continues on a new path
By J. Rentilly
KEN FOLLETT knows cliffhangers. The creative
maestro, who made his name penning heart-stop-ping spy thrillers such as Eye of the Needle and The
Key to Rebecca, has sold more than 90 million books
in a career spanning more than three decades.
Though Follett’s early work was
inspired by the James Bond novels
of Sir Ian Fleming (“an iconic hero
and sharp, vivid prose,” he says), the
author believes spy thrillers are increasingly difficult to pen in today’s
volatile global climate. “The dangers
are too real for us,” he says.
So, in 1989, Follett decided
to try something new, leaping from
the proverbial cliff into a wholly
new genre, and wrote The Pillars
of the Earth. A majestic, sweeping Ken Follett
historical novel set a millennium
ago, its narrative—ripe with full-blooded characters, hairpin plotting and soaring
romance—is devoted to the construction of a
For Follett’s die-hard fans, the author’s greatest
cliffhanger may have been: When would he pen a
sequel to Pillars, his most critically and commercially
successful book The answer is now, with World
Without End, this month’s Book Pick.
“I agonized for a long time over what a sequel
would be. I couldn’t write another book about the
same characters, because by the end of Pillars they
are all very old or dead,” Follett says. “I couldn’t write
another book about building a cathedral, for that
would be the same book. And I was very scared of
writing something that would disappoint all those
millions of people who love Pillars.”
In the years following the publication of Pillars,
recently ranked by the BBC as one of the 100 greatest
novels ever written and by German readers as the
third-best book ever written (bested only by Lord of
the Rings and, uh, the Bible), the 58-year-old Follett,
who splits his time among homes in London,
Hertfordshire—which is just north of London—and
Antigua, penned six well-received adventure tales.
But the pageantry and resonance of that watershed
novel remained on his mind, and fans and his publisher alike begged for a follow-up.
Finally, Follett once again leaped from the cliff,
this time inspired by books like Gone with the Wind
that “tell a personal drama against the sweep of great
historical events.” Honoring a career-long routine of
rising early and heading straight to work, Follett
employed his “unvarying method” of crafting extensive character backgrounds and meticulous chapter
COSTCO HAS 50 copies
of Ken Follett’s World
Without End with signed
bookplates to give away.
To enter, print your name,
address and daytime phone
number on a postcard or
letter and send it to:
Ken Follett, The Costco
Connection, P.O. Box 34088,
Seattle, WA 98124-1088.
Or send an e-mail to
with “Ken Follett” in the
No purchase is necessary. Open
to legal residents of the U.S.
(except Puerto Rico) who are age
18 or older at the time of entry
and who are current Costco
members. One entry
per household. Entries
m ust be received or
postmarked by Decem-
b er 3, 2007. Winners
w ill be randomly
selected and notified
by mail on or before
January 3, 2008. The
v alue of the prize
is $35. Void where
W inners are responsible
for all applicable federal, state
and local taxes. Odds of winning
depend on the number of eligible
entries received. Employees of
Costco or Penguin and their
families are not eligible.
outlines to find the key to World Without End.
The Pillars sequel is set 200 years after the original,
during the Black Plague, a cultural, religious and
political turning point during which faith, medicine
and technology changed the face of the planet
and mankind’s very approach to
QUIN TAS-FUNDACIÓN CATEDRAL SANTA MARIA
Follett believes the struggle of
his novel’s characters—descendents
of Pillars’ dramatic personae—and
the book’s narrative thrust, featuring do-or-die, white-knuckle conflicts over power, science, faith and
humanity, hold a potent contemporary resonance.
“The world is full of people
who would like to return t o the
authoritarianism of the
Middle Ages,” says Follett. “I
think the book speaks to our
lives today, hopefully.”
When Follett is not pounding the keyboard, he can frequently be found leaping of f
another cliff—working the pub circuit with h is
band Damn Right I Got the Blues, a welcom e
creative outlet for the master storyteller.
“Writing is cerebral, and playing in a ban d is
the complete opposite; it’s sensory. There’s no t ime
to think things through when you’re in the middle of
a song; you just have to play,” he says. “Anyway, my
band is so loud that you can’t think.” C
J. Rentilly is a Los Angeles–based journalist
who writes about film, music and literature for a
variety of national and international publications.
Pennie Clark Ianniciello
Costco Book Buyer
I AM THE FIRST to admit that patience has never been
one of my strong traits. However, some things are worth
the wait. A good example is Ken Follett’s new novel,
World Without End, which is the sequel to his 1989
novel The Pillars of the Earth.
Set in the same town of Knightsbridge, England, this
epic story takes place 200 years later. The extraordinary
cast of characters find themselves examining their old
ways while being exposed to new ideas about medicine,
justice and architecture. It’s captivating as a stand-alone
or doubly enjoyable when read with its predecessor.
Ken Follett’s World Without End is available at most
Costco warehouses and costco.com.