Friday, April 25, 2008

World Without End

I just finished reading Ken Follet's novel, World Without End. When I began this book, I was concerned that it was following too closely the formulae of its predecessor, Pillars of the Earth. The character structures and plot seemed eerily familiar. However, as with Pillars of the Earth, I quickly became enmeshed in the plot and characters.

Follet has written a wonderfully strong and intelligent heroine, Caris, that was a joy to follow throughout her life journey. Merthin, the hero was a little too close to Jack in Pillars for me, but he was one of the few characters that was genuinely good and enjoyable to get to know.

As with Pillars, the history of building and architecture was a prominent theme, and very interesting and eloquently described and defined. Another theme that I found fascinating was that of the spread of the plague. The black death attacks the citizens of Kingsbridge numerous times, and the nuns and physicians are forced to learn by experience how to combat it.

Follet delivers a suspenseful and engrossing plot, full of adventure, history, romance, and political intrigue. It was a true page-turner and wonderfully entertaining. I would not go so far as to consider it literature (I am always torn between being happy that relatively all ends well, and feeling a bit cheated by the neat and tidy ending), but I highly recommend it for a purely enjoyable read.

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