World Without End by Ken Follett
by Shirley Ayres
We are back in Kingsbridge, England, 200 years after the ending of "The Pillars of the Earth." Naturally, some of these 14th-century folks are ancestors of the people from the 12th century. Kingsbridge is a small city controlled by the monks at the priory. Politics, greed and every deadly sin known to past and present humans are suffered and/or enjoyed by the characters.
Tom Builder, the carpenter who designed and built the 12th-century cathedral has direct descendants in the 14th century. The main character is a good, intelligent architect and builder, Merthin. However, his brother Ralph Fitzgerald is a bully from the time he was a child and becomes a rapist and murderer while serving as a knight to the King.
Merthin and his girlfriend Caris are the pillars of the community, but, as adults and lovers, they are both plagued by misfortune and bad political decisions. The whole of England is nearly wiped out by plague. Kingsbridge is no exception, and Caris, now a nun, has learned how to treat the victims. She and Merthin and his family are not stricken by the illness. Spanning 34 years (from December 1327 to November 1361), the characters are followed from childhood to adulthood and show how some people rise above their circumstances and become leaders, while others become victims.
Very good book. Another long one with more than 1,000 pages and the same teeny, weeny font. But so intriguing.