I could hardly put this book down. It was a fantastic novel that kept me going from start to finish.
I like how, unlike a number of historical fiction authors, Follett does not romanticize the period. People are depicted as filthy, smelly, and the towns are not described much better. The fact that death, destruction, and famine are frequent fears throughout the novel was also quite refreshing to me. As a future archaeologist, I always feel frustrated when things are not described as being horrible because it is too often easy to think of the streets much in the same way that our current city streets are with only thatch roofs and period clothing and technology.
The characters were quite well-written. I loved how he gave the perspectives of even the villains so we had full characters instead of just cardboard characters who are simply evil. It made the characters seem much more real to me and made me feel more for both the good and bad characters.
I highly recommend this book. I can imagine that my husband would enjoy this book despite it not being his genre simply because he is less tolerant of romantization of past periods than I am.