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World Without End (The Pillars of the Earth #2)

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4.19 of 5 stars 4.19  ·  rating details  ·  97,916 ratings  ·  7,884 reviews
Eighteen years after the publication of The Pillars of the Earth, Ken Follett has written the the long awaited sequel, World Without End.

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...more
Hardcover, 1014 pages
Published October 9th 2007 by Dutton Adult (first published 2007)
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Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur GoldenGone with the Wind by Margaret MitchellThe Pillars of the Earth by Ken FollettThe Book Thief by Markus ZusakThe Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
Best Historical Fiction
17th out of 4,280 books — 17,722 voters
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. RowlingThe Kite Runner by Khaled HosseiniThe Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsHarry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
Best Books of the Decade: 2000s
75th out of 4,895 books — 23,529 voters


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Community Reviews

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Stephen
Put some towels down because I sense a fully formed gush geyser about to spill all over this review. This book was fantastic and really did it for me. I loved it, all 1000+ pages, and I wouldn’t have minded if it was considerably longer (TWSS).

After more than loving The Pillars of the Earth (that’s right, I lurved it), I had tall hopes for this sorta sequel and let me tell you it was more than up to the task.

I was parched and hungry for a good meaty read. Well consider me gorged and my story...more
Lynn
Dec 04, 2013 Lynn rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Pillars of the Earth fans
This "companion" novel to Follett's 1989 classic The Pillars of the Earth is set in the same community, 200 years later. I'd been excited about it ever since I heard it was coming out this fall - Maybe too excited, because it just didn't live up to my expectations.

The first half of the book seemed a sort-of ho-hum retread of "Pillars". In place of Jack Builder, we have his look-alike great-great-great-many-times-over grandson, Merthin. Instead of Aliena, we get Caris (who I wanted to slap severa...more
Alex Telander
WORLD WITHOUT END BY KEN FOLLETT: There are books that you read, with vaguely interesting stories, that sometimes within less than a month have been forgotten, ignored, barely recollected except for title, author and a minor recall of plot. Then there are books that change your mind on life, that give you a thrill as you read them and think about how much you’re loving to read this particular book, and how it’s making such an impression on you, and how you’re going to remember it for a long part...more
Dan Schwent
Set two centuries after Pillars of the Earth, the people of Kingsbridge are at it again. The cathedral built in Pillars is in disrepair after part of the roof caved in, the bridge collapsed, and the prior is dead. Also, the constant maneuvering continues...

So, I fell into a trap with this one. After devouring Dinocalypse Now in a morning, my girlfriend asked if I managed to read an entire book in four hours. I said I had and she slammed me with this, saying it shouldn't take me more than a few d...more
La Petite Américaine
Sep 19, 2008 La Petite Américaine rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Non-anal types who enjoy guilty pleasure reading
Recommended to La Petite Américaine by: Nicole
In all practical theory, this book should be on my 'Sucked' shelf. It's a tale of the Middle Ages, the gross injustices of the time, and it truly amounts to a thousand-page Medieval soap opera. It hasn't got much to do with it's predecessor The Pillars of the Earth , except that it's in the same location 200 years later, with characters that are "descendants" of the Pillars characters. There's none of the complex building and architectural aspects found in Pillars, the graphic sex and violence h...more
James
Follett finally completed the sequel to his evergreen historical novel, The Pillars of the Earth, and although I was compelled by the story enough to read all 1024 pages in a week, I was saddened at how poorly the book compares with its predecessor.

It is interesting to consider the nearly 20 years between the first book and this sequel. Many things have changed in our culture since then, leading Follett to inject even more egregious anachronisms into this book than the first. For example, the ch...more
Karen
Well, Pillars of the Earth is one of my favorite books and I was looking forward to completely enjoying this without reservation. But way back when it first came out, I stumbled onto an online discussion that cited a passage with anachronistic vocabulary, which bothered me. It was very anachronistic. So it was a single passage, but it added some reservation to my anticipated complete enjoyment. And then I got to page 15, and there's this conversation that no two people would ever have under any...more
Christine
Jan 29, 2008 Christine rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: ONLY extremely bored people with no capacity for long term memory
The Pillars of the Earth was pretty good, but WWE is supposed to be a sequel... However, WWE seems to be a 1000 page snorefest after the first book. Perhaps if I had read them 18 years apart... then I would not have minded that WWE is a plagiarized (by the same author) copy of TPOTE. They have the same plot, same polar characters (no one is reasonable, they are all so totally overboard in every description), same activities, same cads, same villians, same love story... Same everything... But the...more
PennyiSD
One of my book clubs selected this as we had all read and loved Pillars of the Earth when it came out 20 years ago.

I got halfway through this tome and decided I didn't want to waste another moment of my life on a book which failed on so many counts. The characters didn't seem real and certainly didn't elicit any sympathy from this reader as they moved from one contrived crisis to the next, the writing was repetitive and juvenile (a gifted high school student could write better), the language wa...more
Mary Catherine
This is the sequel to "Pillars of the Earth." It's set 200 years after that original book but is very similar in terms of plot and especially character. Every main character from "Pillars" has their parallel in this book: the intelligent, noble builder; the feisty, born-before-her-time love interest; the evil, corrupt nobleman who rapes and pillages his way into power. It gets to the point where you start to wonder why you're bothering reading it. There's absolutely nothing new here.

Like "Pillar...more
Kevin Xu
This book is like the book before the Pillar of the Earth in that it is about the lives of three or four main characters throughout their lives of childhood through adulthood seen through their troubles and hopes every so often in the the city of Kingsbridge, two hundred years after. It starts with two family, the family of Gwenda, who is poor and steals from Merthin and Ralph, making them without broke. It is a book that is epic with their struggle between the them along with other characters,...more
Leah
Aug 27, 2008 Leah rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: 'bodice ripper' fans looking for an "...epic historic novel..."
Recommended to Leah by: QPB sent it 'cause I'm slow at saying 'no'
"...epic, historic novel"??!
Good Lord, I must be reading a different book than everyone else.
This seems formulaic and forced. Characters are more like caricatures; and what's the deal with everyone fornicating all the time??! Not that there's anything wrong with fornicating per se, I just don't care for books that use it as a major plot device time after time after time.
I actually checked the cover to make sure it wasn't "Clan of the Cave Bear" 2.0...
I'm going to finish this book (I think) 'caus...more
Mom
I cannot find the words to express how disappointed I was with this book. Having enjoyed "Pillars of the Earth" twice I awaited the issue of the sequel with immense enthusiasm.

What a letdown! The characters, the plot,the writing are all dreadful...Mr Follett has tried to bring the 13th century into the 21st and it hasn't worked. The gratuitous sex and foul language spoil the book from the first chapter and for the first time in years, I will not be finishing this novel!

Very sad to see a good au...more
Margaret
Nov 25, 2008 Margaret rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: historical / medieval novel fans
Shelves: audio-books
A pretty darn good book - you laugh, you're horrified, the whole gamut - but what makes this a truly amazing "read" is the audio recording by John Lee, who is also the reader of Penguin Audio's recording of "Pillars of the Earth." Both recordings are well worth the time commitment to listen to 30+ (unabridged) CD's - I walked around and drove everywhere with my headphones on listening to both of these amazing books.

"World Without End" is a continuation of the Kingsbridge story begun in "Pillars...more
Matt
World Without End, a follow-up to Ken Follett’s surprise bestseller Pillars of the Earth, steals a page from the Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure playbook. A motley collection of insipid characters – if possible, even stupider and less realistic than Bill & Ted – get into a time machine and travel back to year 1327 and the village of Kingsbridge…

Wait. Oh, wait.

There are no time machines? The characters in World Without End are supposed to represent actual people from the 14th century?...more
Krista
I think Danielle Steele might have written parts of this; she must have at least been responsible for the overwrought plot and the ridiculous, unnecessary sex scenes. It was bawdy and endless, just like every Steele book I read as a blushing 12 year old. I also kept imagining Richard Chamberlin as Merthin, as the plot just kept going and going like the Thornbirds miniseries. There were about seven-hundred and fifty climaxes and denoument. Just when a character was happy, he or she would be destr...more
Mark
Second Ken Follett, second Ken Follett audiobook, second Ken Follett audiobook listened to in car, first time I have ever wished to be caught in a really humungous traffic jam.

This was an enthralling sort of sequel to the The Pillars of the Earth . I say sort of because it is set some 200 years after the end of that wondrous story. Just as the previous novel looked at the building of the Cathedral and the growth of the fictional city of Kingsbridge* through the disastrous 19 year reign of King S...more
Jillian
I got this book for Christmas and was so excited to start. I was a big fan of Pillars and figured I would love this as well. I liked it a whole lot, but definitely not as much as Pillars. The story was familiar (and at points almost a retread of Pillars). It was often anachronistic - especially the character of Caris. I loved her and I'm all for feminism and strong female characters, but it made me wonder how accurate and believable she really was. Clunky prose such as "she would have been alder...more
Karina
World Without End is definitely not perfect-- it has a little too much in common with its predecessor, Pillars of the Earth, and its characters are too often painted only in black-and-white. Regardless of those flaws, I would probably give the book three stars if it weren't for one short plotline early in the book. Prior Phillip was one of my very favorite characters in Pillars of the Earth and his rise to the priorship was particularly enjoyable to read. Despite my trepidation over familiar plo...more
Becky
Let me preface this review by saying that I loved Pillars of the Earth. A lot. I thought it was almost perfect, in fact, except for one minor issue that I had with the dialogue sounding too modern for the time period (an issue I had with World Without End, too). After being engrossed in that book, loving, hating, caring about the characters in it, after feeling like I was living in Kingsbridge for 900 pages, I was excited for this follow up. I wanted more, I wanted to be back in that world, expe...more
NiteReader
5 EPIC STARS
I didn't believe I would like this book as much as the first one, The Pillars of the Earth. But Mr Follett has created the most vivid characters that I laughed with, cried for and rejoiced in. Another amazing book!
Stephanie
Total rip off of the first (Pillars of the Earth). Not impressed. Could barely get through it.
Bill
I have finally finished this 1000 page novel and I am more than ready to move on.
If you have recently read Pillars of the Earth, and liked it, I would strongly recommend you take some time before diving into this one, because it's a long haul. It is very much the same pacing, and a similar setting as its predecessor, so unless you're a very fast reader (I'm not), 2000+ pages of 1100-1369AD England may wear very thin for you.

I waited about ten years, and so was very ready to revisit the town of
Ki...more
Chris
Apr 02, 2008 Chris rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those who enjoy historical fiction
This novel is Follett's follow up to The Pillars of the Earth which is one of my favorite novels and probably never had a chance of living up to my expectations. It follows the lives of four people beginning with a disturbing childhood encounter. Four very different people: two brothers, one brilliant, but not physically imposing and one one strong and ruthless; and two women, both resourceful, but one from a wealthy family and one for whom life was one struggle after the next. Seeing how each p...more
K.D. Absolutely
It is not at par with the first sequel - The Pillars of the Earth. The suspense is not always sustained and the characters were not as interesting as The Pillars. The only image that was so shocking that I even dreamt about it was the skinning of the thief while alive. My head was spinning while I was on that page and at first I did not know if it was fatigue or the whirling sound of the pressurized water while by car was being cleaned. Then I realized that it was the shock that I had with the d...more
Chantelle
I loved this book. The reviews said it might be a let-down after Pillars of the Earth but it wasn't, at all. You know how when you're reading a book and you get so invested in the characters that even as you're living your life, you walk around in a fog, waiting to get back to the book? That's how I feel. I spent two weeks reading Pillars and World, over 1800 pages. I stayed up way too late and maneuvered my way through middle school hallways reading. I literally could not put it down. And now i...more
Emily
Ken Follett is a clever man. Having written the bestseller The Pillars of the Earth, he then wrote an even longer sequel called World Without End which is strikingly similar in tone, plot, and characters. But he waited nearly twenty years to do it. Instead of saying, "Ken Follett is a one-trick pony," people said, "Oh, hooray! I remember that I really liked that book."

World Without End actually takes place several hundred years after The Pillars of the Earth but since we're dealing with the Midd...more
M
Sep 23, 2014 M rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People who believes that a book should not end - till it ends!
This is an enormous book, really! Ken Follett is one of the best, this is for sure, but "World Without End" seems to me that he have done, once again, the impossible. What a wonderful book! Yes, let me admit it is quite long (1000 are a hard task, indeed), but it is so worth it. Every page is another problem to solve, another stםlen moment of pleasue. And this is what I like about it: whenever things seem to get on track שמג under control again, when the world gets safe and lovable again - somet...more
Lindsay
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
JG (The Introverted Reader)
Set a couple of hundred years after The Pillars of the Earth , World Without End picks up the story of the town of Kingsbridge. I don't want to say too much about the twists and turns the plot follows, so I'll just say that the book is the story of a generation of townspeople and what life in the mid-14th century might have been like.

Had I read this on its own, or even after the 20 years between the publication of Pillars and World, I would probably have enjoyed it more. As it is, I did honestly...more
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
World Without End vs Pillars of the Earth 6 82 Oct 02, 2014 12:10PM  
TV series 4 56 Oct 02, 2014 12:08PM  
MY BOOK 1 16 May 30, 2014 03:44AM  
Informal Poll 16 139 Jan 25, 2014 11:01PM  
Would the storyline have been affected if Ralph were removed? 14 117 Jan 20, 2014 06:09PM  
Godwyn the Reformer, turns hard conservative. 3 30 Jul 07, 2013 08:24PM  
Does anyone know the word count for Word Without End? 2 51 Apr 30, 2013 02:17AM  
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Ken Follett burst onto the book world in 1978 with Eye of the Needle, a taut and original thriller with a memorable woman character in the central role. The book won the Edgar award and became an outstanding film.

He went on to write four more bestselling thrillers: Triple; The Key to Rebecca; The Man from St Petersburg; and Lie Down with Lions.

He also wrote On Wings of Eagles, the true story of ho...more
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The Pillars of the Earth  (The Pillars of the Earth, #1) Fall of Giants (The Century Trilogy, #1) Eye of the Needle Winter of the World (The Century Trilogy #2) A Dangerous Fortune

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“you should first follow the plow if you want to dance the harvest jig.” 28 likes
“It was an odd relationship, but then she was an extraordinary woman: a prioress who doubted much of what the church taught; an acclaimed healer who rejected medicine as practised by physicians; and a nun who made enthusiastic love to her man whenever she could get away with it. If I wanted a normal relationship, Merthin told himself, I should have picked a normal girl.” 22 likes
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