Previously on World Without End: Merthin and the plague arrived in Kingsbridge, pretty much at the same time. Godwyn ran off to the priory of St John-in-the-Forest, where he immediately slaughtered the prior and gave plague to all the monks. Back home, Caris found herself in charge of the convent after Cecilia’s death, and Petranilla tried some germ warfare out on Roland.
Previously on World Without End: Plague started creeping across Europe, and Caris was sent to a war zone in France to get an official document from the king telling Godwyn to stop screwing over the convent already.
It’s autumn 1341 and Caris and her assistant/lover are finally making their way home, along with some rather sleek looking rats. They arrive at Kingsbridge and are happily greeted by Cecilia. Caris, looking pretty beaten down, tells her she saw worse things than she could imagine. Cecilia says Godwyn started work on his palace while they were away, so Caris produces the king’s order. Godwyn, of course, completely dismisses it, pointing out that the king’s seal isn’t on it (called it!). Caris, suddenly regaining her spirit, reminds him that the seal is always kept in England, but if he doubts the document’s authenticity, the king will swear to it when he comes to visit. She tells Godwyn he could lose his position and maybe even his head if he defies the king. Godwyn, of course, suggests Caris got the document on her back, but Caris keeps her cool and Cecilia orders him to stop construction immediately.
Previously on World Without End: Petranilla killed a few more people, because why not? and Godwyn got in on the action in order to try and steal the convent’s land. For his last trick, he tried to get Caris executed for witchcraft, but she and Cecilia did an end run around him and Caris escaped the punishment by becoming a nun, prompting Merthin to finally hit the road and head to Italy.
We’re seven years on, and back in France with Edward’s armies. His lords report a rather dire situation: they’re in a bad way, manpower-wise, but they can’t get out of France because they can’t cross the Somme because the French have cleverly destroyed all the bridges. So, it looks like they’re going to end up having to stay put and starve through the winter. Ralph says there must be farms around they can raid, and I’d have thought these guys would have already considered that, or that the farms would have been long ago picked clean, but maybe not. One of the other guys says the farms aren’t enough to keep an entire army fed. Edward insists they find a way to cross the river so they can get back to England. Ralph suggests they ford the river at Abbeville and another guy says the French will expect that. Ralph retorts that they could beat the French army there, so Edward gives the order to move out.
Previously on World Without End: Merthin got the contract to build a new bridge, and Godwyn was elected prior. Also, the country’s going to war with France, and Caris wants to build a hospice on priory land.
A year has passed, and the English armies are gathering at Antwerp. Edward arrives and is greeted by his daughter and his mother. Edward greets the first happily, the second rather coolly, as befits their relationship. Isabella asks what the news is and he says he’s rather enjoying warring, far more than politicking. Flanders will join them, but only for a hefty fee, and they don’t have the cash. Isabella shrugs that it’s only money, and surely it can be squeezed from somewhere. No wonder people hated this woman. Edward says he hopes France is worth it and his daughter suggests he get crowned at Reims, which would be beautiful. She’s got her dress picked out and everything. He smiles and hugs her.
The Armchair Anglophile’s three years old now. First off, thanks to everyone who’s been reading, commenting, and visiting the site—it’s been great hearing from you and I hope you’ve enjoyed the recaps etc as much as I’ve enjoyed writing (most of) them. Second, in celebration of the birthday, I thought it only fitting to go back to where this all started: Kingsbridge! Yes, I’m finally getting around to recapping World Without End, the sort-of sequel to Pillars of the Earth. Just so you know, while I did read PotE, I haven’t gotten around to WWE yet, so you’ll get fewer ‘but it was different in the book!’ comments from me this time around. Since this is a celebration of sorts, I think it’s only appropriate to have a little game—feel free to adapt this into Ken Follett Bingo or a drinking game. Using PotE as a guide, I think we can expect the following: