Pillars of the Earth

Pillars of the Earth

Book - 1989
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Ken Follett is known worldwide as the master of split-second suspense, but his most beloved and bestselling book tells the magnificent tale of a twelfth-century monk driven to do the seemingly impossible: build the greatest Gothic cathedral the world has ever known.

Everything readers expect from Follett is here: intrigue, fast-paced action, and passionate romance. But what makes The Pillars of the Earth extraordinary is the time--the twelfth century; the place--feudal Engl∧ and the subject--the building of a glorious cathedral. Follett has re-created the crude, flamboyant England of the Middle Ages in every detail. The vast forests, the walled towns, the castles, and the monasteries become a familiar landscape. Against this richly imagined and intricately interwoven backdrop, filled with the ravages of war and the rhythms of daily life, the master storyteller draws the reader irresistibly into the intertwined lives of his characters--into their dreams, their labors, and their loves: Tom, the master builder; Aliena, the ravishingly beautiful noblewoman; Philip, the prior of Kingsbrid≥ Jack, the artist in sto≠ and Ellen, the woman of the forest who casts a terrifying curse. From humble stonemason to imperious monarch, each character is brought vividly to life.

The building of the cathedral, with the almost eerie artistry of the unschooled stonemasons, is the center of the drama. Around the site of the construction, Follett weaves a story of betrayal, revenge, and love, which begins with the public hanging of an innocent man and ends with the humiliation of a king.

At once a sensuous and endearing love story and an epic that shines with the fierce spirit of a passionate age, The Pillars of the Earth is without a doubt Ken Follett's masterpiece.

Publisher: New York : Morrow, 1989
ISBN: 9780688046590
0688046592
Branch Call Number: FICTION Fol
Description: 973 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm

Opinion

From Library Staff

The spellbinding epic set in 12th-century England, The Pillars of the Earth tells the story of the lives entwined in the building of the greatest Gothic cathedral the world has ever known - and a struggle between good and evil that will turn church against state, and brother against brother. 989 ... Read More »

While Empress Maud and Stephen fight for the English throne, three men from very different backgrounds struggle to build an impressive Gothic cathedral. Book 1 of the Kingsbridge series. Also available in print format.

From humble stonemason to imperious monarch, each character is brought vividly to life. The building of the cathedral, with the almost eerie artistry of the unschooled stonemasons, is the center of the drama. Around the site of the construction, Follett weaves a story of betrayal, revenge, and lo... Read More »


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d
Demiguise
Jan 10, 2020

I tried, and I like the writing, but I couldn't finish it.

k
kvanmooresma
Oct 29, 2019

This book is crazy long and does read a bit slowly at times, but it's also really good and entirely worth reading. I was surprised by how much I actually enjoyed reading even the descriptions of how the old cathedrals were built.

k
kwsmith
Aug 27, 2019

Yes, this is 1000 pages about some peasants building a stone cathedral in rural England during the twelfth century. Yes, the writing style is overly simplistic at times. Yet, somehow the plot and the characters are so compelling that it's very difficult to put this book down. Loosely based on historical events, this novel has it all: romance, intrigue, and betrayal. The two villains are extremely well developed and you'll adore hating them.

g
good_stuff_4U
Aug 22, 2019

January is the perfect time to read this lengthy novel. Ken Follett's book is a long-standing classic. As Notre Dame is rebuilt, the book will take on a new following of readers. Life from our "centuries ago" world becomes real in this lengthy book; it requires a dedication to study of another time...

s
SFBookAddict
Jul 27, 2019

**Spoiler Alert**
Hearing great things about this book, I thought I'd give it a try. After reading 80 pages, I gave up. First, I didn't like Follett's simplistic writing style which was jarring. He didn't completely transform me to 12th century England. Second, the story moved very slowly. He needed a good editor. Thirdly, those 80 pages contained very little about building, just teasers. Did the author forget the subject of his novel? And lastly, after reading the scene in which Tom has sex with the first woman who comes along within 24 hours after the half frozen, starving man digs a grave for his beloved wife and newly born child and buries them in the middle of winter, I was done. Very unrealistic and ridiculous. Before that moment, I cared about Tom's plight and then lost total interest in him and no longer cared whatever happened to him. I didn't look forward to reading the book every night and started dreading opening the book. I am very disappointed as I'm a huge fan of medieval architecture, especially cathedrals, and have visited these structures in Europe. I hear "The Heaven Tree" Trilogy is better so I will instead give that one a try.

j
johnintx
May 04, 2019

p. 64

t
taylortribe
Apr 17, 2019

GREAT book!

i
InsJavert
Jan 29, 2019

A finely written and engaging story! It is one of those books from the very first page until the end, simply and wonderously draws you in, written in such a way, the whole story is just the way it is supposed to be, a natural flow and ebb. Few authors are able to write this way but Mr. Follett seems to have done a keen job of it.

The characters, and there are many, are well developed, not overly done. Their interaction and support of one another is superb. You feel for them, you fear with them, you cry with them, the way you should when you're are fully engrossed in the story, because you begin to live the story.

The story; full of intrigue, conniving, political gain, mystery, plots, betrayals, envy, lust, pride, arrogance, and much much more. Again, a finely woven story, real, believable. A story you live in while you are reading it.

When you have well developed characters and a great story written out so well, you have a wonderful, adventurous story you just want to keep reading, just to know what is going to happen on the next page. I haven't read a book like this since "Lonesome Dove", another wonderfully written story.

h
Howie2020
Jan 21, 2019

For those who like thousand page books, this one is a great story for those who enjoy historical fiction, medieval times, and European history. Other than a few places where the writer gets a little too long winded on some rather vulgar scenes, the story itself is quite captivating. The character development is excellent and it was certainly a book that was hard to put down.

WestSlope_TheaH Oct 03, 2018

I was completely engrossed in this novel. I found the characters very compelling and well-developed, with distinctive voices for the four narrators of the story: Tom Builder (a stonemason), Philip (a monk), Aliena (an earl’s daughter), and Jack (Tom’s clever stepson). The story takes place over decades, from Part 1, chronicling 1135-1136, to Part 6, chronicling 1170-1174. Don’t be alarmed by the length—this book was so difficult to put down that I breezed right through it. As a work of historical fiction, I definitely see some crossover appeal for fans of George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series, and, like Games of Thrones, it too was adapted for TV as a Starz miniseries in 2010. Certainly the history of the medieval era has similar amounts of treachery and violence!* Reading this book made me want to take a trip to Europe to tour grand old cathedrals. This novel really made me consider the building of a cathedral as the legacy of a lifetime. One final reason to pick it up: Ken Follett told the New York Times in 2014 that of more than twenty novels that he’s written, it was his favorite.

*I will caution that if you are sensitive to violence against women or sexual assault in your fiction, you may want to pass.

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Howie2020
Jan 21, 2019

Howie2020 thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over

brihawkins13 Apr 06, 2018

brihawkins13 thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

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Cheetaiean
Jan 22, 2015

Cheetaiean thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

LauraO18 Jul 12, 2012

LauraO18 thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

SHIRLEY (INSITE) HALL thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

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markv
Sep 20, 2009

markv thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over

Notices

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LauraO18 Jul 12, 2012

Frightening or Intense Scenes: Many murders are vividly and graphically described.

LauraO18 Jul 12, 2012

Coarse Language: This title contains coarse language.

LauraO18 Jul 12, 2012

Sexual Content: Detailed and graphic sexual content...a rape of a teenage girl is described in vivid and horrifying detail.

LauraO18 Jul 12, 2012

Violence: Many murders and acts of violence and rape are vividly and graphically described.

m
markv
Sep 20, 2009

Sexual Content: This title contains Sexual Content.

Summary

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c
cpurvis
Mar 14, 2010

In a time of civil war, famine and religious strife, there rises a magnificent Cathedral in Kingsbridge. Against this backdrop, lives entwine: Tom, the master builder, Aliena, the noblewoman, Philip, the prior of Kingsbridge, Jack, the artist in stone and Ellen, the woman from the forest who casts a curse. At once, this is a sensuous and enduring love story and an epic that shines with the fierce spirit of a passionate age.

Quotes

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SPL_STARR Jun 16, 2015

"The small boys came early to the hanging."

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