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.
"Fans of Follett's previous medieval epic will be well rewarded." (Publishers Weekly)
I read Pillars of the Earth in high school and absolutely loved it. The horror that was my experience of listening to the first half of this sequel has made it necessary for me to re-evaluate that opinion. Maybe Follett's writing appealed to a 15-year old girl, because it could have come from the pen (MacBook, whatever) of a 15-year old girl. To be fair, I stopped listening halfway through--about the time that one of the principal female character's rape turned into consensual sex mid-act FOR THE SECOND TIME (with different assailants, mind you)--so it is just barely possible that what comes later somehow salvages what I suffered through. But I doubt it.
I love good historical fiction, but what Follett has produced here is neither good history nor good fiction. He has given modern-day characters with modern-day beliefs and speech medieval names and dropped them into a medieval setting (or perhaps it's a parallel universe. That might begin to explain things). I shouldn't say modern, really, however. Follett's tendency to insert nymphomaniacs into his work (I made the mistake of reading one of his novels set in the modern-day and came across the same character) smacks of 1940's and 50's pulp fiction.
For all lovers of truly good historical fiction, steer clear of this disaster. I'm still angry about the 20 hours I lost to this dressed-up bodice ripper, and it's been three years since I was first exposed.
I usually hate to read a book that the rest of the world is reading but I started this on a paperback and actually switched back and forth between the book and the audio depending on my mood. It's a great book - but not my favorite.
Great follow up for "Pillars of the Earth."
Good narrator (I was extremely happy to find it's the same one they used for Pillars) engrossing story...maybe a little too much violence involving animals for me in both books, but these stories were both good enough that I could get past it. (I just chose to fast forward the mp3 player in a few places...)
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.
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).
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