Wednesday, 6 May 2020

World Without End - Ken Follett

Date of Reading: 05/05/2020
Author: Ken Follett
Publisher: Penguin
Year: 2007
Rating: 3/5

(This review is part of the #BookReviewBlogChallenge organised by
Day 06, Prompt: Any book with 400+ pages)

About the book:

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 centre 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 crossroads 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.


     Ugh! Finally, I managed to finish it. That was the single most thought I had once I reached the end on my kindle. The novel had been a part of my TBR for a long time and many times over the years I started it and gave up. Part of the problem is with me. I wanted something as good as 'The Pillars of the Earth' but obviously, it is hard to compete with a masterpiece.
      It was good to go back to Kingsbridge watching a new generation making new mistakes. The story follows Follett's signature style. In more than a thousand pages, we witness the constant ups and downs of various characters and sometimes there comes the divine intervention through the plague or through the collapse of a bridge. As always, Follett reminds us of the unpredictability of life; we could never consider ourselves lucky until death, as the wheel of fortune is in constant motion.
      What bothered me is the characters and the overwhelming negative emotions they brought up. Apart from Caris and Gwenda, I didn't really like anyone. And both of them are crippled by their gender. Caris tries to fight it somehow through her position as a Prioress, but Gwenda also has the disadvantage of social class. Her infatuation with Wulfric (nope, I am not going to consider it as true love) is pathetic from the beginning. In a different place and time, she would have made wonders, but here she is satisfied with a handsome husband with nothing between the ears. Of course, Follett makes some amends at the end but that doesn't sway my opinion about Wulfric.
      None of the characters are especially good, but there are many who are evil. How is that possible? Shouldn't there be some balance like in the last novel? Physical abuse, adultery and deaths abound and so if you are not able to stomach some of these, then better keep away. Black death is something we can easily identify with during these times. Curiously, Caris adopts the same method that we selected to fight COVID; complete lockdown. Looks like we haven't come that far from the 1350s. But the good thing is, it shows us we can survive; better days are yet to come.

Meet the author:

Ken Follett is one of the world’s most successful authors. Over 165 million copies of the 31 books he has written have been sold in over 80 countries and in 33 languages.
Born on June 5th, 1949 in Cardiff, Wales, the son of a tax inspector, Ken was educated at state schools and went on to graduate from University College, London, with an Honours degree in Philosophy – later to be made a Fellow of the College in 1995.

He started his career as a reporter, first with his hometown newspaper the South Wales Echo and then with the London Evening News. Subsequently, he worked for a small London publishing house, Everest Books, eventually becoming Deputy Managing Director.

Ken, who loves music almost as much as he loves books, is an enthusiastic bass guitar player in two bands. He lives in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, with his wife Barbara, the former Labour Member of Parliament for Stevenage.

1 comment:

  1. Pillars of the Earth has been on my TBR for a while... it's so long though! I always get a little discouraged when I see that 1000+ pg count. This next one doesn't sound like it was enjoyable to you, which sucks:/


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