This book review is going to be on 2 books. The 1st is on The Pillars of the Earth and the second is the sequel (200 year later) World Without End both by Ken Follett. I just finished World Without End and loved every bit of it. They are both pretty lengthy books, Pillars being 973 pages and World being 1014 pages. I would walk around with one of these books in my hand and most of the time someone would say something along the lines of "are you reading that book for work or pleasure". Always "pleasure" i would respond. Since the length of the books, it would take me some time to get through them both. Also these books are not easy reads i have noticed. You have to concentrate because there are so many characters, so much detail, and these books always take place over a vass amount of time. Now i will give you a brief overview of each. Since the books are long, there is only so much i can cover. So i will merrily skim the top of the plot of each.
The Pillars of the Earth 1123-1174
Is a historical novel about the building of a cathedral in Kingsbridge, England. It is set in the middle of the 12th century, primarily during the time known as The Anarchy, between the time of the sinking of the White Ship and the murder of Thomas Becket.
The story in centered around Phillip prior of Kingsbridge devout monk who dream is to build the greatest Gothic Cathedral in the world has ever seen.
Tom Builder and mason, who come to the means of building this amazing cathedral, making it his life's work. With the help of his son Alfred and daughter Martha. When his wife dies unexpectedly he puts his heart into the church, even though his soul is divided on weather or not God exists.
Lady Aliena, daughter of Earl Bartholomew, finds herself homeless when her fathers title is taken from him when reveled his loyalty is against the King. it becomes her life goal to have her younger brother become the earl Shrining, which is his birthright. she hides a secret of shame which drives her to get what she wants.
The tale of them all centers itself at the town of Kingsbridge at a monastery. even though the town is run by a church doesn't mean there inst corruption, betrayal, and murder. The ambition of many helps them rise to the top, while other see just how far they may fall.
this was an epic take of the middle ages, which i feel we do not hear enough about that time in history. Its a story of loyalty, judgment, and absolute power. It get very technical on the part of the building of the church which confused me a bit, but i am sure many other found it brilliant. This book kept my interest the whole time, just they way they lived with out censorship is amazing.
World Without End 1327-1361
The novel begins in the city of Kingsbridge, England. Four children, Caris, Gwenda, Merthin, and Ralph(who are brothers) go into the woods on All Hallows Day (November 1st). Gwenda brings her three-legged dog, Hop, whom Ralph shoots with Merthin's home-made bow, foreshadowing Ralph's later cruel behaviour. The children witness two men killed in the forest by Sir Thomas Langley, aided by Ralph. The children then flee, with the exception of Merthin. Sir Thomas asks him to help bury a letter, and then flees to Kingsbridge and seeks refuge in the monastery where he joins the Order of Saint Benedict, becoming a monk. That day shapes the rest of those for children and that one man lives.
Ten years later Caris and Merthin are in love. Gwenda is sold for a cow by her father to a chapman who intends to prostitute her at a woodsmen's camp. Ralph is a knight who works for the earl of Shrining, secretly dieing to go to war. The story is still centered around the church, but now there are Nuns not juts monks, which causes tension because of the shift of power in the church.
The start of the Hundred Years' War take place with the French and the English. While the plague, or "la moria grande" takes over all of Europe, wiping out thousand of people. Medical theory's are being tested, architecture take on a new wave of creativity, and the endless battle of power of government and the Catholic Church are one in the same.
200 years later they have advantaged a bit but remember with great honor the characters from pillars, as if they were the pillars holding the town of Kingsbrigde together. after almost 2000 pages it was hard to let these characters go. i didn't want the story to end. they were almost like my friends i have loved, hated, fought for, and watched succeed. A beautiful novel. I cant wait to return to the town of Kingsbridge in my future