Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Book review: World Without End

Few books make me pine for a Kindle or other e-reader.  I like the feel of a book in my hand and, frankly, the smell of print on the page.  But at 1,113 pages my hardcover edition of Ken Follett’s World Without End made my wrists tired just trying to hold it up.

World Without End is the sequel to Follett’s best selling The Pillars of the Earth.

It’s an easy read. I enjoyed revisiting the town of Kingsbridge (two hundred years later) and following the adventures of the descendents of the original characters.

Here are a couple paragraphs from a review originally published in The Sydney Morning Herald.

In 1327, in a forest outside the cathedral city of Kingsbridge, two men are killed and a potentially devastating letter is hidden. Its contents would turn England upside down.

In World Without End, Ken Follett makes us wait for more than 1000 pages before the letter's secret is confided. This is historical fiction-making in the grand manner, although the novel is composed in an essentially conventional mode. Follett's book begins two centuries after The Pillars of the Earth (in which the building of the cathedral was related). Since this chronicle of the later Middle Ages encompasses the most terrible European century before the 20th - with strife, dearth, pestilence, the Hundred Years War and the Black Death - a very large cast of characters is assembled, for their attrition rate is bound to be high.

I enjoyed it very much and recommend it.  I’ll put it on my list at the Virtual Expat Lending Library.  Let me know if you would like to read it.  

I’m looking forward to reading a thinner, lighter title in the weeks to come.


Jana @ Paper plains said...

I can't wait to read this!!! Glad you liked it, I've missed Kingsbridge... when I read Pillars I had the most interesting dreams at night... heard they made a show based on the book that didn't do so well... ill stick to my imagination!

Jim said...

Jana - I discovered the TV mini series of Pillars online. I actually watched it while I was reading World Without End. (A little bit crazy making.) Naturally the movie was not as good as the book - but I liked it all the same.

Anonymous said...

This is the book I'm reading right now, but I'm reading it in Portuguese. More like slogging than reading, but it's still really good (and heavy).

And I spent the last two days watching the mini-series with my son. Considering the length of the story, I thought it was really well done. Nothing beats the book though.

SN said...

I just wanted to say that I loved these books and I secretly hope there is another one waiting to be published. As fast as I read, this book still lasted a couple weeks and I loved it!