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World Without End Paperback – Unabridged, 3 Oct 2008


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Product details

  • Paperback: 1248 pages
  • Publisher: Pan; Unabridged edition (3 Oct 2008)
  • Language: French
  • ISBN-10: 0330490702
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330490702
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 5.6 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (588 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 58,114 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ken Follett was only twenty-seven when he wrote the award-winning EYE OF THE NEEDLE, which became an international bestseller. His celebrated PILLARS OF THE EARTH was voted into the top 100 of Britain's best-loved books in the BBC's the Big Read and the sequel, WORLD WITHOUT END, was published to critical acclaim. He lives with his family in London and Hertfordshire.

Product Description

Review

'Fans of Follett's no-frills style and pacy way with narrative will devour this.' -- Christina Koning, The Times

'an ungainly doorstopper of a book, but gives a real sense of life in a medieval cathedral city'
-- Sunday Telegraph Magazine

Review

'Fans of Follett's no-frills style and pacy way with narrative will devour this.'

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

309 of 315 people found the following review helpful By BookWorm TOP 500 REVIEWER on 14 Nov 2007
Format: Hardcover
In the same vein as, and equal in excellence to, its prequel 'The Pillars of the Earth' (which was voted into the top 100 of Britain's favourite books), 'World Without End' is a historical epic centred around the lives of a varied group of characters living in a mediaeval town.

Weighing in at 1111 modestly printed pages (the hardback edition), 'epic' is a well earned description. Yet the novel is gripping and engrossing from the first chapter and remains so thoughout. It is a testimony to Ken Follett's writing that despite its size, it doesn't feel like a long book. It's the correct length, the length it needs to be to tell the story, and there is no waffle, padding or wasted words.

The story is set in the same town as 'Pillars of the Earth' but takes place 200 years later, so could be enjoyed without having read the former (there are couple of very mild spoilers, but nothing too revealing). Of course, all of the original characters are long dead, although some of the principal characters are descended from them and their acheivements are occasionally referred to.

Beginning in 1327, the four major characters are children who witness a mysterious murder in the forest. It follows them through their lives, ending in 1361. A diverse group, through these characters Follett is able to cover many aspects of 14th century life. One becomes a knight, another is a builder (picking up on the principal theme of the prequel), the third enters the church and the fourth is a peasant. They are supported by a varied and vividly drawn cast of secondary characters; scheming monks, corrupt noblemen, merchants and peasants struggling to make their way in the world.
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132 of 136 people found the following review helpful By Lawyeraau HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 24 Feb 2008
Format: Hardcover
Having read and loved the author's epic saga, "Pillars of the Earth", a novel about the building of a cathedral in the town of Kingsbridge in twelfth century England, I very much looked forward to reading this book. I was not disappointed. This is a masterful saga of life in fourteenth century England, and the author weaves a rich and colorful tapestry of people, places, and events in the medieval town of Kingsbridge, where a magnificent cathedral now stands.

There are a number of rich and colorful characters that drive the story, and the age old battle between good and evil plays itself out through them. Spanning a period of thirty-four turbulent years, this is a spellbinding story of love, hate, betrayal, revenge, and triumph. Moreover, the Black Plague has reared its ugly head, and England will never be the same. New ideas are germinating on the horizon, coming into conflict with the settled way of doing things, and the town and people of Kingsbridge are in a state of flux.

Although the novel is a lengthy one, the reader will be unable to put the book down, so engaging and absorbing is the story. Those who are partial to the historical fiction genre will very much enjoy this book.
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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Neil Holliday on 7 Dec 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book makes a good sequel to the marvellous 'Pillars of the Earth', without the nessecity of reading 'Pillars' first. As a small warning, I would add that if you don't like Ken Follett, or found Pillars over long, this book is more of the same, but for me, that was part of the pleasure, and I wish the book were longer. Interesting weave of tales around the historical events of the period, and a read that keeps you turning pages, too fast in my case.
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160 of 168 people found the following review helpful By Gordon Eldridge on 18 Dec 2007
Format: Hardcover
Many novels are slow to start as they lay the foundations for what is to come later, but right from the opening pages this novel is likely to suck you in and make you not want to put it down. The novel is set in a 14th Century town and the surrounding villages. Though it is a sequel to a previous novel, the setting is quite a bit later in time and it is not at all necessary to have read the earlier book in order to be able to enjoy this one. The novel is brimming with fascinating intrigue and torrid love affairs. Novels of this kind set in the present can often descend to the level of a mere soap opera and become uninteresting. Here the power relationships inherent in the medieval setting make the Machiavellian conniving of the characters engaging and at times thought-provoking. We see the power of nobles over their serfs, the power of the King over his nobles, the power of the Church over the people and the power of men over women, all explored through a truly captivating plot. The novel is peopled with characters some of whom we despise and others whom we feel total empathy with. Some of the characters accept the status quo of medieval life and others buck the system from start to finish. Unavoidably, in a story powered by this kind of intrigue, the complications in the plot are occasionally solved in a way that is somewhat contrived. The strength of this novel is that the solutions are always remarkably creative and the author never cheats by introducing unrealistic or previously unknown elements into the story. More than this, however, the solutions are always totally believable given the natures of the compelling characters Follett has created. A great read.
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