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Ken Follett

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Margaret
Bibliomaniac
Interest in HF: I can't answer this in 100 characters. Sorry.
Favorite HF book: Checkmate, the final novel in the Lymond series
Preferred HF: Literary novels. Late medieval and Renaissance.
Location: Catskill, New York, USA
Contact:

Ken Follett

Postby Margaret » Tue August 26th, 2008, 12:01 am

Ken Follett's novels set in medieval England, Pillars of the Earth and World Without End, were both bestsellers. I have to be happy about that, because they have introduced a lot of people to the joys of historical fiction who might otherwise have assumed it was all just fluffy romance or tomes that only history professors could love. I enjoyed these novels, though they are not on my top ten list of best historical fiction of all time. Follett wrote thrillers before he wrote these novels, and his skill at crafting a story is evident. These are also well-researched in many respects. He knows an amazing amount about cathedrals were built, and weaves this knowledge into Pillars of the Earth without ever dragging the story down. My chief complaint is that his characters' attitudes often feel too modern for the times they lived in, which made them feel less real to me.

I've reviewed Pillars of the Earth at http://http://www.HistoricalNovels.info/Pillars_of_the_Earth.html.

My review of World Without End is at http://http://www.HistoricalNovels.info/World_Without_End.html.
Browse over 5000 historical novel listings and over 650 reviews at www.HistoricalNovels.info

tsjmom
Reader

Postby tsjmom » Thu August 28th, 2008, 5:04 pm

While I have enjoyed several of his other novels, POTE was boring, boring, boring IMHO! I wasn't interested in the minute architectural detail, it was 2x as long is it should have been, and how many times did we have to go on the "merry go round" of good builder vs evil baron?

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Vanessa
Bibliomaniac
Currently reading: The Two Houses by Fran Cooper
Interest in HF: The first historical novel I read was Katherine by Anya Seton and this sparked off my interest in this genre.
Favorite HF book: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell!
Preferred HF: Any
Location: North Yorkshire, UK

Postby Vanessa » Thu August 28th, 2008, 6:38 pm

I loved Pillars of the Earth and have World Without End on my TBR pile.

I thought it was just one big adventure - Prior Philip and the Cathedral of Doom!! I also got vibes of Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves, with the outlaws, saracens and Lincoln green clothes.

I thought the plot flowed along quite swiftly, it was very easy to read. I think that the writing was fairly simple and the author did seem to repeat himself. I found the story a little convenient sometimes, quite mad in fact, but I could cope with it - I just got totally involved in it all. However, I did find the rape scenes quite graphic. But all in all I found it a fabulous read.

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MLE (Emily Cotton)
Bibliomaniac
Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favorite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

Postby MLE (Emily Cotton) » Thu August 28th, 2008, 7:59 pm

Dropped this clunker at the first rape scene. I chacked and discovered that many more, all equally and unnecessarily graphic, were still to come. The period details were inaccurate, the realities of the characters lives ditto, flat one-sided protags, and stunk so far -- it didn't look like it was going to get better. Even though, as a architect's daughter, I love discussion about buildings.
So I found something better to do.

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Misfit
Bibliomaniac
Location: Seattle, WA

Postby Misfit » Thu August 28th, 2008, 10:13 pm

I wish I had dropped it, although I ended up skimming quite a bit to get it over with. Interestingly this year I read Pargeter's Heaven Tree Trilogy (published well before Pillars) and it's about a master stone mason hired to build a great cathedral. Sound familiar?

This was the book wherein I learned to look at the one star reviews as well as the five star glowing reviews. I would probably have avoided it and/or gone to the lib and saved my $$$.

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EC2
Bibliomaniac
Location: Nottingham UK
Contact:

Postby EC2 » Thu August 28th, 2008, 10:15 pm

I read it a while ago - like late 80's and thought it needed a good edit (confirmed by someone I know in publishing who said that they'd wanted to edit it but daren't because the author has a reputation for being awkward about that kind of thing and as a bestseller anyway, they A) didn't want to upset him, B) why fix it when it's not broke in terms of sales.
Second time around (about 3yrs ago) I read it for a group read on an e-list and in the light of increased historical knowledge and dare I say it maturity, found that I was reading a wall banger. The historical accuracy is poor - anachronisms of detail and mindset on just about every page and the sexual violence in it is not of the Medieval era, but owes more to grubby 20thC fantasies. The 'period' feel I received from it was Hollywood with a rating of 18. It is a page turner though.
Les proz e les vassals
Souvent entre piez de chevals
Kar ja li coard n’I chasront

'The Brave and the valiant
Are always to be found between the hooves of horses
For never will cowards fall down there.'

Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal

www.elizabethchadwick.com

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Susan
Bibliomaniac
Location: New Jersey, USA

Postby Susan » Thu August 28th, 2008, 10:39 pm

I have to admit I did enjoy both books. For me, they were a fun read like the Indiana Jones films are fun films. Neither are "great" in their artistic fields, but you can have a good time with them. My husband even read them and he always calls my books boring!
~Susan~
~Unofficial Royalty~
Royal news updated daily, information and discussion about royalty past and present
http://www.unofficialroyalty.com/

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Misfit
Bibliomaniac
Location: Seattle, WA

Postby Misfit » Fri August 29th, 2008, 12:15 am

"Susan" wrote:I have to admit I did enjoy both books. For me, they were a fun read like the Indiana Jones films are fun films. Neither are "great" in their artistic fields, but you can have a good time with them. My husband even read them and he always calls my books boring!



Now when people approach the book(s) with that attitude I have no problem. My hissy fits were all those people raving over this historical masterpiece -- an accurate representation the time and more. Funny, one of my Amzn friends recently reviewed WWOE and made a point that it was not an historicaly correct depiction, that it was to be read for fun (although even then I disagree with that much sex and violence being fun). I had to leave her a comment that even her review couldn't convince me to read another KF novel. :o :p

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Margaret
Bibliomaniac
Interest in HF: I can't answer this in 100 characters. Sorry.
Favorite HF book: Checkmate, the final novel in the Lymond series
Preferred HF: Literary novels. Late medieval and Renaissance.
Location: Catskill, New York, USA
Contact:

Postby Margaret » Sat August 30th, 2008, 12:00 am

What did you think of Heaven Tree, Misfit? It's one of my all-time favorites. Much better IMHO than Pillars.
Browse over 5000 historical novel listings and over 650 reviews at www.HistoricalNovels.info

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Misfit
Bibliomaniac
Location: Seattle, WA

Not quite five star material, but still a pretty good read

Postby Misfit » Sat August 30th, 2008, 12:20 am

Margaret, I loved it. I have a review of it posted here and at Amazon.


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