An appalling adaptation without nuance or believability. A real letdown after the adaptation of Pillars of the Earth. Concentrating on national events rather than local ones, it is riddled with historical inaccuracies from the date of the arrival of the bubonic plague to the role of Isabelle of France after Mortimer's trial and execution. Edward III was 15 in 1327! No attempt is made to age the characters over a quarter of a century. The casting of characters seems to have taken no account of different generations, so parents and children seem of a similar age. Characters' actions make little sense with all the characters divided into two camps: the saintly and the morally depraved. Nuanced characterization and moral ambiguity have been the hallmarks of recent major TV series, however, World Without End slides back into the childish moral certainties of 1950s Westerns.
Admittedly a huge book to get onto film, unfortunately what you get with the DVD has the only similarity of names and a very rough version of the plot. Characters are squashed into this 8 hour dramatisation, the story is twisted and pushed in all sorts of disjointed directions that have no bearing on the book. The story is mutated and changed, characters forged and distorted to fit the time allocated, the finale is unrecognisable.
Watch this without reading the book and be entertained, but don't expect this to be at all a dramatisation of World Without End.
I read the books, then watched the TV mini series. I have just read the books again and watched the series again all in anticipation of the long-awaited third book 'A Column of Fire' which has just been delivered.