The story's turns and the depth of the characters made this story so wonderful. This is the kind of book that you tell your friends they have to read. It is long, but oh so wonderfully long!! All human feelings and attitudes are here: love, pride, envy, injustice, greed, mercy, etc...You just want to keep listening about all the characters and their descendant's life drama until the end of times!
This stand-alone novel is an interesting follow up to Pillars of the Earth, Follett's first novel of the imaginary Cathedral town of Kingsbridge. It's an exploration of the social ramifications of the interaction of the Medieval Church and Government.
The novel follows a cast of characters through their lives in the town, and it is a very thoroughly imagined description of their lives. This novel, like the first one, is very well researched, and part of the appeal is hearing the very thorough descriptions of invention, architecture, medicine, etc. This includes some very graphic passages that would make this inappropriate for young listeners. Don't make the mistake I did, and leave it on your car speakers while the kids are in the car!
There is a very American slant to this novel; a celebration of the individual against the institution, the idealization of the middle class, the villainization of the military, etc. But, it's not so overt in most cases that it really detracts from the overall story.
The narrator is adequate. He's not particularly good at voices, but he didn't try to do too many accents. He read with enough general expression and tone that he's not distracting.
Overall, this was an interesting listen. It won't be on my repeated rotation, but it was thought provoking and sparked some interesting debates.
This was my first audiobook and what a first choice. Upon finishing it, I purchased "Pillars of The Earth," even though I had read the book a couple of years ago, and it was great fun hearing it again. John Lee is wonderful and doesn't read too fast like some. His pacing is perfect, nice voice, very funny at times and has an ability to seamlesly transition from one character to the next. I have never had any prior interest in reading about medieval times but you get over that very quickly with this series. Fascinating story; can't say enough good things about this author and narrator.
but, if you want to hear another version of a similar story with similar characters, this wasn't bad. I'm somewhat convinced that John Lee could bring any story to life and make it enjoyable. Thus, his narration makes up for the areas the story falls flat, or repetitive.
Follett definitely likes his plucky female characters. I can't say I disapprove. His lovelorn males are a mess, though. His villains... dastardly.
A good book to pass the time on vacations and bus trips. Many of the characters appear similar to the Pillars of the Earth not only because many of the characters are descendants from the characters of the previous book, but also because they seem to fill the same slots of personality types such as the psychopathic Earl, the plucky landless peasants, the inventive entrepreneur middle-class merchants, the conservatives vs. the inventive, as well as the sexually oppressed women vs. the powerful, obsessed men. Still, a well researched book about life in the Middle Ages with thriller aspects which will tempt you to read past where you intended to stop.
Blends the serf with the Lords in both political and religious situations through one generation. Enlightening socially and historically with a very impelling story line.
Though the story seems ill conceived at first (a woman in charge of a church, really?), Kenneth Follett does an excellent job of explaining how the world was turned upside down by the plague. Beautifully crafted!
This book is very well written and takes you to 14th century England very well.
BUT the same people seem to get a disaster every other page and it just keeps coming, it gets to the point where I went...oh come on..again???
The evil people seem to be invincible and get away with everything and the poor people get shafted at every turn, I know that 14th century England was not very fair, but it's just too much at one point.
In any case, I enjoyed the book but will think twice before listening to another of his books.
John Lee is his usual fantastic self and makes the story flow with his flawless reading.
After reading the reviews I was expecting Fillet Mignon but I thought the story was a bit Spam-like. Soft,fatty, lacking content and over salted. The narrator was the only thing that kept me going. John Lee did an excellent job.
On this plus side, this selection will fill many hours of listening. But I found it disappointing. First, the author is not especially gifted at creating suspense. As he plods along it is easy to see where he is going. Secondly, he give his 14th century characters the attitudes and mores of 21st century Americans. To me it feels as if the author wrote this long book without asking himself tough questions about the credibility of his characters in an effort to reach a deadline.