Two down, one to go for my summer reading list.
World Without End by Ken Follet was over 1,000 pages and took place in the Late Middle Ages. Some might find the book to be daunting, I found it absolutely fantastic. I had previously read Follet’s previous historical epic, The Pillars of the Earth, and found World Without End to be even better and harder to put down.
The most amazing part of this novel was the plethora of scandals. The scandals of Kingsbridge in the Late Middle Ages rivals that of a soap opera. Everyone was sleeping with everyone else and no one knew who was the father of their children. There were abortions, witches, homosexual relationships, thieves, prostitutes, drunks, knights, politics… The story lines in World Without End are complex and keep you wanting to turn the page. There are also some hilarious sexual innuendoes that keep the book from being too depressing.
I love the way Follet intertwines the characters in Kingsbridge. Every action seems to directly impact the lives of everyone in town, whether they realize it or not. His characters are flawed and, unlike Pillars, even the most vile characters you can relate to. Not everyone ends up with a happy ending or receives everything they want in life.
Strong female characters are the crux of the novel. Despite the fact you want to scream at her about some of her decisions, Caris is an admirable woman and the top character you are cheering on. While Gwenda has made a few dark decisions, her strength to be better than she was raised to be is commendable. Even Petranilla, as nasty as she may be, was an example of a strong woman who held more power than people realized.
I loved the character of Merthin. He was strong. He was kind. He was reasonable. He was caring. his love for Caris was painstaking at times, especially when he tried to stop it. He had his own flaws, as he was a bit of a womanizer, which is nice to see in a character.
If you are looking for a book to read while traveling, I highly suggest World WIthout End. It is a page turner and will make any flight go by quickly. I’m warning you, you will struggle to put it down which may result in some late nights.