World Without End: The Battle for Kingsbridge

world-without-end-world-without-end-1649500631Previously on World Without End: Lots and lots of people died, and lots and lots of people cried about it. Ralph was made the new Earl of Shiring, Gwenda led a peasants’ revolt, Caris and Merthin finally slept together, and Petranilla claimed one son and had the other one named bishop.

We start off with a very impressive tracking shot over Kingsbridge, so we can get one last look at the town that Godwyn is currently trashing. He’s nonsensically wrecking one woman’s business because she has no husband, never mind that her husband is only absent because he died of plague. What’s Godwyn’s plan here? Impoverish as many people as possible? How would that benefit him in any way? Thomas watches, looking sad. In the background, we see two women hanging with ‘whore’ signs around their necks. Yep, Godwyn’s back in charge, all right.

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World Without End: Best Laid Plans

20216981.jpg-r_640_600-b_1_D6D6D6-f_jpg-q_x-xxyxxPreviously 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.

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World Without End: Plague

World_Without_EndPreviously 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.

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World Without End: Into Hell

20239849.jpg-r_640_600-b_1_D6D6D6-f_jpg-q_x-xxyxxPreviously 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.

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World Without End: Nunsense

World.Without.End.S01E08Previously 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.

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World Without End: Election

worldwithout_nixon_2449442bPreviously on World Without End: The townspeople decided to hang Mattie, because Brother Joseph’s doing such a bang-up job keeping them all alive. Once they all crowd onto the bridge, however, it collapses, killing quite a few of them (including Mattie) and giving Petranilla a chance to move her son up the ranks at the priory.

In the immediate aftermath of the collapse, the wounded and dead are being brought to the cathedral, where Caris is directing operations, presumably because Joseph’s off chanting in a corner somewhere. Monks and nuns try to attend to the injured and give last rites. Roland’s brought in, accompanied by his child bride, who seems genuinely upset. Philippa thanks Ralph for saving him and calls him brave. Caris rushes over and asks to examine Roland, but his oldest son refuses to let her lay a hand on him. She asks if he’d prefer Joseph and the guy lets her get to work. She notes that the skull has been fractured through to the brain and starts trying to fix him.

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World Without End: Nothing’s Certain but Death and Taxes

20216984.jpg-r_640_600-b_1_D6D6D6-f_jpg-q_x-xxyxxPreviously on World Without End: Petranilla proved she’d do anything to help her son get ahead, including murder. A dickish new lord took over as Earl of Shiring, disinheriting the real earl’s two sons, and a knight with a mysterious past arrived, asking to become a monk and naming none other than Queen Isabella as his patron. Queen Isabella? Not happy about that at all.

Elfric and Caris are getting married in the cathedral. Wow, she actually went through with it. Not that she had a choice, and I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, considering Aliena married Alfred in the last book, but still, wow. Her father looks a bit sad. So do Mattie and Merthin.

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World Without End: Back to Kingsbridge!

world-without-end-ben-chaplin-world-without-end-1768854761The 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:

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