FREE audio sample
Written by Ken Follett - Audio book performed by Richard E. Grant - Abridged Fiction - 12 COMPACT DISCS - 14 hours
Publisher, Penguin Audiobooks (October 2007)
Ken Follett has 90 million readers worldwide. The Pillars of the Earth is his bestselling book of all time. Now, eighteen years after the publication of The Pillars of the Earth, Ken Follett has written the most-anticipated sequel of the year—World Without End.
In 1989 Ken Follett astonished the literary world with The Pillars of the Earth, a sweeping epic novel set in twelfth-century England centered on the building of a cathedral and many of the hundreds of lives it affected. Critics were overwhelmed—“it will hold you, fascinate you, surround you” (Chicago Tribune)—and readers everywhere hoped for a sequel.
World Without End takes place in the same town of Kingsbridge, two centuries after the townspeople finished building the exquisite Gothic cathedral that was at the heart of The Pillars of the Earth. The cathedral and the priory are again at the center of a web of love and hate, greed and pride, ambition and revenge, but this sequel stands on its own. This time the men and women of an extraordinary cast of characters find themselves at a crossroad of new ideas— about medicine, commerce, architecture, and justice. In a world where proponents of the old ways fiercely battle those with progressive minds, the intrigue and tension quickly reach a boiling point against the devastating backdrop of the greatest natural disaster ever to strike the human race—the Black Death.
Three years in the writing, and nearly eighteen years since its predecessor, World Without End breathes new life into the epic historical novel and once again shows that Ken Follett is a masterful author writing at the top of his craft.
About the Author: Most people first heard of Ken Follett when he wrote Eye of the Needle (1978), a taut and original thriller with a memorable woman character in the central role, which spent 30 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. The book won the Edgar award and became an outstanding film starring Kate Nelligan and Donald Sutherland. He went on to write four more bestselling thriller: Triple (1979); The Key to Rebecca (1980); The Man from St. Petersburg (1982); and Lie Down with Lions (1986). Cliff Robertson and David Soul starred in the miniseries of The Key to Rebecca. In 1994 Timothy Dalton, Omar Shariff and Marg Helgenberger starred in the miniseries of Lie Down with Lions. He also wrote On Wings of Eagles (1983), the true story of how two employees of Ross Perot were rescued from Iran during the revolution of 1979. The book was made into a miniseries with Richard Crenna as Ross Perot and Burt Lancaster as Colonel “Bull” Simmons.
He then surprised readers by radically changing course with The Pillars of the Earth, a novel about building a cathedral in the middle ages. Published in September 1989 to rave reviews, it was on the New York Times bestseller list for eighteen weeks. It also reached the No. 1 position on lists in Canada, Great Britain, and Italy, and was on the German bestseller list for six years. It has now become a worldwide cult: there is even a Pillars of the Earth holiday. Although he abandoned the straightforward spy genre, his stories still had powerful narrative drive, strong women characters, and elements of surprise and intrigue. He followed Pillars with Night Over Water, A Dangerous Fortune, and A Place Called Freedom.
Then he returned to the thriller. The Third Twin (1996) is a scorching suspense novel about a young woman scientist who stumbles over a secret experiment in genetic engineering. Miniseries rights were sold to CBS for $1,400,000, a record price for four hours of television. The series, starring Kelly McGillis and Larry Hagman, was broadcast in the USA in November 1997. In Publishing Trends’ annual survey of international fiction bestsellers of 1997, The Third Twin was ranked No. 2 in the world, beaten only by John Grisham’s The Partner. The Hammer of Eden, another nail-biting contemporary suspense story, came in 1998. Code Zero, was about brainwashing and rocket science in the fifties, which was published in December 2000. Only days after the novel was finished, film rights were snapped up by Doug Wick, producer of Gladiator, in a seven-figure deal. Then came Jackdaws a cinematic thriller about a ragtag, all-female band of British agents, which was published in December 2001.
Ken Follett is married to Barbara Follett, the Member of Parliament for Stevenage in Hertfordshire. They live in a rambling rectory in Stevenage with two Labrador retrievers called Custard and Bess. They also have an eighteenth-century town house in London and a holiday home in Antigua. Ken Follett is a lover of Shakespeare, and is often to be seen at performances by the Royal Shakespeare Company at London’s Barbican Theatre.
An enthusiastic amateur musician, he plays bass guitar in a band called Damn Right I Got the Blues. He was Chair of the National Year of Reading 1998-99, a British government initiative to raise literacy levels. He is president of the Dyslexia Institute, a council member of the National Literary Trust, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
Ken Follett was born on June 5, 1949 in Cardiff, Wales, the son of a tax-inspector. He was educated at state schools and graduated from University College, London, with an Honors degree in philosophy. He was made a Fellow of the college in 1995. He became a reporter, first with his hometown newspaper the South Wales Echo and later with the London Evening News. While working on the Evening News he wrote his first novel, which was published but did not become a bestseller. He then went to work for a small London publishing house, Everest Books, eventually becoming Deputy Managing Director. He continued to write novels in his spare time. Eye of the Needle was his eleventh book, and his first success. To date, Ken Follett has written thirteen international bestsellers.