Good Reading : December January 2008
TERMS AND CONDITIONS 1. Inform part of these conditions. 2. The promoter is Good Reading Magazine Pty Ltd. 3. Entry is open to all residents of Australia. 4. Entries must be made between 01/12/07 and 31/01/08 and be sent to Good Reading Magazine, GPO Box 3835, Sydney NSW 2001 or entries can be made at http://www.goodreadingmagazine.com.au 5. The draw will take place on 01/02/08. 6. Prizes cannot be transferred or redeemed for cash. 7. The promoter accepts no responsibility for late, lost or misdirected mail. 8. Any change in the value of the prize between the publishing date and the date the prize is claimed is not the responsibility of the promoter. 9. The Judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. 10. The winners will be notified by mail and the winners’ names will be published in the March 2008 issue of Good Reading and will also appear on the Good Reading website during February 2008. Win This month 5 lucky readers could each win a copy of World Without End by Ken Follett, valued at $49.95. To enter, tell us the name of the village in which the cathedral was built. Simply write your answer, and your name and contact details, on the back of an envelope and mail to ‘Ken Follett Competition’, GPO Box 3835, Sydney NSW 2001, or enter online at www.goodreadingmagazine.com cover story who laboured constructing these architectural wonders for the centuries between the Dark Ages and the Renaissance are now part of today’s literary landscape. His monumental (no pun intended) novel was published in 1989 and received unprecedented reviews as a turning point in modern fiction. It remained on the New York Times bestseller list for eighteen weeks, reaching No 1 position in the UK, Canada and Italy. German readers kept Pillars on their bestseller list for six years. It still sells 100,000 copies a year in the United States alone! Despite writing numerous books since Pillars was first published, Ken Follett has been pursued by avid fans who demanded that he write a sequel. As though trapped in the late-Middle Ages, they want to know what happened to the cathedral in subsequent centuries, who prayed in its vast interior, and what events occurred in the ancient village of Kingsbridge, located between Plymouth,Torbay and Dartmoor in southern England, in which the cathedral was built. And so he has finally written World Without End, a book in which the events surrounding the cathedral and town take place two hundred years after the church was originally built in the 11th century. It opens in 1327; it’s Halloween, and during the festivities four youngsters escape the dark and claustrophobic interior of the cathedral. One of the children is a nasty little bully, another is a brilliant young boy, the third is a young girl desperate to become a doctor, and the last is a girl who is forced to be a thief to save her family from starvation. The fact that one of the young characters wants to become a doctor is an indication that medicine will play an important plot-point in the novel. And when Europe is devastated by the Black Death, the notorious bubonic plague which killed between a third and a half of the inhabitants of the continent, we come to understand why this time period is considered to be the beginning of modern medicine. Speaking from his hotel room in New York, Ken Follett told me: ‘I chose the 14th century because it’s the confluence of so many extraordinary events. It’s almost impossible for us to conceive of the fear which permeated Europe when the Black Death struck.Virtually every family lost some of its members to the plague, and in an age where superstition competed with religion, it produced the most profound changes in society. ‘When so many readers wrote me letters and emails demanding a sequel, I had to think about when it would be set. I considered the Elizabethan period, but much had already been written and filmed in this era, and any later era would have been too distant from the medieval craftsmen and priests who were part of Pillars of the Earth. And so I decided on the 14th century. I found a strong story and used the same type of storytelling style for World Without End that I’d developed for Pillars of the Earth. ‘The research was endlessly fascinating,’ said Follett. ‘As you read books about the period or talk to experts, they give you little vignettes of facts which a writer can then blend into the narrative. And being such a big book, it enabled me to write it at a majestic pace which meant that the story kept developing as I wrote.’ How does he think his loyal readers will react to World Without End? ‘Well, it’s always risky for an author to try to predict the sales of his books, but early indications are very positive,’ he said. ‘The Italian edition, called Mondo Senza Fine , was published in the middle of September, and it had only been on sale for a week when it topped the bestseller lists. There are various publication dates on a roll-out for the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the Middle East. It’ll be published in America and Canada and elsewhere during 2007 and 2008. ‘It’s a massive logistical feat,’ he said. ‘I’m often awestruck by how my books manage to get to all parts of the world.’ When asked what his next book would be about, he said: ‘For the moment, at least, I’ll have to keep that under my hat. Not because I’m obsessively secretive, but until it’s more developed, I don’t know whether or not I’ll continue with it. Sometimes I’m well into a book and realise that it’s not work- ing, so I discontinue. But one thing I can tell you is that it won’t be about Kingsbridge or the cathedral! There’s always the chance that I will return to them one day, but I’ll have to put a lot of time and space between books before I do.’ In the meantime, he’s given his readers a thousand pages in which to lose themselves in time and space. World Without End by Ken Follett is published by Pan Macmillan, rrp $49.95. Follett ... re-invented himself by radically changing his style, his genre, his landscape and his time-period with a book that immediately became, and remains, one of fiction’s all-time blockbusters: The Pillars of the Earth.