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World Without End

On the day after Halloween, in the year 1327, four children slip away from the cathedral city of Kingsbridge. They are a thief, a bully, a boy genius and a girl who wants to be a doctor. In the forest they see two men killed.

As adults, their lives will be braided together by ambition, love, greed and revenge. They will see prosperity and famine, plague and war. One boy will travel the world but come home in the end; the other will be a powerful, corrupt nobleman. One girl will defy the might of the medieval church; the other will pursue an impossible love. And always they will live under the long shadow of the unexplained killing they witnessed on that fateful childhood day.

World Without End is the sequel to The Pillars of the Earth. However, it doesn’t matter which you read first. The second book is set in the same town, Kingsbridge, but takes place two hundred years later, and features the descendants of the original characters.

Ken’s view

Listen to Ken’s view of World Without End

Excerpts and more

Read the first chapter

Listen to an excerpt

See a table of the principal characters

Is Kingsbridge real?

Discussion guide for students and reading groups

The eight-hour TV mini-series

Pillars of the Earth, the first ‘Kingsbridge’ novel


  • “Follett takes you to a time long past with brio and razor-sharp storytelling. An epic tale in which you will lose yourself.” — The Denver Post
  • Another first-class novel… a remarkable achievement. Prepare to be amazed! — The Lancashire Evening Post read on…
  • Patience is a virtue that this slab of a saga rewards… — The Independent read on…
  • What a week for Ken Follett. His new book, World Without End, lands in the #1 spot on hardcover fiction; The Pillars of the Earth, published 18 years ago, takes #10 on our mass market list. — Publishers Weekly read on…
  • Fans of The Pillars of the Earth who have been calling for a sequel won’t be disappointed. With all the intrigue and romance of the original, World Without End is well worth the 18-year wait. — New York Daily News read on…
  • You really care what happens to the people in this story: you live and breathe the characters from their childhood and, in some cases, share the secrets they’re all so desperately hiding. — Daily Express (UK) read on…
  • A huge book in every way, sweeping and yet detailed, a powerful story packed with superbly drawn characters… — Choice magazine (UK) read on…


Published as

The first edition of World Without End was published by Dutton, New York in October 2007.

As of February 2015, around 11 million copies have been bought.