I will answer one question promptly: no, it is not as good as it’s predecessor. How could it be? Pillars of the Earth‘s success was a complete surprise to all, an unparalleled achievement. Ken Follett has already written his magnum opus and by writing a sequel, he took a great risk. Luckily, it paid off. Whether considered on it’s own or as the second POTE, World Without End is nothing short of excellent.
I am usually very wary of sequels (especially those concluding a series) as they tend to shortchange the previous novels. However, the ending of WWE (which I will not divulge) happens to be one of the most satisfying and touching conclusions I have ever read.
The story takes place two centuries after the end of the first novel. All the Pillar protagonists are long dead though their legacy (and their descendants) live on. Much is similar and much is different in Kingsbridge. The role of the priory has changed, the rules of society are evolving but the human nature remains the same.
I would give more details if I wasn’t afraid of betraying all that I stand for and ruining both novels for you.
I will, however, say this: Do not read it if you are expecting Mr. Follett to outdo Pillars. Nonetheless, if you keep an open mind, you may very well be surprised… and swept off your feet for a final, beautiful, brilliant journey to Kingsbridge.
“She could see nothing, but there was plenty to listen to.”