Follett, Ken "World Without End" - 2007
The follow-up to "The Pillars of the Earth" which I absolutely loved. This takes place 200 years after the first book, so our heroes have all passed away. But, they have descendants, so the drama can start again. The Independent warns: "You won't be able to put it down", the Daily Express promises "Medieval life at its best". Both are completely and utterly right. What a book!!!!
If you remember Jack and Tom Builder, Aliena, the Earls' daughter and her brother Richard, William, the bad guy and Prior Philip ... well, they all seem to have been resurrected. You will meet Caris and Merthyn, Gwenda and Ralph, four kids whose lives get intertwined over the years. They fight war and the plague, some together, some against each other, the novel is full of intrigues and plots, passion, love, murder, family disputes, a secret about the King, more building to be done in Kingsbridge. You can enjoy the novel on its own but it's interesting to know that a lot of the story is based on historical facts. Whereas Kingsbridge, Shiring and our heroes and their families are fictional, the background isn't. I love historical novels.
As in the first description of life in Kingsbridge, I love Ken Follett's style, his writing is gripping, he builds anticipation in a way not many authors manage to, the book is indeed unputdownable. Can't wait to see the mini-series that will be aired later this year (2012).
From the back cover:
"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."