World without End
Ken Follett's recent novel, World without End was on my reading list to enjoy during the month of July.
While I found it very readable and a good book for summertime, I don't think it was as good as The Pillars of the Earth. The setting was the town of Kingsbridge (again), and several of the characters were "descendants" of characters in the first book, but this novel was more about a place and time rather than about specific people. And none of the characters were as compelling as those in The Pillars of the Earth - at least not to me. My main gripe was that the women characters seemed to be living out some kind of 21st century feminist fantasy... in the 1300's.
This story takes place in 14th century England and covers the plague and the rule of Edward II, as seen and experienced in the town of Kingsbridge and a few nearby villages. The main characters are Merthin, a builder; his brother Ralph, a squire, and later an earl; Caris, a wool merchant's daughter who becomes a nun; and Gwenda, the daughter of a petty thief.
It's not great literature, but it was a decent escape for the summer.