5 reviews

World Without End
by Ken Follett

Published: 2007-10-09
Hardcover : 1024 pages
18 members reading this now
13 clubs reading this now
31 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 5 of 5 members
Ken Follett has 90 million readers worldwide. The Pillars of the Earth is his bestselling book of all time. Now, eighteen years after the publication of The Pillars of the Earth, Ken Follett has written the most-anticipated sequel of the year, World Without End.

In 1989 Ken Follett ...
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(Ken Follett has 90 million readers worldwide. The Pillars of the Earth is his bestselling book of all time. Now, eighteen years after the publication of The Pillars of the Earth, Ken Follett has written the most-anticipated sequel of the year, World Without End.

In 1989 Ken Follett astonished the literary world with The Pillars of the Earth, a sweeping epic novel set in twelfth-century England centered on the building of a cathedral and many of the hundreds of lives it affected. Critics were overwhelmed--"it will hold you, fascinate you, surround you" (Chicago Tribune)--and readers everywhere hoped for a sequel.

World Without End takes place in the same town of Kingsbridge, two centuries after the townspeople finished building the exquisite Gothic cathedral that was at the heart of The Pillars of the Earth. The cathedral and the priory are again at the center of a web of love and hate, greed and pride, ambition and revenge, but this sequel stands on its own. This time the men and women of an extraordinary cast of characters find themselves at a crossroad of new ideas--about medicine, commerce, architecture, and justice. In a world where proponents of the old ways fiercely battle those with progressive minds, the intrigue and tension quickly reach a boiling point against the devastating backdrop of the greatest natural disaster ever to strike the human race--the Black Death.

Three years in the writing, and nearly eighteen years since its predecessor, World Without End breathes new life into the epic historical novel and once again shows that Ken Follett is a masterful author writing at the top of his craft.

Questions for Ken Follett

Amazon.com: What a phenomenon The Pillars of the Earth has become. It was a bestseller when it was published in 1989, but it's only gained in popularity since then--it's the kind of book that people are incredibly passionate about. What has it been like to see it grow an audience like that?

Follett: At first I was a little disappointed that Pillars sold not much better than my previous book. Now I think that was because it was a little different and people were not sure how to take it. As the years went by and it became more and more popular, I felt kind of vindicated. And I was very grateful to readers who spread the news by word of mouth.

Amazon.com: Pillars was a departure for you from your very successful modern thrillers, and after writing it you returned to thrillers. Did you think you'd ever come back to the medieval period? What brought you to do so after 18 years?

Follett: The main reason was the way people talk to me about Pillars. Some readers say, "It's the best book I've ever read." Others tell me they have read it two or three times. I got to the point where I really had to find out whether I could do that again.

Amazon.com: In World Without End you return to Kingsbridge, the same town as the previous book, but two centuries later. What has changed in two hundred years?

Follett: In the time of Prior Philip, the monastery was a powerful force for good in medieval society, fostering education and technological advance. Two hundred years later it has become a wealthy and conservative institution that tries to hold back change. This leads to some of the major conflicts in the story.

Amazon.com: World Without End features two strong-willed female characters, Caris and Gwenda. What room to maneuver did a medieval English town provide for a woman of ambition?

Follett: Medieval people paid lip-service to the idea that women were inferior, but in practice women could be merchants, craftspeople, abbesses, and queens. There were restrictions, but strong women often found ways around them.

Amazon.com: When you sit down to imagine yourself into the 14th century, what is the greatest leap of imagination you have to make from our time to theirs? Is there something we can learn from that age that has been lost in our own time?

Follett: It's hard to imagine being so dirty. People bathed very rarely, and they must have smelled pretty bad. And what was kissing like in the time before toothpaste was invented?

Editorial Review

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Discussion Questions

Suggested by Members

Discussed the role of women during this time frame.
by Camillions (see profile) 10/08/12

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

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Book Club Recommendations

longer book, excellent writing
by Camillions (see profile) 10/08/12
Make sure you give the club enough time to finish this one. Most of us have infant children so needed more time than normal to finsh the book. We all agreed it has excellent pg turning power & we all agreed to complete the book before our next read.

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
  "World without end"by nicole h. (see profile) 01/10/17

Beautiful book. I loved it and couldn't put it down. Loved it more than Pillars of the Earth.

  "Excellent prose!"by Camille Y. (see profile) 10/08/12

Long book, but well worth the read.

  "World Without End"by Linda P. (see profile) 02/05/10

  "World Without End"by Deb N. (see profile) 02/05/10

Although a bit long, I enjoyed this book. It held my attention throughout and had just enough drama in it to keep pulling you along.

  "one of my favorite reads of all time"by danielle h. (see profile) 11/17/09

  "Same As "Pillars Of The Earth""by Chris B. (see profile) 09/19/09

If you read "Pillars of the Earth", this is the same book with different names to the characters. You still have the peasant who gets revenge, the rich who do good, the knight who is brutal (in life and... (read more)

  "World Without End"by Patrice C. (see profile) 09/18/09

If you liked The Pillars of the Earth, then you'll love World Without End, because it's Part II, 200 years later, with almost identical characters and conflicts. A pleasant enough read, but Ken Follett... (read more)

  "Word Without End"by Jeanne A. (see profile) 07/12/09

I had never read "The Pillars of the Earth." When my bookclub chose "World Without End," I wanted to start with "Pillars" first, and I loved the book. "Pillars" immediately got my attention and kept... (read more)

  "A summer read"by Laura G. (see profile) 05/09/09

This was a summer read..heavy to carry to the beach..but I became swept away with it. A lot of history, drama and adventure!

  "Great book."by Linda F. (see profile) 04/16/09

We all enjoyed this book. We took the time we needed for everyone to finish it. We had a great discussion. It kept you hooked and the thoughts and ideas we had were very interesting.

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