On the day after Halloween, in the year 1327, four children slip away from the cathedral city of Kingsbridge. They are a thief, a bully, a boy genius and a girl who wants to be a doctor. In the forest they see two men killed.
As adults, their lives will be braided together by ambition, love, greed and revenge. They will see prosperity and famine, plague and war. One boy will travel the world but come home in the end; the other will be a powerful, corrupt nobleman. One girl will defy the might of the medieval church; the other will pursue an impossible love. And always they will live under the long shadow of the unexplained killing they witnessed on that fateful childhood day.
Ken Follett's masterful epic The Pillars of the Earth enchanted millions of readers with its compelling drama of war, passion and family conflict set around the building of a cathedral. Now World Without End takes readers back to medieval Kingsbridge two centuries later, as the men, women and children of the city once again grapple with the devastating sweep of historical change.
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The peasants are revolting. Some, anyway. Othersthe good-hearted varlets, churls and nickpurses of Folletts latestare just fine. In a departure from his usual taut, economical procedurals ("Whiteout," 2004, etc.), Follett revisits the Middle Ages in what amounts to a sort of sequel to "The Pillars of the Earth" (1989). The story is leisurely but never slow, turning in the shadow of the great provincial cathedral in the backwater of Kingsbridge, the fraught construction of which was the ostensible subject of the first novel. Now, in the 1330s, the cathedral is a going concern, populated by the same folks who figured in its making: intriguing clerics, sometimes clueless nobles and salt-of-the-earth types. One of the last is a resourceful young girland Folletts women are always resourceful, more so than the menfolkwho liberates the overflowing purse of one of those nobles. Her father has already lost a hand for thievery, but thats an insufficient deterrent in a time of hunger, and a time when the lords were frequently away: at war, in Parliament, fighting lawsuits, or just attending on their earl or king. Thus the need for watchful if greedy bailiffs and tough sheriffs, who make Gwendas grown-up life challenging. Follett has a nice eye for the sometimes silly clash of the classes and the aspirations of the small to become large, as with one aspiring prior who had only a vague idea of what he would do with such power, but he felt strongly that he belonged in some elevated position in life. Alas, woe meets some of those who strive, a fact that touches off a neat little mystery at the beginning of the book, one that plays its way out across the years and implicates dozens of characters. A lively entertainment for fans of "The Once and Future King, The Lord of the Rings" and other multilayered epics. "Kirkus Reviews," Starred Review
About Ken Follett
Ken Follett was only twenty-seven when he wrote the award-winning novel Eye of the Needle, which became an international bestseller and film. He has since written several equally successful novels, including, most recently, Whiteout. His new novel, World Without End, is a sequel to the bestseller Pillars of the Earth. He is also author of the non-fiction bestseller On Wings of Eagles. Ken Follett lives with his family in London and Stevenage.
World Without End by Ken Follett
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