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World Without End | [Ken Follett]

World Without End

In 1989 Ken Follett astonished the literary world with The Pillars of the Earth, set in 12th-century England. Readers and listeners ever since have hoped for a sequel. At last, here it is. Although the two novels may be listened to in any order, World Without End also takes place in Kingsbridge, two centuries after the townspeople finished building their exquisite Gothic cathedral. The cathedral is again at the center of a web of love and hate, greed and pride, ambition and revenge.
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Publisher's Summary

In 1989 Ken Follett astonished the literary world with The Pillars of the Earth, a sweeping epic novel set in 12th-century England that centered on the building of a cathedral and the men, women, and children whose lives it changed forever. Critics were overwhelmed, and readers and listeners ever since have hoped for a sequel.

At last, here it is. Although the two novels may be listened to in any order, 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.

Three years in the writing, World Without End once again shows that Ken Follett is a masterful author writing at the top of his craft.

Listen to The Pillars of the Earth.

©2007 Ken Follett; (P)2007 Penguin Audio, a member of Penguin Group (USA), Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Fans of Follett's previous medieval epic will be well rewarded." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    Micheline Golden Clovis, CA USA 04-11-08
    Micheline Golden Clovis, CA USA 04-11-08 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Absolutely spectacular"

    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.

    16 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul pearland, TX, USA 05-20-08
    Paul pearland, TX, USA 05-20-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Tedious"

    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.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daniel Mcafee Texas USA 11-04-07
    Daniel Mcafee Texas USA 11-04-07 Member Since 2005

    danmc

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    "Absolutely a masterpiece!"

    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!

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ted 02-07-08
    Ted 02-07-08 Member Since 2002
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    "Exquisite"

    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!!!

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    laurie eller the South 02-07-08
    laurie eller the South 02-07-08 Member Since 2007

    i live in the kentucky bluegrass and enjoy coffee in the morning while listening to a great book.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellent in its own way."

    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.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laura Tampa, FL, USA 12-17-07
    Laura Tampa, FL, USA 12-17-07
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    "Ten Stars"

    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.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    d.knoper 11-27-07
    d.knoper 11-27-07
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    "Gripping from start to finish"

    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.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pavel MadridSpain 10-23-09
    Pavel MadridSpain 10-23-09
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    "Like a Hollywood movie"

    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.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ellen Boca Raton, United States Minor Outlying Islands 02-10-09
    Ellen Boca Raton, United States Minor Outlying Islands 02-10-09
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    "Follet should have stopped with Pillars!"

    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.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JOHN Plantation, FL, United States 01-18-09
    JOHN Plantation, FL, United States 01-18-09 Member Since 2003

    Audible Member Since 2003

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    "Book Without End"

    If you loved PILLARS OF THE EARTH, then it is likely you will enjoy WORLD WITHOUT END. It seems as if Ken Follet took the same recipe of his first success and snapped it together for this follow-up. All of the same ingredients are there; a beleaguered female protagonist with a not-so-loveable brother, her love interest, covetous power-lust for the earldom of Shiring, an ambitious building project, duplicitous clerics and plenty of despotic nobility. Sprinkle in some gore with equal measures of sex, add a few scenes of rape and stew in some omnipresent ale. At the end, reveal a long-hidden secret, and VOILA - a sequel emerges.

    Really it does not matter which book you listen to first. Basically, they are one in the same.

    I did enjoy listening to this 45-hour book. But added to the 40-hour prequel, really - enough is enough.

    John Lee is a very talented reader and he does, in my opinion, make the listening pleasurable. If you are a fan of this reader, I recommend listening to A FINE BALANCE - an incredible piece of writing. WORLD WITHOUT END certainly is not great literature, but an engaging story that seems to, as the title suggests, never end.

    23 of 26 people found this review helpful
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