I have been putting off reading Follett’s Pillars of the Earth until I had time to deal with all 900+ pages, and I finally started it. It was indeed a page turner. Had it been shorter, I’d have been tempted to stay up all night to finish it; however, knowing the end of the next section would be as much of a cliff hanger as the one I had just finished encouraged me to be reasonable. I like novels set in the Middle Ages; I especially liked focus on ordinary people instead of royalty. Even the knights seemed ordinary.
Then came his World Without End, another 900+ that takes place 200 or so years later, so of course I started that as well. Although it was fun to recognize names of ancestors, knowing the first book was not at all essential for following the second. In fact, my first impression (maybe the first 150 pages) was that it was going to be the same story with different names, but that soon changed. The conflict between “natural” medicine of the women and “professional” medicine (blood letting and nasty poultices) of the men, between authority and empiricism, was well done.
I enjoyed having a strong woman character in both books, a stronger one in the second. I wondered, though, as I heard modern feminist theory coming out of her mouth. To be sure there would have had to have been rebels all along, but I wasn’t sure they would have used the same arguments. A small complaint, really, since I enjoyed reading those conversations and thoughts.
I am now 31st on the waiting list for his Fall of Giants. I hope everyone doesn’t take their full 2 weeks.