In my last post I talked about how we use audiobooks. One of the first books we listened to together was The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. Pillars is not a dinky little novella; it is a 973 (paperback) page tome. It is epic in scale. We did not wade through all those pages though, we floated our way amongst them on the waves of John Lee’s smooth-as-silk voice. We took it a minute at a time until we reached 40 hours and 54 minutes. And the journey was lovely, well mostly. It was also invigorating, interesting, compelling, frustrating, terrifying, and maddening. All in all, a great listening experience. The same was true for the following book, set in the same place 200 some years later, World Without End.
Pillars and World are set in England in the fictional town of Kingsbridge. Pillars takes place in the 12th century, and World in the 14th. The story is set around the building of a cathedral. The historical details are wonderful. Follett does a splendid job of describing and explaining the history of the time, while keeping you engaged in the stories of his characters. Perhaps not everything is entirely accurate, however he still does a beautiful job of painting a realistic picture for those of us who are not history scholars. I can’t imagine the amount of research he had to do, especially concerning architecture and style.
We were sad to leave Kingsbridge behind after that last book. However, we decided to give Follett’s next series a try with Fall of Giants. This is the first of his ‘Century’ trilogy. This trilogy follows five families. They come from different countries and backgrounds. It begins just before WWI with the first book, and continues through the last half of the 20th century in the third. The final book Edge of Eternity, won’t be out until September this year. We were apprehensive, but we shouldn’t have been. The story lines, historical detail, and description was all there once again.
Follett deals with life issues in interesting, yet familiar ways. I think everyone could find someone in each of his books to relate too. You can also identify people you know in each one.
Rumor is Follett used to write spy novels…I can’t imagine.
Just a quick note about John Lee, the narrator. Sometimes audio books are hard to listen too, even if they are ones you know you love reading. A narrator can make or break an audiobook. However, John Lee is a great reader. Sometimes Mr. Bookshelf and I look specifically for books he reads. We really like to listen to him. I hope they pay him well and provide plenty of water…
Can you imagine 40+ hours of reading aloud? With feeling? Yikes.