Ahem. That… that didn’t sound right. Hold on. Let me try this again.
Did you know that thousand-page books turn into 36-disc audiobooks? Thirty-six. Three six. That is a lot of discs. And a lot of audio. And considering it took me two months to get through Pillars of the Earth while actually reading it, I’m happy it only took me five weeks to get through this sequel.
The problem, I find, with Ken Follett’s books (well, the two I’ve read, anyway) is that sure, they are huge sweeping epics of time and place and they are quite beautiful in a big-picture sense. But. On a chapter-by-chapter basis? Soooooo repetitive. I summed up this book to my husband approximately like this:
Stuff. Sex. More stuff. More sex. Treachery and betrayal. Stuff. Awesome uses of logic and reverse psychology. Rape. Betrayal. Logic. Psychology. Sex. Psychology. Dude being flayed alive. Stuff. Sex. Plague. Etc.
The dude being flayed alive bit, I had not predicted. The other stuff? All the same from Pillars of the Earth. Well, not the Plague.
And so the plus side of the audio is that I can zone out while listening and pretty much not miss a thing, because few specific scenes are terribly important and if they are, Follett will, I promise, repeat whatever happened at least six more times, sometimes in the same chapter. The minus side is that I hear repetitions more easily than I read them, and so I couldn’t listen to this book for more than a couple hours at a time, hence the taking forever.
Anyway, what’s this book about, you say? Um. Well. It’s this sweeping epic, right? And so it starts off with these kids and ends with these same kids as old men and ladies. One of the kids is the raping and pillaging and murdering type, two are creative and ambitious but one’s a girl so she can’t play with the nice toys, and one is of low self-esteem and comes from a ridiculous home life. And… they do their things.
Follett does an excellent job with the characters and how they interact and grow and change or not change, and I cannot say he doesn’t bring the action or the drama, see Man Being Flayed Alive. I just wish he could be a bit more concise about it!
Recommendation: For fans of Pillars of the Earth and other sweeping epics, or people who need something to fall asleep to at night over the next several weeks. Definitely best read in small pieces.