to select from that I had a hard time coming up with just one. However, I can unequivocally say that it would not be Kingsbridge. Set aside for the fact that I am a woman (women didn't really have it easy back then), and the fact that indoor plumbing isn't exactly a thing, oh and there's the whole plague thing going on...yeah forget all that. But holy smokes, the medical treatment! Fall out of a tree and break your arm? A little bloodletting should help. Get stabbed by a peasant after you tried to grope his wife? You probably haven't lost enough blood so let's take some more, shall we? Poisoned? Drowned? Wasting Disease? These can all be cured by blood loss, apparently. And if not, just rub some goat's dung on it, and all shall be well. Ugh.

Ok, so here's the thing about World Without End. It's long. No, really. It's like a freaking long book. I knew this going in, obviously. But somehow I was still surprised by how loooong it felt. Having read and enjoyed Pillars of the Earth, I figured that the 'sequel' would be on the same level. And it sort of was. In fact, early on it really felt like I was reading the same book just with some of the names and dates having changed. It's not a bad book. And Follett is superb with his depictions of life in the middle ages. You really get a sense of being there with the way he describes everything. And the story was pretty good. He definitely gives you guys to root for and ones to root against, so you feel an emotional attachment to what happens to the characters. So, all that is good. My biggest problem with the book, I guess, is that it felt rather like a soap opera. There were good guys (who were always good, or at least had good intentions even when they did not so good things) and bad guys (who were always bad, or if not it was because it was in there interest to do something positive even if they didn't want to). And the bad guys were always winning until you get to the point where you're ready to chuck the book at the wall because the good guys are having such a sucky time of it and justice is definitely not winning out, and oh, something happens and it's all ok. For now. Rinse and repeat. For. Eleven. HUNDRED. Pages. In the end, I was exhausted, and not exactly satisfied with the way things turned out. ( )
  virginiahomeschooler | Feb 11, 2014 |
One of the best reads: [[ASIN:0525950079 World Without End]]
Pillars of the Earth was one of my favorite stories of all time. I didn't realize a sequel was being written, but I am so glad I found it, and read it. The characters are easy to relate to, and their lives are so well described, you feel you know them. It helped me to understand how soft and easy we have things today, and how arbitrary life's fortunes were in the 1300's. I've enjoyed all of Mr. Follett's efforts, but Pillars and World are my absolute favorites.
  lonepalm | Feb 5, 2014 |
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Please distinguish Ken Follett's original 2007 novel, World Without End from any abridged audio edition of the complete work. Thank you.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0525950079, Hardcover)

Ken Follett has 90 million readers worldwide. The Pillars of the Earth is his bestselling book of all time. Now, eighteen years after the publication of The Pillars of the Earth, Ken Follett has written the most-anticipated sequel of the year, World Without End.

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.

Questions for Ken Follett

Amazon.com: What a phenomenon The Pillars of the Earth has become. It was a bestseller when it was published in 1989, but it's only gained in popularity since then--it's the kind of book that people are incredibly passionate about. What has it been like to see it grow an audience like that?

Follett: At first I was a little disappointed that Pillars sold not much better than my previous book. Now I think that was because it was a little different and people were not sure how to take it. As the years went by and it became more and more popular, I felt kind of vindicated. And I was very grateful to readers who spread the news by word of mouth.

Amazon.com: Pillars was a departure for you from your very successful modern thrillers, and after writing it you returned to thrillers. Did you think you'd ever come back to the medieval period? What brought you to do so after 18 years?

Follett: The main reason was the way people talk to me about Pillars. Some readers say, "It’s the best book I’ve ever read." Others tell me they have read it two or three times. I got to the point where I really had to find out whether I could do that again.

Amazon.com: In World Without End you return to Kingsbridge, the same town as the previous book, but two centuries later. What has changed in two hundred years?

Follett: In the time of Prior Philip, the monastery was a powerful force for good in medieval society, fostering education and technological advance. Two hundred years later it has become a wealthy and conservative institution that tries to hold back change. This leads to some of the major conflicts in the story.

Amazon.com: World Without End features two strong-willed female characters, Caris and Gwenda. What room to maneuver did a medieval English town provide for a woman of ambition?

Follett: Medieval people paid lip-service to the idea that women were inferior, but in practice women could be merchants, craftspeople, abbesses, and queens. There were restrictions, but strong women often found ways around them.

Amazon.com: When you sit down to imagine yourself into the 14th century, what is the greatest leap of imagination you have to make from our time to theirs? Is there something we can learn from that age that has been lost in our own time?

Follett: It’s hard to imagine being so dirty. People bathed very rarely, and they must have smelled pretty bad. And what was kissing like in the time before toothpaste was invented?

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:46:55 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Two centuries after the building of the elaborate Gothic cathedral in Kingsbridge, its prior finds himself at the center of a web of ambition and revenge that places the city at a crossroad of commerce, medicine, and architecture.

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