Ken Follett is an author whose thrillers and historical novels have sold over 150 million copies worldwide and many of which have reached number 1 on the New York Times Best Seller List. One of these, World Without End (2007), the second in a trilogy of historical novels after The Pillars of the Earth (1989), was in part inspired by real historical events associated with the Cathedral of Santa Maria in Vitoria-Gasteiz, capital of both the province of Araba (Álava) and the Basque Autonomous Community.


Statue of Ken Follett in Vitoria-Gasteiz. Photo by Zarateman, via Wikimedia Commons

Specifically, as Follett notes in the acknowledgements of World Without End, the structural problems that force a rebuilding of the tower in his fictional Kingsbridge Cathedral were modeled after events at the Cathedral of Santa Maria. Indeed, Follett visited Vitoria-Gasteiz several times in order to do research for the book and he presented the Spanish translation in the Basque capital.


Ken Follett next to his statue in Vitoria-Gasteiz. Photo by Mikelcg, via Wikimedia Commons

For more information on the Cathedral of Santa Maria click here. And check out this short video (in English) explaining the history of the cathedral.