Read World Without End by Ken Follett Free Online
Book Title: World Without End|
Date of issue: October 4th 2007
ISBN 13: 9781405090568
The author of the book: Ken Follett
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 2.40 MB
Edition: MacMillan Audio
Read full description of the books World Without End:Put some towels down because I sense a fully formed gush geyser about to spill all over this review. This book was fantastic and really did it for me. I loved it, all 1000+ pages, and I wouldn’t have minded if it was considerably longer (TWSS).
After more than loving The Pillars of the Earth (that’s right, I lurved it), I had tall hopes for this sorta sequel and let me tell you it was more than up to the task.
I was parched and hungry for a good meaty read. Well consider me gorged and my story thirst completely slaked.
Now before I continue operation lick-spittle on Mr. Follett for his 2nd delightfully voluptuous epic, let me shine some context on this review so it will better help you decide whether this book is right for you:
1. As I mentioned above, I thought The Pillars of the Earth was pure, uncut awesome I my satisfaction gauge red-lined while I was reading it. If you had similar feelings for Pillars, than World Without End is going to make you happier than…
Alternatively, if (heaven forbid) you thought Pillars was a Meh-filled bore fest or it just didn’t push your joy buzzer, I see no reason why this book will be any different as the books are almost identical in tone and structure. Thus, you might look want to go elsewhere.
2. Assuming you haven’t read Pillars (which is certainly not a prerequisite for this book), if you get through the first 100 pages or so and find yourself anxious for “something” to happen, again this may not be your kind of book. In my opinion, the book should grab you roughly and carry you away and if that doesn’t happen or if you find yourself disconnected from the characters, then this could be a real slog for you.
3. I listened to the unabridged audiobook (all 45+ hours of it) read by the incomparable John Lee (who also narrated Pillars). John’s narration is masterful and definitely enhanced my happy with the story. I don’t know if I would have had quite the level of appreciation, but for John’s involvement. If you are a fan of audio books, I would highly recommend this one (or anything else read by John Lee).
Okay, I just wanted to get that out there, because the rest of the review is pretty much a Ken Follett, fanBOYatic extravaganza…so let the man-crushing begin:
This story is prodigious, sprawling and more addictive than caramel-covered crack. This is big, bad historical soap opera at its full on finest complete with everything that makes a great period piece: politics, intrigue, alliances, betrayals, fortunes won and lost, life-long grudges, loves, jealousies, deaths, plot-twists, unspeakable crimes (e.g., rapes, murders, etc.), conflict between major powers, reformers versus status quo, good vs. evil and a mysterious letter the contents of which could shake the foundations of the Monarchy itself.
Set approximately 200 years after the events of The Pillars of the Earth in the same fictional town of Kingsbridge, England, this story is set against the backdrop of, and incorporates into its narrative, the beginning of the Hundred Years War and the outbreak and spread of the Black Plague. These events intersect with the lives of the inhabitants of Kingsbridge in significant ways and Follett does an amazing job painting a credible and highly entertaining portrait of life during the period.
Follett introduces and weaves into his vast tapestry dozens of well-drawn, intriguing figures who each play a critical role in the outcome of the epic. However, the narrative flow centers primarily on the lives of four key people. The first of these is Caris, a strong, intelligent, enlightened woman who is the primary proponent for change in Kingsbridge and the main enemy of the old guard “status quo” represented by the Kingsbridge monastery and Prior Godwyn. Caris strongly desires to be a healer and treat the sick at a time when only men may be physicians and the remedies supported by the Church are as bad as the illnesses they seek to cure. Caris is out to change that.
Merthin is a smart, extremely talented architect whose innovative and radical designs are instrumental throughout the story. Merthin and Caris are deeply in love but events and their own personal integrity constantly conspire to keep them apart. Next is Gwenda who is a favorite character of mine. Gwenda suffers more unimaginable heartache and grief than any other character in the story and yet remains unbowed by what life throws at her. Sold by her destitute father for a cow (yes, a cow), Gwenda finds herself on her own early in life and ends up thriving through her wits and huge reserves of inner strength. She goes through some horrendous events as part of the story.
Finally, we have Ralph, Merthin’s younger, stronger brother and main (though by no means only) villain of the story. A rapist, a sadist and a murderer, Ralph is as devoid of empathy as it is possible to be. He is the Lord of Scumbaggery and the epitome of callousness and abject cruelty. Some of the things he does throughout the story are truly shocking and get worse as he gains more and more influence.
On a side note…how cool is it to have a main nemesis named….RALPH.
Joining the above is a stellar cast of supporting characters that all engaging and complex. Follett has a real knack for showing us villains through there own eyes and making them seem more human…and thus all the more evil.
As for the writing itself, Follett really gets the hat tip from me on this point. Not for its poetry or majestic beauty though I thought his prose was excellent. Rather for its incredibly engaging, breezy readability. Despite being over 1000 pages long and having almost the whole story take place in a single small town, I was hooked from the very beginning and never had a moment in which my attention wanted to stray.
Follett’s prose is like a strong but gentle current that just picks you up and carries you through the story until you eventually reach the end and realize how very far you’ve traveled. It was a greatly impressive feat.
World Without End is sublimely entertaining and I have rarely been this completely snatched and cloistered inside its narrative as I was from the very outset of this. I don’t know that I liked this quite as much as The Pillars of the Earth, but that’s trying to discern gnat crap from pepper and is due completely to the fact that I read Pillars first. Given how similarly both books are structured it makes sense that this one wouldn’t feel as fresh and new.
That said, Mr. Follett…PLEASE don’t go messing with the formula because it is working like a charm. This is quintessential story-telling and a masterful piece of historical fiction.
5.0 stars. HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION.
Read information about the authorKen Follett is one of the world’s most successful authors. Over 160 million copies of the 31 books he has written have been sold in over 80 countries and in 33 languages.
Born on June 5, 1949, in Cardiff, Wales, the son of a tax inspector, Ken was educated at state schools and went on to graduate from University College, London, with an Honours degree in philosophy. He was made a fellow of the college in 1995.
He started his career as a reporter, first with his hometown newspaper, the South Wales Echo, and then with the London Evening News. Subsequently, he worked for a small London publishing house, Everest Books, eventually becoming the deputy managing director.
Ken’s last project, the Century Trilogy, has sold 19.5 million copies worldwide. The three books tell the story of the twentieth century through five generations on three continents. Ken’s first major success came with the publication of Eye of the Needle in 1978. A World War II thriller set in England, this book earned him the 1979 Edgar Award for Best Novel from the Mystery Writers of America. It remains one of his most popular books.
In 1989, Ken’s epic novel about the building of a medieval cathedral, The Pillars of the Earth, was published. It reached number one on bestseller lists everywhere and was turned into a major television series produced by Ridley Scott, which aired in 2010. The next book in the Kingsbridge series, World Without End, the sequel to The Pillars of the Earth, proved equally popular when it was published in 2007. The Kingsbridge series has sold 38 million copies worldwide.
Ken has been active in numerous literacy charities and was the president of Dyslexia Action for ten years. He was the chair of the National Year of Reading, a joint initiative between government and businesses. He is also active in many Stevenage charities and is the president of the Stevenage Community Trust. Ken also set up The Follett Trust, which awards single donations to the arts and in cases of social deprivation and education.
Ken, who loves music almost as much as he loves books, is an enthusiastic bass guitar player in two bands. He lives in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, England, with his wife, Barbara, the former Labour member of Parliament for Stevenage. Between them they have five children, six grandchildren, and three Labradors.
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