Chris's Reviews > World Without End

World Without End by Ken Follett
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Feb 18, 2008

liked it
Recommended for: those who enjoy historical fiction
Read in April, 2008

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 played out the hand that medieval life dealt them was the driving force for me.

It served to me as a poignant reminder that, especially in the Middle Age, the path of our lives can often be more impacted by sometimes arbitrary laws of Nature, God, and Man than by our own actions. We find that often justice turns a blind eye on our little corner of the world and all we can control is how we respond to the obstacles thrown in our path.

Perhaps this same theme is why I was so taken with the first book. And perhaps it's not a difference between the two books that I'm feeling, but a difference in myself over the eighteen years between readings. The idealistic 20 something who read Pillars and felt the unfairness of life in the Middle Ages has been replaced by a 40 something widower who reads of injustice and thinks, "Eh, sometimes life throws you a parade and sometimes it pisses in your corn flakes. That's just the way that it goes."

All that being said I found World Without End to be a pleasant journey - and at 1,000+ pages it is a journey, as I was reading it I jokingly referred to the book as "Novel Without End". I enjoyed being transported back to a different time and although I didn't care about the characters the way I did reading Pillars of the Earth, I'm glad for the time spent with them.
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John Johnston Liked this review - I share much the same views and fondness for these two medival novels and the journey that we experience: 7 deathly sins on every page and on it goes


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