Set in the same town in England, but two hundred years after the events in Pillars of the Earth. Although it feels very like the same world - while external events are different (different monarch; Black Death), the lives experienced by the townfolk seem pretty similar.
In fact, the story here feels rather a re-hash of themes and characters in the first book: there are corrupt clergymen, honest builders, and evil lords. But, I didn't mind at all because like the first book, it was a really good read. It was another mammoth read, at around 1200 pages, but it was the sort of book you could have kept on reading indefinitely, and I was disappointed when it finished.
Again, like the first book, there was little doubt who was good and who was bad, and you were rooting for some of the characters and getting cross when the baddies put one over on them. But even though your feelings are being rather unsubtly manipulated, it's just nice to go along with it and enjoy the story, safe in the knowledge that in all likelihood, the goodies will win in the end.
Quite a lot about the Black Death, and the conflict between the monks, who are regarded as more capable and competent healers, versus the women (mostly) who, while they have no formal education use their experience to guide them in their treatment of plague sufferers.
Very good read though.
Completed : 14-Aug-2010