Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
especially welcome to extensive readers

Friday, October 26, 2007

Ken Follett's World Without End is a book that you never want to end

The year is 1327 and in the cathredral town of Kingsbridge,four children slip away from the All Hallows Eve festivities and find each other in the forbidden forest;two brothers,Merthin and Ralph,whose father is seeking to keep his lands and noble status,Caris,daughter of wool dealer Edmund who is too smart for her own good and Gwenda,who has just been tapped by her father to be the pauper family's pickpocket.

While in the woods,the four of them become unwilling witnesses to an attack on a knight bearing a secret document. The knight Thomas survives,despite his wounds,thanks to Merthin who becomes his secret keeper. Thomas buries the document and has Merthin swear not to reveal it's location until after Thomas' death.

Many years later,the foursome are still connected to one another. Merthin has become a builder,altho not allowed to join the guild due to his refusal to marry the daughter of his mentor who falsely claims that she is about to have his child. His brother Ralph is struggling to become a knight after many years of service as a squire for Earl Roland,the man who stripped his family of what land and title they once held. Caris is determined to help keep her father's struggling business afloat and still find a way to study medicine,a priviledge granted only to men. Gwenda's family is still poor but she pins her hopes and dreams on Wulfric,a simple man who is in love with Annet,the flirtatious daughter of a local landowner.

Their fates(and those of many others)literally collide when the town bridge collapses during the end of the annual Fleece Fair,with many casualities and unexpected opportunities resulting from the tragic event. Some find means of quick advancement,while others hope to make a new life for themselves thru rebuilding the bridge and a few take advantage of the disaster to play sinister strategy games to claim power within the ranks of the cathredral's society of monks.

World Without End is Ken Follett's follow-up to his 1989 historical saga,Pillars of the Earth, and it is just as absorbing and compellingly page turning as it's predecessor was,and perhaps a bit more so. You won't be lost on any of the references here if you haven't read the earlier novel and will no doubt be eager to discover the origins of many of the pivotal families in WWOE.

For those of us who have enjoyed Pillars of the Earth,this book gives you the perfect excuse to not only reread the first part but to happily indulge in the sweeping saga that Follett has presented before us,like a grand feast that has been prepared with skill and love. World Without End is paced like a classic epic film,rich with characterization and period lore yet never lagging when it comes to moving the plotlines forward. You have to force yourself away from the pages to get anything else done in the day,that's how alluring Follett's world is.

So,if you are already bored with this year's crop of new TV shows or find your regular ones lacking in style,I have the sure solution for that problem. Just get yourself a copy of World Without End and spend your nights engrossed in one of the best dramas around. It's like having a bottomless bowl of your favorite chips-you can't read just one page without wanting more. Think of it as the ultimate DVD set of a great series,with characters that you love,hate and anxiously hope for their fates to bring them what each truly deserves. Thank you,Mr. Follett,for giving us such a thoughtful gift of gab.


jeffro said...

I absolutely agree that World Without End is even more compelling than Pillars of the Earth. & that's saying alot. I thought Prior Phillip was one of the all-time great protagonist. Now that I've been introduced to Caris I think the role is hers. Not to spoil, but the descriptions of the attitude & behavior of the townspeople after the plague has set in is truly creepy & truly unforgettable. World Without End is a masterpiece.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't put it down! The way Follett intertwines the lives of the main characters is amazing. I agree that WWOE is better than "Pillars". Follett's portrayal of the hypocrisy of the monks and Priors who lead them is fantastic!

ATLiens073 said...

I felt World without end was a let down compared to the Pillars of the Earth. I expected more from Ken Follett considering how long it took him to come up with a sequel. The plot twists are shallow and the main plot regarding Thomas' secret doesn't really play out till the end of the book, making it a weak consistent plot throughout. I, however, did like his depiction of the black plague across Europe and his depiction of the ravages of warfare. Also, the characters are strong and are the saving grace of the novel.

David Squyres said...

I love this book! I'm reading it via CD in my car. Gas prices are through the roof... but I keep finding "reasons" to go for a drive so I can listen to WWOE.

However, I must disagree. I loved Philips moral center and total trust in God. I don't think he can be beat, even by Caris. But, I'm still reading, so. . .

Anonymous said...

*congratulations to the website owner*

Although I also think that Thomas' secret was deception, the book is by far one of the best I've ever read (and this includes a great lot). I'd never thought I'd learn so much from 1014 pages and become so tangled as well. Middle Ages' life is fascinating and so is the novel.

Greetings from Brazil

Unknown said...

I am so in love with this book right now... just out of curiosity-
did anyone else like Ralph or am I comlpletely nuts?

Unknown said...

Both Pillars and WWOE are masterpieces. I am halfway through WWOE right now and am already very sad that this adventure is coming to an end.

Any suggestions of further reading if I was in love with these 2?

Tashinka said...

i absolutely love this book, but I'm a little disappointed with the cast in the WWOE coming movie, especially with the casting of Gwenda, it says she is ugly in the book, and the actress is beautiful, ma-by im wrong but i find it makes a difference, and makes the character shallower.

David, if u liked these two books, you would LOVE "Cathedral of the Sea" by Ildefonso Falcones, it is breathtaking and i found it even better then these 2 books :)