World Without End

Version: Abridged
Author: Ken Follett
Narrator: Richard E. Grant
Genres: Fiction & Literature, Suspense, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Penguin Audiobooks
Published In: May 2017
# of Units: 12 CDs
Length: 14 hours
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In 1989 Ken Follett astonished the literary world with The Pillars of the Earth, a sweeping epic novel set in twelfth-century England centered on the building of a cathedral and many of the hundreds of lives it affected. Critics were overwhelmed—“it will hold you, fascinate you, surround you” (Chicago Tribune)—and readers everywhere hoped for a sequel. 

World Without End takes place in the same town of Kingsbridge, two centuries after the townspeople finished building the exquisite Gothic cathedral that was at the heart of The Pillars of the Earth. The cathedral and the priory are again at the center of a web of love and hate, greed and pride, ambition and revenge, but this sequel stands on its own. This time the men and women of an extraordinary cast of characters find themselves at a crossroad of new ideas— about medicine, commerce, architecture, and justice. In a world where proponents of the old ways fiercely battle those with progressive minds, the intrigue and tension quickly reach a boiling point against the devastating backdrop of the greatest natural disaster ever to strike the human race—the Black Death. 

Three years in the writing, and nearly eighteen years since its predecessor, World Without End breathes new life into the epic historical novel and once again shows that Ken Follett is a masterful author writing at the top of his craft.

Reviews (9)


Written by Liz M. on April 8th, 2019

  • Book Rating: 5/5

I loved this book. It is so well written and engaging. The character development is enthralling and I couldn't wait to hear how their stories would end. I loved the references to the history of Kingsbridge and the characters from Pillars of the Earth. Follett has once again created revolutionary female characters fighting villains its easy to hate, while navigating the restrictions for women in their time and the expectation that they should be happy with just a marriage. John Lee is an incredible narrator who has mastered the art of timing. I would highly recommend this book, especially to anyone who loved the first of the trilogy.


Written by Brad B. on February 26th, 2019

  • Book Rating: 4/5

Truly an epic story. Fantastic narration. I can't wait to enjoy the next story in the series "Column of Fire." Due to the length of the book, I actually checked out the book from the library so I could put in extra time with the story when listening to earbuds wasn't appropriate. My only complaint about the audio file is that 9/10 of the book is on track 160 of 160. I constantly had problems with the app jumping the story ahead or behind. The bookmark feature didn't seem to work well on this file. Possibly user error but I couldn't figure it out. Also there were some weird audio glitches - the audio book was converted from a CD sound recording so every once in a while it tells you "End of Disc". Overall a fan and looking forward to the next one.


Written by Gregory M on May 4th, 2018

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Loved it.

Written by Bonnie L on March 31st, 2018

  • Book Rating: 5/5

I wish this book would never end. Excellent character development and storyline.

Written by Perry C on February 19th, 2018

  • Book Rating: 4/5

Less trilling than Pillars of the Earth. I continue, however, to be facilitated by the story line of 14th century England. How valid the the phase “the more things change the more they stay the same “, women of today’s world are still burdened by all of those old prejudices of yesteryear. We still find ourselves with morally bankrupt leaders and those who use religion to justify their poor behavior. Well done Ken Follett. Narrator was again excellent!!!


Written by Melody F on January 6th, 2018

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Loved it! Listened to Pillars of the Earth first. Can't wait to start the next in the series!!!

Written by Jodie L on November 17th, 2017

  • Book Rating: 2/5

I usually go through an audiobook fairly quickly if I love it and until now I’ve been pretty lucky. The books I’ve chosen I’ve been very happy with..until now. This book is truly the first one I’m having to force myself to keep listening to. It’s one of those books that hooks you then drags on and on and right when your ready to give up something else interesting happens so you stick with it thinking it’ll get better only to find it drags on and on again. I’m about 3/4 way through and seriously this might be one of those books that eventually I make my way through then wonder why I bothered. Chances are my next credit which I’m anticipating eagerly having dragged along all month with this book , I’ll hopefully find something much better, and this book will wait on the back burner until I’m either completely without another audiobook to listen to or I somehow find along the way the book gets much better and stays that way. It just drags and drags between major events. I can’t emphasize that enough. All in all I’m sorry I wasted a credit on this mainly-boring monstrosity. Argh.

Written by John Gillies on January 23rd, 2017

  • Book Rating: 4/5

Interesting book and well narrated, as one villain falls another steps out from the shadows!

Written by Mauricio comas on August 30th, 2015

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Great book and the narrator does make justice to the writer

Author Details

Author Details

Follett, Ken

Ken Follett was born on 5 June 1949 in Cardiff, Wales, the son of a tax inspector. He was educated at state schools and graduated from University College, London, with an Honours degree in philosophy. He was made a Fellow of the college in 1995.

He became a reporter, first with his home-town newspaper the South Wales Echo and later with the London Evening News. While working on the Evening News he wrote his first novel, which was published but did not become a bestseller. He then went to work for a small London publishing house, Everest Books, eventually becoming Deputy Managing Director. He continued to write novels in his spare time. Eye of the Needle was his eleventh book, and his first success.

He went on to write four more bestselling thrillers: Triple; The Key to Rebecca; The Man from St Petersburg; and Lie Down with Lions. Cliff Robertson and David Soul starred in the miniseries of The Key to Rebecca. In 1994 Timothy Dalton, Omar Sharif and Marg Helgenberger starred in the miniseries of Lie Down with Lions.

He also wrote On Wings of Eagles, the true story of how two employees of Ross Perot were rescued from Iran during the revolution of 1979. This book was made into a miniseries with Richard Crenna as Ross Perot and Burt Lancaster as Colonel 'Bull' Simons.

He then surprised readers by radically changing course with The Pillars of the Earth, a novel about building a cathedral in the Middle Ages. Published in September 1989 to rave reviews, it was on the New York Times bestseller list for eighteen weeks. It also reached the No. 1 position on lists in Canada, Great Britain and Italy, and was on the German bestseller list for six years. Chosen by Oprah Winfrey for her book club in late 2007, 'Pillars' became a best-seller again 18 years after it was first published.

For a while he abandoned the straightforward spy genre, but his stories still had powerful narrative drive, strong women characters, and elements of suspense and intrigue. He followed Pillars with Night over Water, A Dangerous Fortune, and A Place Called Freedom.

Then he returned to the thriller. The Third Twin is a scorching suspense novel about a young woman scientist who stumbles over a secret experiment in genetic engineering. Miniseries rights were sold to CBS for $1,400,000, a record price for four hours of television. The series, starring Kelly McGillis and Larry Hagman, was broadcast in the USA in November 1997. In Publishing Trends' annual survey of international fiction bestsellers for 1997, The Third Twin was ranked No. 2 in the world, beaten only by John Grisham's The Partner.

Ken Follett The Hammer of Eden, another nail-biting contemporary suspense story, came in 1998. Code to Zero (2000), about brainwashing and rocket science in the Fifties, went to No.1 on bestseller lists in the USA, German and Italy, and film rights were snapped up by Doug Wick, producer of Gladiator, in a seven-figure deal.

Ken returned to the WWII era with his next two novels: Jackdaws (2001), a World War II thriller about a group of women parachuted into France to destroy a vital telephone exchange – which won the won the Corine Prize for 2003 – and Hornet Flight (2002), about a daring young Danish couple who escape to Britain from occupied Denmark in a rebuilt Hornet Moth biplane with vital information about German radar.

His next novel, Whiteout (2004), is a contemporary thriller about the theft of a deadly virus from a research lab. Set in the remote Scottish Highlands over a stormy, snow-bound Christmas, Whiteout crackles with jealousies, distrust, sexual attraction, rivalries, hidden traitors and unexpected heroes.

His latest novel is World Without End, the long-awaited sequel to The Pillars of the Earth, published in October 2007.

Ken's papers are held in a collection at Saginaw Valley State University in Michigan, United States. These include outlines, first drafts, notes and correspondence, original manuscripts and copies of early books now out of print. He has sold approximately ninety million books worldwide.

Ken Follett is married to Barbara Follett, the Member of Parliament for Stevenage in Hertfordshire. They live in a rambling rectory in Stevenage, 30 miles north of London, with two Labrador retrievers called Custard and Bess. They also have an eighteenth-century town house in London and a holiday home in Antigua. Ken Follett is a lover of Shakespeare, and is often to be seen at performances by the Royal Shakespeare Company in London. An enthusiastic amateur musician, he plays bass guitar in a band called Damn Right I Got the Blues.

He was Chair of the National Year of Reading 1998-99, a British government initiative to raise literacy levels. He is president of the The Dyslexia Institute, Chair of the advisory committee of Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) UK, a council member of the National Literacy Trust, a member of The Welsh Academy, a board director of the National Academy of Writing, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. He is active in numerous Stevenage charities and is Chair of Governors of Roebuck Primary School.

Around 100 million copies of his books have been sold worldwide.