This is by far one of my favorite books of all time. The story is made great by it's characters and the narrator does an excellent job bringing them all to life. I love this book and highly recommend it.
This is a wonderful book. I read it first and enjoyed it so much that I purchased it from audible to share with my husband. We listened to it together and as I expected he also enjoyed it. I suggest you read Pillars of the Earth by the same author first.
I can't think of a book that I've ever enjoyed more than this one. The world and characters became so real. The only disappointment was that the book eventually had to end.
This is my second listening to Pillars, and then World Without End. Oh, how I hope for the third of this trilogy! Get busy. Pillars, then World Without End.
If you like history or like good storytelling, you won't like this. Nothing against the narrator - he's fine. But if this book hadn't been written by a famous author it would never have been published. Cardboard characters with 21st century mentalities, walking through a world that sounds lifted from a middle school world history textbook. These characters somehow miraculously are responsible for all the big innovations of their time. If you read Pillars of the Earth, you will find basically the exact same characters here, thinly disguised. A waste of time and audio credits!
Absolutely amazing book! Very few authors can draw me into their stories as well as Ken Follett can; in particular, his works, World Without End and Pillars of the Earth. If he produced a few more of these marvels I wouldn't be able to get anything done. After all, all I would want to do is either read or better yet listen to his books. Thank you for your incredible books Mr. Follett as well as the excellent narration provided by John Lee.
This may be one of the two best books ever written. The other would be Pillars of the Earth, both by Ken Follet. This author can transport a listener back in time and put you down in the 12th or 14th century and make you feel you are really there. His knowledge of how life was and the interaction between complex people is nothing short of brilliant. It seems like he knows too many things for this book to be fiction. It really seems to have happened just as he wrote it. I cannot tell you how many times I was mad at religion or the church, or the lords, or the king during this story. It does deal with sensitive issues such as burning witches, and stupid practices such as bleeding a patient with the plague. It is also in the time of the black death and the horror of that disease is evident. If you have not read/listened to this book yet, get it and Pillars of the Earth too. I cannot say this is the best book ever written because I have not read them all but I have over 1,000 audio books in my library and this stands far above all of them.
One of my book club mates chose World Without End because she loved the prior volume by Mr. Follett(Pillars of the Earth) as one of her all-time favorite books. I did not read Pillars, but was game to try this volume to see if it lived up to expectations. I have to say, if not for the convenience of the Audible version (unabridged at 40+ hours!), I would never have finished the book. I kept it plugged into my car stereo for my commute. The recording quality and narration was fine. The book itself failed to capture and hold my attention. I found the plot predictable and the characters 2-dimentional. There are far better books about this time period and following residents of English villages during the plague. Sorry book club mate, but this was a disappointment. Next time, I pick.
I will keep Audible versions of my book club reading in mind when I'm pressed for time to complete my reading before we meet or when someone picks a dog (hopefully not too often).
If you liked the Pillars of the Earth, then you will like this as well. The story is very similar and the narration is just as good as the first. My only advice would be to take a break in between the two if you plan on listening to them both. After finishing this one, I had to jump to something not so medieval.
I liked The Pillars... so I was interested in reading the sequel, it's tooooo long, the story is good but innecessarily long, maybe the abridged version it's a better option.
Still after reading Ken Follet's works, definitely Umberto Eco is the king.