World Without EndHas anyone read this book? I'm halfway through it, but I'm not sure I want to finish. Ok, so of course I'm going to finish it after spending this much time in it!It's a sort of...

World Without End

Has anyone read this book? I'm halfway through it, but I'm not sure I want to finish. Ok, so of course I'm going to finish it after spending this much time in it!

It's a sort of sequel to Pillars of the Earth: set in the 14th century just before the battle of Crecy and the Black Death. One of the reasons why I don't feel like finishing the book is because of what I think is a distortion of historical detail. For instance, one of the main characters, Caris, is the daughter of a wealthy town alderman. Her best friend, Gwenda, is the daughter of a landless serf who relies on stealing to feed his family. I just don't see how this mingling of the social classes would have happened. They even have sleep overs!

What do you think about historical fiction? Do you think the author should stretch the details?

Expert Answers
malibrarian eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I know exactly where you're coming from on this, Linda.  I have read "historical" fiction where I cringe every few pages because of the stretching of truth, or the outright wrong information the author is spewing out.

But I have to consider something else when I start to get frustrated with this.  When the movie "Braveheart" came out, I just about had kittens over how bad the historical information was.  My husband, too, will never let anyone forget that they did the Battle of Stirling Bridge 100% inaccurately (there's no bridge in the movie, for starters...).  But my brother, who is a computer guy and complete clueless and uninterested in history, saw the movie and was fascinated.  He even asked our mom if there was really a William Wallace, a fight for Scottish independence, etc.  He was inspired to read more about William Wallace and he actually learned a great deal about history in the process.  So even though "Braveheart" distorted the facts quite a bit, I could see its value and benefit in having inspired someone I know to learn the truth.  Not to mention the benefits to the Scottish tourism industry, which were enormous.

So, I guess I'm okay with a certain amount of historical distortion if it means that people who normally would not read these books might actually get enough from it to want to read and learn more.  Perhaps the name of the genre should be changed - "not-so-historically-accurate fiction"??? :)

amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I LOVE historical fiction.  One of my favorite series that fit into this category is the Diana Gabaldon OUTLANDER series.  It is wonderful.  I don't mind if the author stretches details too is historical FICTION.  The story is based on true events and possibly people, but it is not necessarily the report of that specific event or person.

Remember, good readers to skip ahead, skim pages, and generally move on if there is a three-page description of the turtle crossing the road or something similar that doesn't keep you interested.


Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question