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For many years, Pillars of the Earth was my all time favourite book. I have waded my way through 2 copies and need to buy a 3rd, basically because I have worn the books out reading them so often. I was delighted and a bit worried at the same time when I heard another book about Kingsbridge and the Cathedral was due to be released. I was desperate to read more but really did not want to be disappointed.
Was I disappointed? In a word, NO. This book is as brilliant as the 1st. It is really well researched and brings to life the people and hidden political agendas of the era. I loved the characters so much in Pillars of the Earth and didn't think I could feel the same way about new characters in the sequel but I did.
I was slightly worried in the first few pages that World was going to have the same basic plot as Pillars but actually it is very different. Ok, so there is the love story that runs throughout the whole book, with a brave and fearless hero and heroine, just the same as Pillars but other than that it is very different.
The way of thinking has evolved, along with the town and Cathedral. It is interesting to see the huge changes but also to see how human nature has at the same time remained the same. You can smell and taste the people and places off the pages of the book!
The story is based a couple of centuries after Pillars finished. You catch up on what has happened to the town and Cathedral. Like Pillars, the Cathedral and it's occupants play a huge part in the lives of the people of Kingsbridge. The story deals with how peoples opinions and thoughts are formed and dominated by the Church, Kings and the plague. There is the very welcome addition of Nuns in the story, who seem to have a more down to earth approach to life than the Monks, who have grown to be rather superior since the days of Pillars.
I could go into the characters and the plot more but I feel I would be giving too much of the story away. Also, like Pillars, there are many sub plots and a variety of huge characters.
It's probably best to say if you like history raw and ready and want to be swept away and totally absorbed with fabulous characters and places then this could be your buy of the decade.
On the day after Halloween, in the year 1327, four children slip away from the cathedral ... more
city of Kingsbridge. They are a thief, a bully, a boy genius ansd a girl who wants to be a doctor. In the forest they see two men killed. As adults their lives will be braided together by ambition, love, greed and revenge.