June 9, 2014 by Austin McNair
An epic tale following the the stories of five strong willed characters as they navigate the ins and outs of Medieval life during the Black Plague. Follet’s novel will captivate your attention with stunning historical accuracy and three dimensional characters who struggle for power, love, and purpose in an all too bleak world. This book is a must read for anyone who loves well-written historical fiction.
A theme which caught my attention was a criticism feudalistic systems. The carefully compartmentalized structures of the English nobility and the Church hierarchy consistently were not able to meet the needs of real people. Personal grudges, unethical politics, and the unwavering lust for top-down control were only some of the ways in which Follett revealed the fragility of feudalism. Then, when disaster hits Kingsbridge, these superstructures fall apart.
“World Without End” takes place in 14th century England 200 years after “Pillars of the Earth.” You do not need to read POTE to understand this book, yet Follett does graciously reference characters from POTE as a tribute to old readers. “World Without End” is more of the same, so if you have read POTE recently, I suggest giving yourself a break.
Overall, this is an amazing book. The longevity of “World Without End” did seem to beg for an epic ending, so I was a bit disappointed when I only got a really good ending as opposed to a really great ending. Nevertheless, the tale is one to remember and the story arc comes to a solid close making the journey well worth it.