Well this was an epic novel. The book was so many things - hıstorical, romance, murder, mystery and so much more. I really enjoyed it. I had read the first book in the series "The Pillers of the Earth" in September and loved it. I tried to wait as long as possible before reading this one because I love knowing there is at least one good book in my collection that I can turn to when I really need it. I am glad I read it now because I couldn't put it down. I tried to read it slowly so I could get the most of it and I stayed up late some nights reading it. At 1200 pages it, I was surprised that it only took me 5 days to finish it (and I continued to go to the gym).
The story is spans 40 years in the mid 1300's and mostly follows the lives of 4 children who grow up to be important members of Kingsbridge. Caris is an intelligent, somewhat wealthy young woman who yearns to be a doctor, even though as a woman she can never be one; Gwenda a hard working woman from a poor family and only wants one thing in life - to marry Wulfric; Ralph is a cruel and heartless youngman who wants to be a knight and seeks vengeance for an incident for over 30 years, finally Merthin who is Ralph's brother,who is a wonderful builder and in love with Caris. There are many more characters in this book but I don't want to give anything away.
I loved the twists and turns of this book. There was always something happening. It made the 1200 pages easy to get through. So many terrible things happened in this novel (especially to the female characters) and I cringed sometimes while reading it. But it was really enjoyable. A perfect book for a long flight or bus ride!