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World Without End Paperback – Unabridged, 3 Oct 2008
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'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
'Fans of Follett's no-frills style and pacy way with narrative will devour this.'See all Product description
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At the heart of this tale is a secret document, which we do have revealed to us near the end, but those who know their history (and the rumours of the period) will already know what this regards with the death of Edward II, so to those this will be no revelation. Therefore this novel is set in the reign of Edward III, and some of the characters here do actually go to France, and thus we read of the likes of Crécy, and are reminded why British forces were so powerful with their formidable use of the longbow. Also of course we do travel to Shiring and the monks’ outpost in the forest, as well as even Florence.
With a host of characters, that are all brought fully to life this is a hard book to put down, despite its size, and we soon find ourselves fully caught up in the whole story. With machinations between the monks and nuns, there are lots of power plays that go on here, as well as those that also go on between the Church and the Town, where the merchants want a greater say and control over the town, and what they can do. With the cathedral suffering from building problems so one of the main characters here, Merthin, wants to create the highest spire in the kingdom as the pinnacle of his work. Also, there are differing opinions of the bridge that Merthin originally wants to build as the original one collapses.
With so many incidents going on here, we are also reminded of the devastation caused by the plague, and how little was known with regards to not only medicine, but also disease control. With issues arising such as what power women could hold, and lots of political manoeuvring, so the period is really brought to life. In all this makes for a book that is well worth reading and will keep you more than satisfied, with so much detail and thought going into it.
It was not an easy read, let alone writing this novel. I have to take my hats off this brilliant storyteller - Ken Follett. When I thought the story should end, another tragedy strikes. The villains in his books are always extremely cynical, notoriously badass and contemptuously immoral. Feeling the same injustice as I felt about the villains in the first Kingsbridge story, as I flipped the chapters, I often shout out: “why are they not dead yet?”
Maybe that’s what kept the story going. Keeping the readers wondering when that badass is going to meet his/her fate. And there is not just one... even the church elders are equally bad.
But the hero has always been a woman and a man. Is there a significant message about the correlation between masculine and feminine energies? The yin and yang balance to right the wrongs?
This book is difficult to read because of its size. But don’t get started on it, it will hook you, like chocolate, you’ll never get enough of it.
As I close this book, the characters and the ways they lived and toiled in the town which is governed by a religion still lingers... it will take me a few weeks to put the whole Kingsbridge to rest... And that’s how powerful a compelling read will do to avid readers like me.
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