An Endless World is the “sequel” to the equally colossal novel, The Pillars of the Earth, which was developed in the 12th century. This book was published in 2007, and has become its best seller. Like its predecessor, this novel takes place in a fictional “Kingsbridge” city. It was written by Ken Follett.
This is a novel belonging to the historical novel subgenre. These types of stories are made up of fictional stories that take place in a real historical context, that is, in an era that really existed and that is used as a backdrop to narrate written events.
Narrator and characters
The narrator is omniscient third person. This means that the story is told from a “divine” perspective so that the narrator can get to know the minds of the characters and go back and forth in time and place. Follett’s narration is very conventional in this regard. The reader can easily follow the story without being sidetracked by opposing views.
- Caris: she is the daughter of the wool merchant Edmund Wooler. As a child she wants to become a doctor, but women cannot study medicine in medieval Europe. She stubbornly does not accept this type of ban. Her decision to try puts her in conflict with the church and ends up ending her love relationship.Merthin: He is a descendant of Jack Builder and becomes the architect of Kingsbridge Cathedral. He is a genius just like Jack but for most conservative citizens of the city, he breaks the rules too much so he, like Jack, is forced to leave.
- Ralph: He is Merthin’s brother but a very different person. He is aggressive and impatient, and stands out as a rider and hunter. He will use his war skills to rise to the top of medieval society.
- Gwenda: She is a poor girl, daughter of a worker. She is one of the five children who are in the forest at the beginning of the novel. Simple in appearance, she is determined to marry Wulfric, the richest and most handsome boy in the village.
- Brother Godwyn: Another descendant of Tom Builder and cousin of Caris. He becomes a monk at a young age and is determined to become a prior of Kingsbridge, and is not particular about the means he will use to get there.
Inspiration for the title of this novel came to the author while he was at Mass in York with his wife. Follet noted that many of the psalm-based songs ended with the phrase “as it was in the beginning, now and always, forever and ever, amen.” Realizing it, he whispered to his wife the title of his new novel “A World Without End” and she approved it.
Summary and Synopsis
The novel begins in 1327 on the day after Halloween. Four local children escape from the cathedral city of Kingsbridge and end up together in a nearby forest. They are a thief, a bully, a genius boy and a girl who wants to be a doctor. In the forest they discover a knight and are attacked by two thieves against whom they help the knight fight. They rescue and help the man they saw fight.
Years later, as adults, the lives of these 4 children will be intertwined by ambition, love, greed and revenge. They will witness prosperity and famine as well as plague and war. One of them will manage to travel the world coming home later. Another of them will become a corrupt noble. One of the girls will manage to challenge the power of the medieval church while the other will fight to get her impossible love. Everyone will live their lives under the shadow of the inexplicable murder they witnessed on that fateful day of their childhood in the forest.
10 years after that encounter in the forest, the lives of Merthin the builder, his brother Ralph the warrior, Caris the love of Merthin and Gwenda, the eternal lover of Wulfric embark on an interesting story in which they will fight with the circumstances that They surround them to get what they want and to understand those facts that marked them as children.
This magnificent book of more than a thousand pages is a reading that will capture the reader to the end with its well-told stories and well-developed characters. Provides a taste of life in medieval Europe.
In A World Without End, science and religion conflict with the spread of the plague, but Follett establishes enemy forces earlier when she has Caris visit Healer Mattie Wise, whose potions accuse her of heresy. The overview of sickness and health presented is that God sends sickness as a punishment for human sin.
The disparity between the ruling class and the peasantry is a central focus of this novel. With cunning, persistence, and hard work, some can advance through the ranks. But it is difficult to fight against the established order when you believe that the order itself is what God intended.
The woman’s role as wife and mother is also predetermined by God, and the punishment for leaving that role can be severe. Caris fights this stereotype but, in the world of this novel, she must suffer the consequences, including charges of heresy and witchcraft and possible execution.
- “Personal integrity is like a sword: it should not be brandished until it is put to the test.”
- “He said that when a man surrounds himself with loyal acolytes it is because he does not really have confidence in himself …”
- “Men and women have different dreams.”
- “He had lost all his dignity and looked pathetic. However, Gwenda felt more love for him in those moments than she had ever felt before. ”