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World Without End
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World Without End

4.2 1212
by Ken Follett
 

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#1 New York Times Bestseller

In 1989, Ken Follett astonished the literary world with The Pillars of the Earth, a sweeping epic novel set in twelfth-century England centered on the building of a cathedral and many of the hundreds of lives it affected. Critics were overwhelmed—“it will hold you, fascinate you, surround

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World Without End 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1211 reviews.
chakosh More than 1 year ago
First off, Pillars of the Earth is one of my all-time favorite books. I loved the politics and intrigue in that book. Expecting big things from a sequel that took over a decade to complete, I was hoping Follett would have the same types of subject matter. This book follows descendants of the main characters of Pillars, focusing mostly on Merthin the builder and his brother Ralph. The book focuses more on graphic descriptions of sex, rape, and battles rather than the interesting politics and architecture of the times like Pillars. The plot twists are fairly predictable, and Follett really makes this a Job-like story of Merthin and Caris. That would be fine if he stopped after "twist" number 3, but continuously bringing in "challenges" for the main characters gets old after a while. When a character started getting uninteresting, Follett had the foresight to set his novel in the 1300s and would kill them off using the Black Plague. Considering the book is over 1000 pages, I was really expecting him to go into detail the bridge architecture that his character envisions, or the tower, or the hospitals, or the palaces... He has the characters spend time in France and Italy, and barely even describes any of the architecture or lifestyle in those countries (conveniently one of the characters is bedridden in Italy, and there is plague and war in France). Instead, he focuses more on unrequited love, unimaginatively evil villains, an excessive number of graphic descriptions of sex and rape, and teenager-like descriptions of battles. Characters are a pretty shallow - the heroes are obnoxiously saintly, and the villains are blatantly manipulative and evil. It's difficult to care much about the characters when they're so polarized. Plot is pretty basic - boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love, plot twist 1, plague/war (plot twists 2-5), boy loses and regains girl and loses and regains girl, bad guys do bad things (big surprise - plot twists 6-12), everyone's happy, plot twist 13, plot from beginning of book is explained really quickly at the end. All in all, I had high expectations for this book and was pretty disappointed when it turned into a pretty basic "good vs. evil" action/sex book. He certainly didn't need to make it 1000 pages long if that's what his aim was...
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read The Pillars of the Earth but surely don't remember it (I forget most of the books I read). I bought World Without End because I read everything by Ken Follett. When I saw how big it was 'over 1000 pages' I kept putting off reading it. I finally decided to take the plunge. This book was fantastic. I couldn't get enough of the characters. I cared about them, and loved some and hated others. I never wanted the book to end.
ReadingQueen12-17 More than 1 year ago
There is nothing I like more then finding a book I can really sink my teeth into. I love it when a book is so good I find myself thinking about it when I'm not reading it. I love when a book is an easy read not because the content is frivalous, but the writing is fluid and well paced. I love books that have epic story lines and diverse characters. I love historical fiction that is well researched but not "preachy". As a relatively slow reader, I love being able to read 100+ pages in one go without batting an eye. I love this book because it provides all these things.
If you're looking for a book with emotional depth and contemplative prose, move along.
If you're looking to invest yourself in a long and thrilling tale, look no further.
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Suggested With: An oversized chair and a tankard of ale. ;)
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wicked and heavenly. This novel is frosted with every element of powerful story telling. All one thousand pages. But don't be intimidated by the length. The book is chalk full of everything entertainingly medieval. In the small village of Kingsbridge you'll find the ultimate bad boys, Ralph and Godwyn, whom you'll love to hate, down to the ultra sweet Caris, falsely accused of witchcraft and forced to join a nunnery and leave her beloved Merthin behind. There is also the spunky and wise Gwenda to admire. She a peasant and friend of Caris, sold by her own father into prostitution for nothing more than a milk cow. Her only desire is to have some land and marry, Wulfric,the man she loves who just happens to love someone else. Follett slips you inside the mysterious world of nunneries and priory's where you'll find more sinners than saints. Outside to the colorful yet sad world of peasants, knights, lords and ladies. You'll discover how the plague wrenches the town inside out. Strange times, even stranger behavior. The Godly turn into saints, the wicked into complete devils. Do Caris and Gwenda get their dreams? Will the disturbing behavior of Ralph and Godwyn go unpunished? Can the town survive the plague? You'll have to buy the book to find out. Be ready for a mystical ride you won't soon forget! Dorraine Darden, Author of novel, Jack Rabbit Moon
Nettie More than 1 year ago
I couldn't put this book down, and it was so heavy I could hardly hold it up, but it was worth the pain. Yes there were many similarities to "The Pillars of the Earth," but you become so invested in the lives of the people in both books you really do not want them to end. The research and imagination that went into both books is phenominal. I'm sorry you cannot write about just one. They are a pair. I wish they were quadruplets. I feel like a moron even trying to review this book. Who am I to review this? All I know is that I enjoyed every minute of the time it took to read this book. It was finished much too soon and I thank Mr. Follett for writing such a wonderful story, for so many wonderful stories. I highly recommend this book, I have recommended it to many people. They have all thanked me for the recommendation. It has provoked many discussions. I don't understand how anyone could give this less than five stars. Thank you for the opportunity to put in my two cents.
DD41 More than 1 year ago
I ordered this book after completing Pillars of the Earth. I put off starting it because of the let down feeling I knew would come upon finishing. What could I possibly read to compare with this work of art? I finished it a couple of days ago and immediatly checked the Internet to see if there was another book in the works. No such luck. Come on Mr. Follett, it's been two years since this was written. You owe it to your fans not to stop there. I realize this takes a tremendous amount of research to write about this era, but you make it so mesmerizing and easy to follow. I have never lost so much sleep by reading far into the night, but would do it again as soon as your next book comes out. Thank you, thank you! Barbara Briggs Nampa ID
JBlaszko More than 1 year ago
Ken Follett has wriiten another super historicqal fiction in WORLD WITHOUT END. The main characters are brought to live vivitly in the first few paragraphs and you are taken back in time. To old England, the live and time are done very well, in graphic detail weaving a wonderful story of a Builder, a Knight, a Peasent and a woman merchant. I love the way Follett intersects all there lives with the main Church and the Priests and Nuns, the daily life of the time and the horrors that have shown as a people we have grown. I have read his past book, PILLARS OF THE EARTH and was hoping for the same caliber in this book. My hope fulfilled, WORLD is just a delicious as PILLARS. I like Follets writting so much that I have put him on my list of Authors aother books to read.
ACADIAN More than 1 year ago
this was a very wouderful book to read.though longer than pillers of the earth this has made me a bigger ken follett fan
Guest More than 1 year ago
Like the first book, Pillars of the Earth, this has a narrative packed with nonstop excitement and suspense. Set two hundred years after the first novel, it continues the story of the English town of Kingsbridge, in the late Middle Ages. Ken Follett delights us with vivid characterizations and has the reader rooting for the good guys. Some readers may be disconcerted by the contemporary dialogue - there isn't a 'mayhap' or a 'with child' to be found. Instead a character will say, 'Maybe she's pregnant.' Occasionally it goes a bit over the top. I doubt we would really hear any medieval individual accuse another with, 'She has constructed a fragile defense around her self-esteem, and you just tear it down.' But the author can be forgiven a small lapse here and there! Don't be put off by the 1,000+ pages, as the story flies by. Now, Mr. Follett, how about fast-forwarding another 200 years in your next novel, so we can find out what's going on in Kingsbridge during the Tudor era?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After reading Pillars of the Earth it is fair to say that I had very high expectations of Follett. I simply didn't want Pillars to end! So when I came across this sequel I snatched it up and began to read it immediately following Pillars. That was a mistake. Let me explain. I had fallen hopelessly in love with all of the characters of Pillars. I hoped they would be in this book and while their great-grandchildren are, the original cast is not. To jump forward 200 years messed with the flow for me. Preferably, I would have liked World Without End to pick up with the children of the main characters in Pillars. I found myself having to write a family tree of who in this book was related to whom in the first book. That was OK. But then the book just couldn't stack up to Pillars though it did come close enough that I would buy it again. I found the characters again either likeable or loathesome; it was not in the same distinct way. Each of the charactes in Pillars had very distinct personalities and made each character in WWE seem like a diluted version of their ancestors. I do appreciate how Follett can keep an entire village intertwined all at once weaving each of their stories into one another soap-opera style. He certainly has greatness within him as he proved in Pillars. Had I read World Without End first I probably would have loved it completely, though I wouldn't have understood some things, but it still fell slightly short, as sequels often do, of Pillars. I give Pillars an overall 5 and WWE an overall 4.
MommyOfMunch More than 1 year ago
At over one thousand pages, this sequel to Pillars of The Earth can seem quite daunting. Don't let the length put you off, I guarantee you'll hardly notice. The author keeps the book moving. Some reviews said that it was slow in parts, and I for one wondered where these parts were. It's an elaborate and interesting story revolving around the lives of four main characters, two female, two male. They live in hard times (fourteenth century) and life is constantly throwing them curveballs. Few books upset me the way this one did. Their lives are just so brutal! I would sit and stare at the book on the couch, knowing that their lives continued even as I avoided reading it, only because it moved me so much. I loved it and highly recommend it. I recommend it to family and friends all the time, and it is a permanent fixture on my bookshelf.
GigiKN More than 1 year ago
Ken Follet is one of my favorite writers. I read almost all of his book. World without end is a sequel for the The Pillars of The Earth. I absolutely recommend this book to any one who likes a really great story with characters that we won't want to forget. Sometimes I was wondering how Ken can think of so many twists and turns to write in his story. But he did. He manages to surprise me every time. Don't spoil your story by reading this book before you get a chance to read the first book. Make sure you finish all of your homework or house chores as you will not want to put it down. I must finish all of Ken's novel at one sitting. I read it all through the night. Highly recommended.
laurieb110 More than 1 year ago
Everyday you find yourself waiting to get to and wondering what is going on in Kingsbridge! I would find myself thinking, "I wonder what ___ doing today." or "I wonder if ___ and ___ are going to get married.". It is just a fascinating book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I started this book with great anticipation, but wound up disappointed. 1000 pages of soap opera was more than enough for me. Follett does a good job with period details, but the characters are one-dimensional and the plot too much of a soap opera.
Suzeebee More than 1 year ago
Just finished reading this today. It is quite lengthy (1014 pages), but worth the effort. If you loved "Pillars", you will love this one. The basic premise is the same as "Pillars", but the characters (200 years later) are different and of course, there are different circumstances at play. Ken Follett creates strong,believable characters, people you really want to root for and people you hate. He lets us know why they act as they do and the story line(s) are genuine. This story, is, I believe just the way things were in 14th century England where people did not live long, where life was hard for the serfs and peasants, and where the nobility enjoyed the good life. There is a lot to be learned from reading this book, and it is chocked full of historical and cultural material relative to the time (what they wore, what they ate, how their houses were built, how they worshipped, the role of the clergy, etc.). This is probably one more reason I loved the book, I tend to pick books based on historical material. All in all, if you like a really good story, easy to read yet detailed with characters that could be real, you will love this book. If you loved "Pillars", you will love this book. I could not wait to read it, and I was not disappointed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best books I have ever read. Absolutely thrilling. This is what you would call a page turner
rsamnai More than 1 year ago
Having read the Pillars of the Earth I was worried whether Ken Follet would be able to follow up the novel with anything better. However, he pulled it off. World Without End is one of my favorite books, the plot development as well as the connection created between the numerous characters within the book is ingenious. Though the book is without doubt not for younger readers due to some graphic sexual content, it is without doubt a must read at some point in life. Definitely something to put on the reading list if you want a book that you can read again and again and still never want to put it down.
QueenLola More than 1 year ago
I am an avid reader, and just fell in love with this book....I hated having to go to sleep, and often found myself waking up to read just one more chapter....My husband and I bought 2 copies and read it together as we often do....World Without End is still a favorite topic of discussion....I highly reccomend this book...Just get over the fact that you don't think you want to read about a church being built...It is soo much more than that! Trust me you will LOVE it & will be Sad when you are done!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Whether you read PILLARS OF THE EARTH or not, this book stands on its own. If you like to read about the harshness of the middle ages and about love, hate, greed, smart people, and stupid people, then you'll enjoy this book very much. Ken Follett is a master story teller. I can only hope that he will grace this world with another novel such as this and POTE.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Most of the nuns are portrayed as lesbians, the priests are either homosexual, filled with greed and lust for power or both. The nobility seem to be mostly power hungry sex addicts and child molesters who murder and rape in the most grotesque ways imaginable. The peasants seem to be a mixture of all the above with a few exceptions and are portrayed as extremely stupid. Good descriptions of the period and buildings and hardships of the times but poor historical reflection of the people, how they thought and their values and beliefs. I agree, the author took the ideas, beliefs and values of the 21st century and placed them in characters set in the 13th century. Not a well researched portrayal of what people thought, how they behaved or what their values were in the the 13th century. People did not think, act or view things in the same way we do today as this book wouls indicate.
DZupko More than 1 year ago
This is a sequal that didn't need to be done. I did not feel like I was "in" the time setting. Truthfully it felt like a totally different person wrote this book then Pillars. If you want a good historical novel set during plague times - see Plague Tales or Doomsday Book.
Hack More than 1 year ago
I often find that sequels do not live up to the first of a kind. However, World Without End is just as well written as Pillars of the Earth. Perhaps it was reading two long books in close proximity. I just enjoyed "Pillars" more. But "World" is an excellent read too.
jwalk1230 More than 1 year ago
I anxiously awaited reading Time Without End, having been a devoted fan of Pillars of the Earth for years. Terribly disappointing. Just as I had thought that Redemption, the sequel to another of my all-time favorites, Leon Uris' Trinity, was scraps from the editing room floor, this book seemed like a tired and bored Follett "mailing it in." And that's some feat for a book of this length. As fresh as Pillars seemed lo, these many years ago, Time feels equally stale.
DonnieluvsKoontz More than 1 year ago
wow. I have to admit I was skeptical. How can you sequel such a perfect original. My sister urged me on. From page one through the next three weeks I was a total hermit and would not put it down. Outstanding. You do not need to remember any details from the original for those that read Pillars so many years ago.
tpucin More than 1 year ago
I loved Pillars Of The Earth and I loved this. Follett does such a good job of creating characters that you quickly become invested in. You feel every triumph and tragedy. Along with great charactors, Follett brings 14th century England right to you. You feel the hardships, enjoy the festivities and shake you head at everyone's unflinching belief that God determined your lot in life, serf or knight; wealth or poverty, sickness or health. Historical fiction at its best, enjoy.