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World Without End - Ken Follett
Not that I've researched this fact, but I could not imagine that any of Ken Follett's book reviews are ever negative. Exquisitely detailed, but not to the point of being cumbersome and yet just more than enough to let you know that some serious research has gone into it. Scenes are always described in the most vivid way to capture a readers interest, and keep it. The chronological sequel to The Pillars of the Earth, but not necessarily to the story line, World Without End continues in the town of Kingsbridge two centuries later and again centres around the cathedral. We see the generational successors of some of the previous books protagonists as the main characters and to some extent a similar contextualized theme i.e the unconventional but lovable and seemingly irresistible clever builder (Merthin), the duty bound but stubborn and independent female protagonist (Caris) and the avaricious & ambitious yet identifiable gentry(Ralph, Merthin's brother & his parents) who seem not only to only drink too much, but also will stop at nothing to become nobility. Like its precursor, the prologue of the book has a scene that ties the lives of the main characters together which unfolds later on towards the end. Being a cathedral-town, Of course, there must be a crazed zealot (Godwyn) who indemnifies his power hungriness as a sign God-sent. And then there was the incredible Gwenda - sold, abused and poor, she is the most interesting of all the characters just because of the sheer determination that allowed her to reach above her social burdens.
If I had to pick at this book, it would be that the repetitive nature of some of the characters in comparison to the previous book is a bit too obvious - but then, I have read them in close succession.
An elegant read written by a thoughtful writer.
*Book sponsored by Pan Macmillan