Saturday, March 6, 2010

Audiobook Review - World Without End by Ken Follett

Yep, I did it, I finally finished all 36 CD's and it only took me about 6 months. When I first got into listening to audiobooks, I had a good hour commute every day and I was blazing through book after book. Now that I'm in school and the longest I may have to walk is 10 minutes, my audiobook listening has gone down drastically.

What can I say about World Without End that hasn't been said before. It's really long, no, that won't do...umm...oh, isn't there a rule about how many times a book can mention an erection without automatically becoming a romance novel?

Now don't get me wrong, I honestly don't even know if romance ever mentions the word, but what I was expecting was historical fiction. I couldn't help but imagine some dirty old man writing this book because that's much of what the characters thought about. I admit the fast forward button was used a bit.

Otherwise, World Without End is very entertaining with an amazing plot that twists more than a tornado. The characters are as flawed as anyone and although some are a little like cardboard cutouts (insert evil, selfish Lord here) the main characters are very sympathetic.

About midway through (around disc 18) I was amazed at how attached I was to this little town of Kingsbridge, England. Taking place in the 14th century, World Without End is the "sequel" to The Pillars of the Earth, dealing with the ancestors of those in the first novel. I say "sequel" because I've actually never read Pillars and it's not even necessary as World Without End is a completely stand-alone novel.

Just as the protagonists are getting ahead, they get knocked back. Most notably are Merthin, an apprentice builder, who is seduced into sleeping with his master's daughter only to find out she is pregnant with another man's child, and Caris, the daughter of the Alderman (head of the merchant guild), who is at one time accused of being a witch just after saving the town from ruin. And these are only a portion of their problems. What can you do when everyone is scheming to get ahead?

I didn't think I'd go this long, but I really felt like I experienced a piece of history. World Without End shows the feudal system where the rich Lord takes from his serfs who work the land. The more the Lord takes, the less the serfs had. It also showed the plight of the woman, especially the thinking woman. While very entertaining, World Without End does have its faults and I'll leave it up to you to decide as it is one heck of a doorstop.

3.5 out of 5 Stars



  1. Wow, I can't imagine spending six months on one book, particularly ten minutes at a time. I hope you enjoyed it. I know that I've heard of this book because I've never really looked into it. I'm currently listening to Scott Lynch's Red Seas Under Red Skies and I'm really loving it.

  2. @Simcha - That's good to hear since I have RSURS on my bookshelf. I've heard it was a let down, but it's been a while now, so I'm thinking I'll really enjoy it.

  3. I just looked at my comment above and saw that it doesn't make any sense (don't you hate when that happens?) The "because" is supposed to be a "but."
    I've also put off reading Red Seas because I heard it wasn't as good as the first book but the audio version is really excellent and I think I'm enjoying it more then I would have were I reading the book.

  4. Yeah, sometimes the audio will make it that much better just by having a great narrator.

  5. I really liked Pillars of the Earth. I have World Without End in my TBR pile. I might have to listen to it via audio versus reading it.

    Stopping by from Cym's blog...

  6. @Deb - My wife's blazing through Pillars, I may have to give it a go. Thanks for stopping by. :)


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