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Publisher's Summary

On the day after Halloween, in the year 1327, four children slip away from the cathedral city of Kingsbridge. They are a thief, a bully, a boy genius and a girl who wants to be a doctor. In the forest they see two men killed.

As adults, their lives will be braided together by ambition, love, greed and revenge. They will see prosperity and famine, plague and war. One boy will travel the world but come home in the end; the other will be a powerful, corrupt nobleman. One girl will defy the might of the medieval church; the other will pursue an impossible love. And always they will live under the long shadow of the unexplained killing they witnessed on that fateful childhood day.

Ken Follett's masterful epic The Pillars of the Earth enchanted millions with its compelling drama of war, passion and family conflict set around the building of a cathedral. World Without End takes readers back to medieval Kingsbridge two centuries later, as the men, women and children of the city once again grapple with the devastating sweep of historical change.

World Without End is followed by the third of Ken Follett's Kingsbridge novels, A Column of Fire.

©2007 Ken Follett (P)2007 Penguin US

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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Story

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  • Overall
  • Brodie
  • Mornington, Australia
  • 05-08-11

Astounding!

If you are ready for a 40 hour plus epic that runs seemlessly through an ancient age then put this on your list. There are writers and epic writers. Many may achieve the former but to write a book of such length, interest, diversity and spiced with history and keep it flowing and connected takes a master craftsperson. It is not heavy or intellectual or complicated; it is a great yarn and I loved it.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Jacobus
  • Johannesburg, South Africa
  • 11-27-10

Meet modern characters in 14th centuary Britain

If their is one book that makes the words, "Historical fiction says more about the day and age in which the writer lives, than about the time in which it happens" ring true, it is "World without End." Caris and Merthin reminds you of Jack Jackson and Aliena, but the characters is a bit more tarnished and not so ethical in their ways. You meet the same priory, but in a different day and age. While Follett is able to contrast the Kingsbridge of "World without End" quite successfully with the one of "Pillars of the Earth," his characters have in my opinion a too modern feel. Feminist issues, the theodicy question and medical science are addressed with a 21st century ring to it. This makes the book at places unbelievable. Yet the intrigue and changes in the main characters keeps you spellbound enough to listen through it.

As with "Pillars of the Earth" John Lee does an excellent job in narrating the story. I actually think that his narration has improved much since the previous book.

The book will not be everyone's cup of tea. For those who want to see a sequel to "Pillars of the Earth," this is it! Listen and enjoy it. However, if you're a bit of a purist of thoughts and practices of the time, this book might be found a bit much to stomach, Those who love good stories will enjoy it.

The book is strongly recommended to those who have fallen in love with story of "Pillars of the Earth." While not so good, its still a good book to listen.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Engaging, absorbing, difficult to turn off...

Ken Follett's epic 'sequel' to Pillars of the Earth is engaging, absorbing, magnificently structured and wonderfully read by John Lee.

The downside of not being able to stop listening is that the repetition (necessary perhaps in a novel of this length) is more glaring than it might be to a reader not listening for hours and hours at a time.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • mergra
  • WILLUNGA, Australia
  • 10-13-11

Nearly as good as Pillars

After listening to Pillars of the Earth (POE) I was avid to listen to this one. I think John Lee's narration is better in World Without End (WWE), his voice seemed more relaxed. I've read reviews of it elsewhere and these expressed a strong theme of the story being more like a soap opera, and objections to the frequent description of sex scenes, rape, violence etc. I can't say I agree with either of these criticisms, though I do agree that there is more of the latter in this book than in the previous one. There also seems to be more talking/scheming behind closed doors - I've interpreted this as a reflection of the changed times, after all, the book is set 200 years later and I'm sure that the level of fear about 'sinning' may have become more conscious, thus more verbalised than in POE. Further, the motivation toward accumulation of wealth and the justification for this (added to the growing distrust for the church) would mean that the scheming/scamming could be less 'secret' than 200 years beforehand. Anyway, all criticisms aside, I loved this book, just as I loved the previous one and I highly recommend it - particularly to those who have an interest in medieval history - it brings the period alive. Follett has a very candid and realistic approach to human nature; if you like that approach then this is the book for you!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

Epic tale

Would you consider the audio edition of World Without End to be better than the print version?

I have never read the print version so unable to comment on a comparison.

What did you like best about this story?

Never a boring moment, fast paced.

Have you listened to any of John Lee’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Yes, John is a great performer, specially in this and Pillars of the Earth.

Any additional comments?

Do yourself a favour and listen to this and Pillars Of The Earth!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Heather
  • Winston Hills, Australia
  • 09-17-12

Loved it!

Would you consider the audio edition of World Without End to be better than the print version?

John Lee is amazing! He does all the accents without fail. I don't normally read or listen to this sort of book but Ken Follet just has such a gift for story telling. I now feel as if I have so much insight into WW1 and the people who lived in that time. He made it come alive.I will read everything else he's written now, especially read by John Lee.

Which scene was your favorite?

I loved the story about the Russian brothers

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I didn't want it to end.

Any additional comments?

Read it if you are interested in History.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Blake
  • Williamstown North, Australia
  • 07-16-12

A worthy sequel to Pillars

You need to read Pillars of the Earth first. This sequel then starts a few hundred years after the end of Pillars and makes references to the characters and events in Pillars. The story however stands up on its own, and is a thrilling read from start to finish, just like the original.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Steve
  • Metung, Australia
  • 03-17-12

a totally riveting story

An audio book you can totally get immersed in, story great, narration great and you really feel as though you you are in the 14th century. This is the second in a series but you don't need to read the first to enjoy this.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Eleanor
  • Sydney, Australia
  • 02-27-12

Wonderful book

The story was breathtaking in its scope. Kept you wanting more...and thankfully it was a lovely long book. But even so I did not want it to end. Makes you want to read more about this period of history, and also more from Ken Follett - highly recommended

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

Excellent, but...

This book was another great novel about the lives and intrigues of the folk from Kingsbridge. The characters show good development and motivation, the plot moves along smoothly with some good climax scenes. I particularly like the description of the plague and the symptoms and effects thereof.

The Narration was outstanding and added to the story.

But now comes the "but". If you have read the first Kingsbridge saga pillars of the earth, then this story and especially the characters will seem all too familiar. They are almost exact copies of the characters in the first book. Their struggles (although the specific story elements might be different) are those of the first book. The evil knight / Earl. The conniving clergyman, the talented builder, the strong woman. These are all the same. I would have liked to see other roles / inner conflict for these characters.

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  • Overall
  • sally
  • 07-23-11

Great for long journeys

I have read Pillars and thought why not, I spend a lot of time driving and Pillars was enjoyable. Ken certainly knows how to tell a great tale and cleverly turns every day events from the past into a fascinating tale of both ordinary and not so people into a great story. The bits that annoyed were often around how he seems to translate the thoughts and ideas and words of the 21st century mind and presented them as if they would have been the usual beliefs for people who lived in medieval times. along with this the first four parts had numerous graphic sexual scenes, I thought much of them over dominated the story and unessacary. It was intersting that as the book progressed the detail of such incidents became less dominant but the story remained completely in tact. My other concern is how Ken's characters always seem to have siblings who are so different from them that it is difficult to understand how so many characters can be related to such heinus brothers or sisters, that did t times become far fetched. Apart from these issues that at times really iritated me I completely enjoyed the book, it was not easy to work out what would happen next so many surprises awaited. I learned much from the detail around the everyday life of the era. I wonder if another saga of Kingsbridge is about to be released.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • bex4ad
  • 03-15-11

Bereaved when it ended

This story has taken over my life. I listen to it in the car, when I'm running and when I'm cooking.

It was just as good as the first book and I got totally wrapped up in it. Nice to not get wrist strain from the paperback. Desperately seeking something to replace now - a big task!

I highly recommend this book. Very exciting and engaging.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • James Hey
  • 04-11-11

Well, well, well

Well written

Well read

Well Done!

I don't know how this book could have been better. It was a long haul, but I was still sad to see it end. This is literally like a roller-coaster, you will NEVER be bored, and the longer the better.
There was a slight imbalance between the four initial characters, with two of them receiving more prominence than the others, but that worked well, as the tale wieved and bobbed around them.

I have no regrets on spending a credit on this book, and I am sure you will feel the same.
Literally no faults whatsoever!

BUY IT!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Charles
  • 02-05-11

Great Book - Beautifully narrated

A really enjoyable book, made even more superb by John Lee's fabulous engaging and faultless reading - brilliant!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Isabella
  • 04-07-13

Too much like pillars

This is a catchy story with very convincing characters and interesting turn arounds, just like its predecessor, Pillars of the Earth. In fact, that is the biggest problem of it. There are so many obvious parallels between the two stories and characters that it becomes predictable. It may be nice to read on its own, but not as a sequel. But, then if you are to choose between the pillars and this one, I would certainly recommend the pillars. And then again, what is the point of this book anyway? One thing has to be said: John lee is fantastic narrator.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • WMD1963
  • 11-26-12

Spellbinding Read

I was transported into a whole new world. I really cared about the characters. It was totally absorbing

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Apollon
  • 02-21-11

An Emotional Epic Journey

I loved The Pillars of the Earth and put World Without End off as I could not see how that great book could be matched.
I was wrong.
World Without End keeps the PotE style of writing, but the plotting seems more heavier, more dramatic, more everything really, which some will like and some may not.
OMG, these poor character really do suffer through the story and the reader that inevitability gets attached to the characters, suffer with that agony as well.
Ken Follet may seem to be nasty with the misery that he puts his Characters (and readers) through, but do not let this put you off the book. All Metal in a forge gets stronger through fire and beating of a hammer and the characters in WWE do get stronger through their baptisms of fire.
This is a adult book with adult themes which may shock, but at the same time seem to fit the time period that this grate story is set.

World Without End is a well written period book, with awesome characters, and many many plots with in plots, woven into a classic piece of literature. Like PotE this book will be adapted for Film/TV. (I would put money on that.)

...oh yes the narrator is fantastic. Thank you MR Lee.

15 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Sara
  • 08-03-11

'Gripping'

Downloaded this to keep me company while I dectorated 2 bedrooms on my own. I had really enjoyed reading (and watching) 'Pillars of the Earth' and this is set 200 years later in Kingsbridge Cathedral. I thoroughly enjoyed it even to the point of listening to it when I went to bed, which is somethiing I never do. The narrator is excellent, giving every character a voice but not overdoing it.
Highly recommended.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Lindsay Kay Caddy
  • 03-12-12

Pillars of the Earth the re-mix but thats not bad

I read and loved Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett and so thought I would give World Without End a go as well. I also loved World Without End but it is very similar to Pillars. What Ken Follett has done is to take the characters, themes and locations of Pillars of the Earth and mixed them about a bit to create World Without End. That is not necessarily a bad thing as Pillars was a brilliant book and therefore World Without End is also excellent and it does have some differences such as the plague which are interesting. Another nice difference to Pillars is there is a lot fewer sex and rape scenes which meant strangers on the tube weren't throwing me worried glances over my facial expression. I would definitely recommend reading it, it does reference the characters and events of Pillars in it but you don't have to have read Pillars to understand it. A very comforting book and you feel you really get to know the characters.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Mark
  • 03-05-15

Good story but anti-Christian

What did you like best about World Without End? What did you like least?

Good story with obviously 'good' and 'bad' characters and plenty to keep your interest - but was it really necessary for it to be so anti Christian? I'm in between agnostic and a believer in a creator myself, but appreciate the good things that the church has tried to do for the world but you wouldn't think it from this book. Every Christian character is either rotten or doesn't even really believe in what they are saying - so in part the book is propaganda with a purpose. I look forward to Follet demolishing the Islamic church in another book.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

Less obviously anti-Christian

What does John Lee bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

He does a very good job with it.

Did World Without End inspire you to do anything?

Appreciate the church more and how Christianity has at least tried to help people lead good lives.<br/>You can see that without hope (when the plague comes) people descend into anarchy and decadence - does the church help to keep that in check? Will we (and Follet) miss it when it's gone?

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Michelle
  • 06-29-17

A wonderful follow up

I went into this book with some hesitation having read pillars of the earth several times. I loved it. I found the main characters very captivating and couldn't wait to see what happened to them .

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Milton
  • 05-17-17

Stunning

love how long the book goes for and the constant tussle the characters are involved in.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jennifereccles
  • 11-27-17

fantastic read

hard to put down, well read, great author, fascinating detail about English history. well done.

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  • Ian
  • 11-24-17

excellent.

As good as Pillars of the earth in all aspects. The characters were especially strong and really made the story ring like a bell

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  • Deborah
  • 11-10-17

So good! Mix of history, ambition and undying love

A continuation the an epic journey through history and an optimistic portrail of what a truly good person can do.... And, of course, the opposite.

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  • Michael
  • 11-01-17

Enthralling story ...wonderfully told

John Lee excels once more in this captivating story. Fantastically constructed and throughly enjoyable storyline.

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  • Jake
  • 10-15-17

Brilliant.

Ken Follett does a great job of making you feel uneasy all the way through. I feel like I've just lived a lifetime in another person's shoes and am exhausted! Very intelligent and well written book.

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  • rodney
  • 08-14-17

what a story!

Wonderfully written, beautifully narrated, I couldn't ask for anything more in a book! I recommend this audio book to my friends.

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  • Christine
  • 07-26-17

Great story

Just loved the 2nd book of this series. I am hoping there is a third. thoroughly recommend it.

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  • Jasmine
  • 03-05-17

love it. addictive!

loved it so much, typical follett. gripping. passionate and enraging. beautiful story, had me crying. laughing and swearing!