Thursday, March 13, 2008

Ken Follett's "World Without End" has arrived

Look! Over on the right! It's a new book! Unfortunately, with school no longer providing an obstacle, all I seem to be doing right now is accumulating new books to read, but not actually finishing any.

But this is Ken Follett, which means the new book takes priority over everything else. For those not familiar, Follett writes historical fiction and spy thrillers. He works with all kinds of different eras; his favorite seems to be World War II, but he's tackled modern America, 80's Afghanistan, 19th century England, and the US Revolution, among other settings.

By far my favorite, though, is Pillars of the Earth, a simply tremendous epic that spans most of the 12th century. The story surrounds the building of a cathedral. I like it because it is basically an ode to the power of human determination, and even while many of the positive characters are monks, it still regularly jabs at the power structure of the middle ages church. And villains. Follett writes great villains: they're smart and devious and humanized, and you're constantly given the impression that they might actually win.

World Without End is a quasi-sequel to Pillars. It takes place in the same town, in the same cathedral, but 200 years later. Many of the main characters are descendants of the original. I'm only a few chapters in, but so far it's very good.

Anyway, if you haven't read the original book then definitely go read that first. If you have, consider this a heads up that it's time to buy the next one.


  1. Pillars of the Earth is my favorite novel, bar none. I eagerly snapped up World Without End when it hit my bookstore back in November.

    I enjoyed WWE as well, but I still give the nod to PotE as the superior novel. To me, Pillars was about something big. From start to finish, the novel was about Building a Cathedral, and the human actors were like moths around a candle flame, some of them literally (pun intended) extinguishing themselves in that Big Something.

    Worlds, however, seems to have less lofty goals--there's no One Big Thing to span the entire novel. It's about repairing the cathedral--no, it's about building a bridge to let people get to the cathedral--no, it's about if the hero and heroine end up married happily ever after--no, it's if the poor family will receive justice from the villain.

    Admittedly, such ongoing interwoven threads are more what our own lives are like, but when I close a book at the end, I like to have a satisfactory ending. I didn't feel that way with Worlds. It could have just continued on and on, which detracts from it's story value.

    Still, either one is a terrific novel, great for getting lost in for about a month apiece.

  2. can't wait to read it---loved pillars