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Ken Follett's "World Without End"


29 replies to this topic

#1
Iceheart

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*squee*

Clicky for Amazon listing

I'm SO excited that there's a sequel, I LOVE The Pillars of the Earth... and at the same time I'm pissed that I have no time for extracurricular reading (especially something the size of Pillars), so I can't re-read Pillars and immediately devour the sequel. At least I know what I'll be doing Thanksgiving and Winter Breaks :D

Edited by Iceheart, 30 December 2007 - 09:03 AM.


#2
Sonny

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Sounds like an interesting read. Did this take you as a surprise or did you know long ahead of time that this book was being written?

#3
Iceheart

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I just found out today, and completely by accident. I saw Pillars in paperback in the supermarket checkout lane... and it's really not normal supermarket checkout lane fare, so I picked it up and rifled through it. There was an ad for World Without End in the back. I rather made a fool of myself with all the squealing... :blush:

#4
Richcelt

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Too late. Copper beat him to it. ;)

#5
Iceheart

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Copper's story is the first thing I thought of when I saw the ad... which is why I prefaced it with the author when I made the thread, to not throw anyone off :lol:

#6
Copper

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Thievery!

#7
Sonny

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I just wrote him a nasty letter my dear. The considerable costs involved in changing the title on thousands of copies will still be less a burden on him than our collective wrath.

#8
Kokeshi_Doll769

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Yeah my first thought was

"Hey why is this guy ripping April off."

#9
Copper

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I just wrote him a nasty letter my dear. The considerable costs involved in changing the title on thousands of copies will still be less a burden on him than our collective wrath.


Sonny, you're a bro and a half.

#10
Iceheart

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I CAN'T STOP READING THIS BOOK!!!

I sat down and read the first 200 or so pages yesterday (which is only about 2/10ths of the book)... because I couldn't tear myself away. He grabs you from the first paragraph, and just keeps going from there.

I gave it to my grandma to read first, and she said that reading it each night is like going back to old friends each time.

The good news is that while I would certainly recommend The Pillars of the Earth to anyone (and so would Oprah nowadays, which actually gave me a wee bit of respect for her Book Club), World Without End is about Pillars' main characters' descendants, so you're not missing anything important to the plot if you read this one first - there are just some quick mentions of things that are assumed you'd know more about having read Pillars. It's been awhile since I've read Pillars, and I'm keeping up just fine.

I'll keep gushing about this book here the more I read it :D

Edited by Iceheart, 30 December 2007 - 09:06 AM.


#11
ElfinYoda

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Wow, I have not read a Ken Follet book in such a long time! *adds these two to her 2008 must read list* :)

#12
Iceheart

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These are very different from his spy novels. They're epic historical fiction. Pillars follows the building of a cathedral in early medieval England. World Without End is about the cathedral town... I'm too early in to tell you exactly what it's about, other than four people who meet as kids and have their fates intertwined.

#13
ElfinYoda

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Well, you got mine interest stirred. :)

#14
ElfinYoda

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I am reading Pillars of the Earth right now. This is a fat and phat book! I wish I had several hours to just sit quietly and read the whole thing cover to cover, but that can't happen.

Like Icy said, this is intriguing and so totally different from Follet's usual fare. The story centers on the Church and rebuilding the physical church and reconfiguring the men that live, work, breathe for the Church since it's been run into the ground by prior bishops and such. I'm maybe a quarter of the way through the book. There is a good cast of characters thus far and I like medieval history, so its all good. :)

I'm not real good on giving reviews of books. I pretty much either like or hate 'em, lol.

#15
Iceheart

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Yay! I'm glad you like it so far! :thumbsup:

Are you going right on to World Without End after you finish Pillars?

Huh, it looks like I didn't give any thoughts here after I finished WWE...

I seriously went through withdrawal after finishing the book. I was so disappointed that I couldn't go back and spend more time with Caris, Merthin and Gwenda. It was so bad that I read a pretty good book afterwards - Tracy Chevalier's The Lady and the Unicorn - and I didn't like it as much as I would probably have had I not read WWE first, because it wasn't WWE.

Seriously fantastic book. You all need to read it. RIGHT NOW.

#16
ElfinYoda

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WWE just came out right? I will wait for the paperback version since I have Pillars in that format... and thus tis a little less expensive to buy, lol.

I'm about half way through it now. On one hand am glad that I have to read it slowly, but on the other hand, am eager to keep going to see what is going to happen next!

#17
Iceheart

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Yeah, WWE came out in October, so it may be a little while on the paperback... I'd lend you my copy, but there's that pesky distance thing :P

#18
ElfinYoda

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lol, no worries, if need be, I will just re-read PotE! :lol:

Oh, and am DONE!! Wow, quite the nailbitter!! I wish I could have actually been in Kingsbridge and watched that church be built and just take in the life there. Such a different lifestyle from what we have now, but it is not so hard to imagine it.

#19
Iceheart

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Whoohoo!

Isn't it amazing how he can bring characters and settings to life?

#20
Didact

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I read Pillars in '96 for high school and have since read it twice more since then. When my wife and I were married in 2002, she read it based on a recommendation by myself and has read it thrice since then. We're both in love with Follet's work on Pillars (I haven't nor do I plan to read his thrillers - not a fan of that type of novel).

We bought each other World Without End for Christmas without knowing it and I ended up bringing my copy back since I had to finish The Silmarillion first anyways. She finished her read and now I'm about 300 pages deep into it. Wow. Powerful stuff.

Saying that Pillars was my all-time favorite novel is accurate, but World has easily devoured its predecessor in terms of intensity and consistent and powerful melodramas. It's as big and meaty as Pillars, with the same plausible authenticity, but its aggressive presence - its ability to make you want to read every since inch of 1,000+ pages is unparelleled. Can't say if it's better than Pillars yet (my wife loves both equally), but I do enjoy reading it more this first time through.

#21
Iceheart

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Yay, another fan! :thumbsup:

So, that's three fans of Pillars - perhaps we should nominate it for a Book Club Reading Circle, so we can spread the love?

#22
ElfinYoda

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:lol: Icy, if the rest of these folks see how BIG it is, I doubt anyone is gonna want to read it!! But! It is an easy read, so maybe? I would be curious to see what everyone else thinks of it. Lets nominate it definitely! :thumbsup:

#23
Didact

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So I just finished the book (World Without End) a few minutes ago. It's been difficult to read this consistently because of my schedule, but alas, I'm done. Great read and definitely up to the size, scope, scale and power of The Pillars of the Earth. This was an interesting read for me, because typically, even with Pillars to some degree, it's easy for me to read through a novel without any emotional involvement.

With this second book, however, I followed it normally through the first few hundred pages and then...

Spoiler! --Click here to view--
...Caris aborted her child.

Now I fully understand and respect that everyone has different opinions on the subject of abortion, but my opinions, coupled with the fact that Caris had been indiscriminately sleeping with Merthin without any willingness to face the consequences made me angry. This was supposed to be the heroine. Someone like Aliena, who was a profound female figure in Pillars - not a strumpet, not someone who made rash decisions and would do harm to herself (and another) in order to 'rectify' it.

My anger, of course, was both good and bad. As a fledgling writer myself, I understand that one of the most important goals in creating a powerful drama is to pull your readers into the story and characters - the captivation of a reader is a story's lifeblood. But I wasn't prepared to be captivated by anger, the heroine, a person capable of killing her unborn child as a callous form of birth control (to me), and not because it was a situation of rape or incest either? I was soon demanding, of my wife who had already read it, that she (Caris) better find some sort of serious regret at some point before the end of the novel. Some sort of redemption - because as it stood, I didn't like her at all. I was rooting for her and Merthin not to be together for several hundred pages...

And the regret never really at first. There was even one point toward the end, where she actually admits to Merthin her two greatest regrets, neither of which were the abortion. One of the regrets, much to my chagrin, was that she didn't get to have enough sex with Merthin, of which she admittedly did at that time without any real concern of having a child or the consequences. She seemed logical and precise at some times and flighty at others - she had so many opportunities to leave Merthin and the hell hole of their lives, but she chose poorly (in my opinion) throughout. It bothered me.

Finally, in the last part of the book, the pace began to quicken and the story picked up some speed - easily the best part of the novel - and here, she does feel some regret and its clear that she's changed considerably as a person. At that point, I fell in love with her. I still liked Gwenda a tad more because she was a scrapper and very interesting, but when Caris' new behavior, her handling of the Phillipa situation, the care/teaching of Lolla and that moment (and the compositions of moments here and there) where she felt the pangs of what I understood to be regret, wanting what could have been. I think those last few chapters were when I really started to enjoy her - she no longer seemed as complicated or as selfish.

Anyways, that's just my little sidebar on how well Follet pulled me into the story for her. This time he didn't pull me in the front door by giving me completely noble character, but through the back door with this person who was marred with a lot of problems, and even though she tried to do right, she was selfish - and by the end, I was in love with her. Afterall, we had been through so much together. ;)
...I won't say anything more in specific terms, but that I really loved this book. There were a lot of great events and characters. It felt cleaner and had better pacing than Pillars, plus the story was far more cohesive. Events at the start of the novel impact the very end, and although this happened in Pillars, in the predecessor, were segments which seemed forced and disparate - although apparently essential (Beckett, for example).

A few repetitious terms, phrases and concepts (How many rooks are their on Shiring's front gate and why must we know about them ever damn time, Ken?) -and- some of the history, payoff, as well as the slow-paced discussion of customs/practices of those times were not perfectly executed. To be frank, some were just a tad bit boring, but not nearly at the same level as Pillars. Ken has honed his craft well. The story was a massive, sprawling and powerful epic, but at the end, I felt like everything wrapped up incredibly well. The last section of the book was the best, something that also couldn't be said about Pillars in my opinion.

After taking this novel on, I'm going to break from reading and work on a script I've been thumbing in my mind. Anyone who wants to know what a good, talented and experienced writer sounds like, these two masterpieces are where they should start.

#24
Kung Fu Jawa

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Man... I was going to get Pillars at the library today, but both copies were on hold.

I don't really have time to read it, but since I was there I was going to pick it up. One of these days...

#25
ElfinYoda

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Am waiting for the paperback version, since I have the paperback version of Pillars. Though I have 10 books out from the library right now, methinks that I shall order WWE soon, because thanks to Didact's review, I am really, really wanting to read it! lol



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