This was a reread for me. I actually finished it several months ago, I'm still way behind on blogging. I've really been wanting to check out the television series of this story that was made recently with Eddie Redmayne and Donald Sutherland, but first I thought I'd read the original story again so it was fresh in my mind. And I'm all set now to read the sequel, World Without End.
This story has a lot of layers. It spans about fifty years of time in the fictional town of Kingsbridge, in 12th century England. You follow the fictional characters as they live out real historial events. You get a detailed look at the main characters lives and life during the time period. There are social and religious power and political struggles, and the lives and fortunes of the main characters are centered around the building of the Kingsbride Cathedral. What is going on out in the wide world, the struggle for the throne between Maud and Stephen, directly affects small town life in Kingsbridge. I think the characters are well written. Their stories intertwine and affect each other, and the way the book is wrapped up is very satisfying.
Through his writing, you learn about the author's love of medieval architecture and how he projects it onto some of his characters. My favorite characters are Ellen, Jack, Aliena and Phillip. Here is a clip from the t.v. series they made. It looks well done, I can't wait to see it. And I luuuuv Eddie's voice. ^-^