Monday, April 30, 2018

World Without End

World Without End, Ken Follett

This is the second book by Ken Follett based around the town of Kingsbridge and its priory, and it’s just as interesting and gripping as The Pillars of the Earth. Now there are nuns as well, with the Prioress also making a valuable contribution to the town. The monks tend to hold back progress, set in their ways of old physicians training and leaving all to God's will. More forward thinking citizens are at risk of crossing them with new ideas, and the balance of power is often under threat. Combined with the events of the times which includes wars in France and the plague, it is a fascinating account of the early 1300s. Many were at the mercy of their feudal lord and all lived in fear and awe of what the church said about anything. I love learning history (or a version of it!) through historical fiction.

It starts with four children gathered in the woods one festival day: merchant’s daughter Caris; Ralph and Merthin, brothers very different in character; and young thief Gwenda, born into poverty. As the book unfolds, their lives go varied ways but remain interwoven. The story spans about 30 years and covers changes in poverty and wealth, station and status, work and unemployment, love and conflict. For those who love a long read, it certainly meets that criteria at about 1200+ pages.

As with The Pillars of the Earth, I'd wait till teens were older to suggest this one, it's interesting on many levels with a depth of many characters, but there is still a lot of actual and implied sexual violence. For adults though, it’s a good detailed read, and keeps you occupied for hours.

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