“WORLD WITHOUT END” with a Fiber Twist (a book review)

world without end      The children have started back to school and the cooler weather is approaching, so what better way to spend some idol hours then with a book. I read World without End the sequal to  The Pillars of the Earth. Ken Follett wrote these historical fiction novels 18 years apart. The story picks up 200 yrs later in Kingsbridge, England, from 1327 – 1361, during medieval times. The characters are well developed and there are a few plot lines that weave themselves through the 1000+ pages. If you haven’t read Pillars of the Earth don’t let that stop you.
       I enjoyed the book and the various plots. What was an added attraction for me was Caris, the daughter of a wealthy wool merchant, a strong female character. One of her goals was to find the formula for making the “Scarlett” dye used in Italian cloth making. She eventually comes upon the formula using an ounce of madder, and two ounces of alum for every three ounces of wool, after much trial and error. The result is “Kingsbridge scarlet”, a low quality red wool fabric. You get to follow the process from start to finish. During which time the cloth is fulled and teaseled. Wool merchants were imporant in the English economy and trade within Europe. Caris’s business sense lead to many families becoming wealthy, working in the wool trade. She is an incredible business woman, in a time where there was little opportunity for women.

medieval weaving

For the fiber lover in you there are fleece fairs and dyers and weavers and a flavor of how life  was for these artisans.
But, this is only one small part of the book that covers: the plague, cathedral builders, politics of the clergy, wars with France, the unscrupulousness of the nobility and that’s all in the first few pages. 🙂
If the number of pages is a stumbling block…a book on tape (for the car) is a great idea.


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