Writer: Ken Follett
Publishing House: Pan Macmillan
Date of Publication: October 3rd 2008 (first published October 4th 2007)
Rating: 4 stars
“Whether I’ve been good or bad, I don’t think God will be fooled by a last-minute change of heart.”
‘’World Without End’’ is the second installment in Follett’s Kingsbridge series and what a world it is….Set during one of the most turbulent times in European History, amidst the beginning of the Hundred Years’ War and the nightmare of the Black Death that swept over the continent causing the deaths of an unthinkable percentage of the population, it is one more example of why Historical Fiction is the Genre of the Genres when done right. And who can write better than Ken Follett who owns the crown in this field…
In my opinion, what differentiates his writing is the focus he places on the characters. He doesn’t perform a History lecture, but builds his protagonists around the depicted era with compassion, respect and foresight. His descriptive passages and the way he composes the dialogues throughout the novel should be the example for any writer who’d like to attempt a foray to the tormented Historical Fiction genre. So, ‘’World Without End’’ is no exception to the rule. He paints with words and even the readers who have little knowledge of the era and the events that shaped it will find themselves captivated and immediately drawn to the action. However, in my humble opinion, there is a difference that places it in a significant distance behind ‘’The Pillars of The Earth’’ and this is the characters. Hence the 4 stars.
The main couple, Caris and Merthin, are nowhere near Aliena and Jack. Especially Caris seems like an average copy of Aliena and her character failed to attract my sympathy. Same thing happened with Merthin and don’t even get me started on Gwenda, Ralph and Godwyn. The way I saw it, they came across like badly drawn versions of ‘’The Pillars of the Earth’’ protagonists and they were the only reason that prevented me from fully enjoying the novel. Caris is not Aliena, Merthin is not Jack, Thomas in not Philip, Godwyn is not Waleran, Ralph is not William. The only characters that attracted my attention were Mattie Wise and Mother Cecilia. The book was made into a TV series in 2012 but was nowhere near as successful as ‘’The Pillars of the Earth’’. Tom Weston-Jones portrayed Merthin and Charlotte Riley portrayed Caris. I’ve seen them in a number of productions and they both seem to have the same expression in every role they’ve played. Namely, the innovative, stellar technique of the unimitable ‘’I-only have -one expression with my googly eyes-because I can’t act -for the life of me’’ style and they managed to make the tormented lovers even more boring than their novel counterparts so kudos to them….I think….But who needs the TV adaptations when we have the real deal gracing our shelves, right?
‘’A Column of Fire’’, the third novel in the Kingsbridge series, has been sitting quietly in its place in my TBR fortress since October, waiting for its turn. It’ll have to wait until Easter but I am sure that it won’t disappoint me….