February 11, 2009

World Without End by Ken Follett

If you have read Pillars of the Earth, you have read its sequel, World Without End.

I read Pillars of the Earth last month and reviewed it here. It was a book that made me feel like a voyeur, peeking through the window at Follett's twisted imagination. And it is twisted. I really enjoy reading books written in the Dark Ages and the medieval period, especially when the writer has obviously done his homework, as Follett did. But Follett is one of those writers that likes to play God with his characters, or rather Satan, subjecting them to every trial and tribulation he can think of. If I was a Follett character, I'd be afraid to enter any building lest it fall on my head. I'd refrain from crossing any bridge, because it would certainly collapse. I wouldn't bother to plant a seed, because if it dared to sprout it would surely be trampled by an evil nobleman's horse, scourged in an apocalyptic fire, shriveled by famine or plague, or stolen and put into a salad by an unscrupulous neighbor. Such is the world of Follett.

World Without End may have a few more pages than Pillars of the Earth, but the plot is exactly the same. The only differences are the names and about two hundred years. Jack Builder of Pillars is now Merthin Bridger. Agnes and Ellen are now Gwenda. Alienna has been split into Caris and Philippa. William Hamliegh is Ralph Fitzgerald. The evil Lady Hamleigh is Petranilla. The only character he left out was Prior Phillip, who was really the only likeable character in Pillars.

However, I wouldn't say that World Without End is a waste of time. If you enjoyed Pillars, you will enjoy World. Both books are nice long, meaty engrossing books that are impossible to put down. Just don't expect anything new.

1 comment:

  1. You've done a very interesting job in describing these books! I've never read either one of them...which would you recommend I read?


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