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Questions for Ken Follett
Amazon.com: What a phenomenon The Pillars of the Earth has become. It was a bestseller when it was published in 1989, but it's only gained in popularity since then--it's the kind of book that people are incredibly passionate about. What has it been like to see it grow an audience like that?
Follett: At first I was a little disappointed that Pillars sold not much better than my previous book. Now I think that was because it was a little different and people were not sure how to take it. As the years went by and it became more and more popular, I felt kind of vindicated. And I was very grateful to readers who spread the news by word of mouth.
Amazon.com: Pillars was a departure for you from your very successful modern thrillers, and after writing it you returned to thrillers. Did you think you'd ever come back to the medieval period? What brought you to do so after 18 years?
Follett: The main reason was the way people talk to me about Pillars. Some readers say, "Its the best book Ive ever read." Others tell me they have read it two or three times. I got to the point where I really had to find out whether I could do that again.
Amazon.com: In World Without End you return to Kingsbridge, the same town as the previous book, but two centuries later. What has changed in two hundred years?
Follett: In the time of Prior Philip, the monastery was a powerful force for good in medieval society, fostering education and technological advance. Two hundred years later it has become a wealthy and conservative institution that tries to hold back change. This leads to some of the major conflicts in the story.
Amazon.com: World Without End features two strong-willed female characters, Caris and Gwenda. What room to maneuver did a medieval English town provide for a woman of ambition?
Follett: Medieval people paid lip-service to the idea that women were inferior, but in practice women could be merchants, craftspeople, abbesses, and queens. There were restrictions, but strong women often found ways around them.
Amazon.com: When you sit down to imagine yourself into the 14th century, what is the greatest leap of imagination you have to make from our time to theirs? Is there something we can learn from that age that has been lost in our own time?
Follett: Its hard to imagine being so dirty. People bathed very rarely, and they must have smelled pretty bad. And what was kissing like in the time before toothpaste was invented?--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Entertaining, insightfull and historically educational, and page turner. Great follow up to Pillars.Published 7 hours ago by Carolina Agurcia
entertaining easy reading. Filled with information about life in the 1300s in EnglandPublished 14 hours ago by Conrad Zimmermann
I came across a suggestion to read a book for summer. I love pillars of the earth, so I thought this might be interesting. I was not disappointed. Read morePublished 18 hours ago by Darylee with Jafra
Sequel to Pillars of the Earth - wonderful reading. I love Ken FolletPublished 2 days ago by reader1234
What a story, talk about not being able to put it down, I didn't want it to end. Ken knows how to create scary villains. Read morePublished 3 days ago by mike macchiorola
This is a very excellently-written book with a story that draws you in and keeps you turning the pages. I loved learning more about the 1300's. Read morePublished 4 days ago by Sarah A. Jahnke