I'm not sure how I can adequately express just how much I enjoyed this book. I was slightly put off by the length - not sure if I could get through 40 hours. By the end, I was slightly sad to realize my time with this fascinating community of people was coming to an end. I read "The Pillars of the Earth" many years ago, so I can't make too much of a close comparison. This book accurately portrays like in Medieval England, from food and housing to medicine and lifestyles. The story deals with a time of change - not only the beginning of the 100 Years War, but the end of the Dark Ages, and a huge change in labor and aristocracy brought on by the beginning of the Plague.
Well worth the time and such and enjoyable book. The characters are real and believeable, and you'll find yourself sad to leave Kingsbridge once again at the end.
While the first book might have been believable, assuming certain suspension of disbelief, here the main characters are XXI century creatures masquerading for medieval monks and nuns. Characters are two-dimensional, bad ones are cartoonish incapable of good deeds, while good ones are painfully anachronistic. The author's understanding of the period is sadly misguided, for example it is rather unlikely that XIV century wealthy person would want to go to a hospital, unless of course the reason was to commit a suicide. Finally, the actions moves in a cyclic and quite tiresome manner. The only good thing is that the story is engaging and moving forward in a steady pace, so as long as one does not treat the medieval setting too seriously, the plot line can be quite engaging.
ken follet is a master story teller, and develops characters like no other!
this is absolutely a literary masterpiece.
this and "pillars of the earth" should be considered among mankinds all time epic classic novels!!
it's entertaining, brilliant, educating, intriguing and absolutely "can't put down"
don't miss this and pillars of the earth!! my two favorite listens by far!
Riveting tale of how life was lived in the 14th century. How Follett dealt with the plague was fascinating. Also compelling was how he showed the Catholic church as so corrupt. The book seems long compared with others, but you'll fly through it, and wish there were more!!!
i live in the kentucky bluegrass and enjoy coffee in the morning while listening to a great book.
World was excellent in its own way but if you were expecting World to be like Pillars, you might be upset with what you get. I wasn't terribly let down but I certainly did not think that it was as gripping as Pillars, but honestly, is ANY sequel as good as its first? No. Not really. As much as I enjoyed World, I cannot give it five stars like Pillars but there are few books that take you body and soul like Pillars. Don't be dismayed by World, definitely take a listen. You'll enjoy it.
If I could, I'd give this book ten stars. I felt similarly about Pillars of Earth. Initially, I thought the story line was a bit too much like a soap opera, with the personal relationships filled with sex and rage. But, the characters take form and are incredibly well-developed as this book relates the lives two and three generations following the main characters in Pillars of the Earth. The politics between church and town are well-woven into the story creating tension and intrigue. The impact of the bubonic plague and the war between England and France bring the history of the times to life in a way that no history book could ever do. There were times that I stayed up way later than I should have because I just couldn't stop listening. The narrator does more than read . . . he acts out the scenes and creates the characters extremely well. My only regret is that I finished this book today. And now what do I do! I'm afraid that anything I choose will pale in comparison.
I have listened or read so many different books that I feel shocked that I have found a book that I wish it could slow down so that I could enjoy the sorrel reality that the author has created. Ken Follett gives you a book that allows you to grow with the characters through the hard and good times. This book has raised the bar and has put in motion a new type of epic story telling. Buy this book and let yourself become enchanted by the drama, fear, love and hate that Ken Follett has created in a story like no other author of this time has.
I've read this book after reading the first one (The Pillars of the Earth). Well, they are almost identical, though I remember that the first one I liked better. Anyway, this one is like a typical Hollywood movie: you watch it, you like it and in one year time you don't even remember what it is about. :-)
Generally the story is good but do not take it as a historic novel. It's more like a fantasy. I just cannot imagine all these peasants in medieval England talking and thinking almost like people with college education. On the other hand, Caress's battle for women's rights seem extremely unlikely in 14th century.
I recommend it if you like Hollywood movies and want to read something light.
Its like Follett decided that the first book was so successful that he should write another one just like it--same cardboard characters (with different names), same plots (on a different timeline). The only thing different is that this second book includes the Bubonic Plague and lots more sex. You can tell the author is a "man's man" because of all the endless sexual encounters. Frankly, it got so repetitious that I started to fast fwd through the rapes and the inevitably detailed sexual descriptions. zzzzz.
I loved the masterpiece, Pillars of the Earth and couldnt wait to begin World Without End. I might have been reading the same book, with different names. Pillars was an amazing read that I never wanted to end. World Without End was hard for me to get into, and the similarities led to boredom. I would rather Follet didnt skip all the generations and continued with the characters of Pillars. All in all, I couldnt even finish the book.