Not as good as The Pillars of the Earth, but still pretty darn good.
This is the “sequel” to TPOTE – except 200 years later. Some of the characters are descendants of those in the first book. And of course, there’s a huge cast of characters – mainly Caris, Merthin, Ralph, and Gwenda, and it takes place in the town of Kingsbridge.
I really like this book mainly because (like TPOTE) it was incredibly engrossing and I could read hundreds of pages for hours without getting bored. I don’t know how he does it, but Follett has a real talent for making a story grab you. I also liked how this book showed the emergence of more common sense in the medicine world, like staying away from sick people, and not bleeding people for every little problem.
I did not like this as much as TPOTE though, for several reasons;
– The characters were not as easy to like or dislike. A lot of them blurred the line there, and it was hard to cheer for anything in particular (except for Merthin). For example, Caris was a great strong female character – except she’s incredibly frustrating because she denies herself what she wants, and then whines about it. Over and over.
– A lot of the “good” characters were just too lucky. In TPOTE, all the personal battles in town were fought really hard, but I found that in this one a lot of times good luck just came around to make everything turn out okay.
– The overall story itself wasn’t very strong. It tried to circle back to the beginning, focusing on the letter again, but it didn’t really seem to matter a whole lot. The way TPOTE brought tied everything together at the end was much better. The story also might have seemed weaker because it was the same basic story as TPOTE, but with different (and less enjoyable) characters.
ANYWAYS, it was a good book and I’m considering checking out the author’s new book, Fall of Giants.
3.75 stars (specific, I know…)