Customer Review

160 of 168 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating medieval intrigue, 18 Dec 2007
This review is from: World Without End (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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