Ken Follett, © 1989, this edition: Signet 1990 mass market paperback (40th printing), historical fiction
This nearly one thousand page book promised to be the story of the building of an English cathedral in twelfth century England.
After 260 pages I stopped reading, having grown tired of bad news piled on bad news, of greed, lechery, cruelty, sadness, disappointment, hopes smashed and every possible good or happy event turned aside by a multitude of characters who seemed to exist only to make life miserable for the few people in the book who were likable.
There are too many books I’ll enjoy reading for me to slog through nearly a thousand pages of pain and misery. As I neared the 250 page mark the first old stones were being removed from the cathedral site. Then it would have to be cleared, planned, designed, foundations put in, walls erected and all the rest. I’d hoped to read about an architectural wonder in the making, but what I got felt more like John Connelly meets Thomas Costain.
In all fairness, most of the people who finished the book were enthralled with it and have given it high praise. Perhaps my problem was I lacked sufficient patience to reap whatever reward the book had to offer. But I got tired of every few pages, another “uh-oh, this can’t have a good outcome” event occurring. Perhaps if Follett had sprinkled these things around a little more, but with the relentless pace of trials, troubles and betrayals it wore me down.
This was the second of my planned summer reading books. I hope things get better from here.