World Without End

Version: Unabridged
Author: Ken Follett
Narrator: John Lee
Genres: Fiction & Literature, Suspense, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Penguin Audiobooks
Published In: October 2007
# of Units: 36 CDs
Length: 41 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 hiscraft.

Reviews (11)

Book Without End

Written by Anonymous on April 22nd, 2015

  • Book Rating: 1/5

Book Without End would be a more apt title for this endless saga of predictably evil and predictably angelic people who are written with 21st Century sensibilities but stuck in the middle ages.

World Without End

Written by Anonymous from Clover, SC on August 30th, 2011

  • Book Rating: 5/5

This, along with Pillars of the Earth has kept me captivated more than I have been by a book in years. People talk about the disappointing raunchiness. But, the reality is, these things happened. If the author is to tell the story to historical accurateness, then that is just part of it. I think these two books cover so many points of interest that really keep the listener engaged. In today's busy environment, I used this as my escape and was grateful most days that I live now and not back in those times where life was much harder that I will ever know. I highly recommend this!

It Aint Pillars, Thats for Sure

Written by trheyer from Matthews, NC on April 25th, 2011

  • Book Rating: 3/5

Loved Pillars to death and also loved the TV series. But this one is a bit lamer and more tedious to get through. Characters are not as endearing or loveable/dislikeable as previous novel. I muddled through it, got it and left a bit disappointed.

World Without End

Written by Anonymous on March 16th, 2011

  • Book Rating: 5/5

As with Ken Follett's book Pillars of the Earth this is one of the best books I have every listened to. I cannot stop listening to this story. I listen to one CD after another. Ken Follett's characters come alive. I hope he write another in the series.

Should be named "Book Without End"

Written by Seaweed on January 15th, 2011

  • Book Rating: 2/5

I really loved Pillars of the Earth and hoped this would be the same but I am returning the set after listening to 7 of the CDs. Still don't hear much of a plot, and there is completely gratuitous sex about every ten minutes. I don't mind it being part of the story, but jeez, this is just silly. On par with a Harlequin bodice-ripper. You have to wonder what Ken Follett was going through in life as he wrote this book; my guess is he had probably just discovered Viagra. Life's too short to read bad books!

world without end

Written by Anonymous on June 21st, 2010

  • Book Rating: 5/5

My only disappointment was that the book ended. I was grateful for this sequel. I never cared about the late middle ages and now I wanted to know all about how everything worked, Church, state, medicine, commerce. I cared about farming, and feudalism, and even archery. And, of course, I followed with love and interest all the characters as they dealt with the plague and each other.

Unnecessarily Raunchy

Written by Anonymous on June 9th, 2010

  • Book Rating: 3/5

This is Pillars of the Earth cheapened for no good reason. I'm no prude but it was almost embarrassing to listen to. There were definitely good things about it, but I'm disappointed that I waited so long and this is what he did to the story.


Written by wadeb from Nokesville, VA on June 3rd, 2010

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Excellent book, I very much enjoyed listening. Narrator is outstanding as well. Despite it's length, it's a fast moving story.


Written by sey hey kid from Chattanooga, TN on December 10th, 2009

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Best book I have ever listened to!! The narrator is superb. I will listen to all of his works. He and Ken Follett make an unbeatable team!


Written by Anonymous from Southbury, CT on December 8th, 2009

  • Book Rating: 5/5

This book was as great as I remember Pillars of the Earth being when I read that many years ago. Great story and characters.

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.