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Pillars of the Earth: 10th Anniversary Edition Paperback – 8 Oct 1999


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Product details

  • Paperback: 1104 pages
  • Publisher: Pan Books; New edition edition (8 Oct. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330391984
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330391986
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (942 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,814,019 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ken Follett was only twenty-seven when he wrote the award-winning EYE OF THE NEEDLE, which became an international bestseller. His celebrated PILLARS OF THE EARTH was voted into the top 100 of Britain's best-loved books in the BBC's the Big Read and the sequel, WORLD WITHOUT END, was published to critical acclaim. He lives with his family in London and Hertfordshire.

Product Description

Review

"A novel of majesty and power." -- Chicago Sun-Times --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Ken Follett was only twenty-seven when he wrote the award-winning novel Eye of the Needle, which became an international bestseller and film. He has since written several equally successful novels, including, most recently, Whiteout. He is also author of the non-fiction bestseller On Wings of Eagles. Ken Follett lives with his family in London and Stevenage. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

312 of 333 people found the following review helpful By Laura Hulland on 31 July 2006
Format: MP3 CD Verified Purchase
I dont care what the rest of you think, but I loved this book. I am a hardcore fantasy reader and was really loath to start this 1076 page monster. But a 2 week holiday with the kids loomed ever near, and I decided that this was the perfect thing to while away those long evenings.

We went camping in Southern France, it was hot, the van was cramped and we had no food as we were miles from a shop. Every time I felt sorry for myself I started reading about 12th century life and thanked my lucky stars, looked around and felt gratefull that raping and pillaging were no longer a problem and my only real worry was getting 5 kids ready for bed in less than 2 hours!

If you love medieval history, romance, factual events and treachery all woven together with fantastic characterisation, great descriptions and dialogue then this is the book for you. It depicts the life and times of the dark ages in a very real way, nothing is romanticised. The rawness of the descriptions was a refreshing change and I feel I could build a cathedral from scratch thanks to Follets excellent descriptions. (which are not boring but facinating)

It describes the lives of the aristocracy, peasants, royalty and follows the individual lives of about 5 various people including a monk Father Philip (for 63 years of his life_)and about some other very different characters who's lives and destiny's are all irrivocabley interwoven.

The opening paragraph describes a hanging in the most brutal way, and the descriptions of the behaviour and attitude of the observers just had me gripped from the begining.

I was so impressed that the minute I got home I was on the net trying to verify some of the facts therin. And sure enough it was all there. Follett has taken key moments in medieval british history and woven around it 3 dimensional characters which just bring it all to life.

I'm now off to buy some more from this time period!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dario McGeachy on 11 Sept. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I started reading this as a favour to the Old man. It's his favourite book of all time and although it's taken a while, he finally wore me down. I think I was ill at the time and my resolve was weakened. `Bloody hell, go on then. It'd better be good'

I've read a few Follett books in the past, `The Eye of the Needle' and the `The Key to Rebecca' and thoroughly enjoyed them. But I was a bit younger then and easily seduced by spies, motorbike chases and assassins having threesomes. (Key to Rebecca that last one, In case you're interested)

The Pillars of the Earth is a different beast, a sprawling historical epic, fastidious attention to detail and a time span that takes in a generation. We follow the building of a Cathedral from the kernel of an idea to its completion (not a spoiler surely) Follett must have been aware he needed to perform a delicate balancing act between his love of the subject matter and delivering an entertaining read and I'm pleased to report that he doesn't get too bogged down in the technical details while still giving the Cathedral geeks enough to chew on.

When reviewing books like `Pillars of the Earth', more national institution that novel, I don't think it's really enough to say `it's good because'. We know it must be alright, being one of the most successful books of all time should be the first clue to that. What I'd want to know if I was reading a review is `is it for me'. In this aspect the book, while daunting in length and obscure in subject matter, is remarkably inclusive. I think this is largely down to the style of the writing. I doubt Follett is capable of changing gears too drastically and this has more in common with his thrillers than any stuffy historical epic. There's sex and death and pantomime villains.
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112 of 121 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 7 April 1999
Format: Paperback
From the outset, Pillars of the Earth gripped me. My imagination was captured by the day to day lives of some of the most real characters I have met between the pages of a novel. Each character evokes a response: compassion, respect, revulsion or even lust. The story spans many years, yet gives remarkable detail concerning the changing politics, lifestyle and even architectural and building practices of the day. I was given the book by a friend several years ago, and have given copies as gifts several times. My own copy is so battered from being read, reread, lent and returned that I'm now needing a replacement.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By I.F.Coyle VINE VOICE on 20 Feb. 2013
Format: Paperback
I know its a failing in me. If I've invested in a book I have to see it through to the end, and this one required rather more teeth-gritting than is entirely healthy.
I love well-written historical fiction (see Patrick O'Brien) but this was the most unbelievable tosh.
Bernard Cornwell on a bad day making an unholy tryst with Dame Barbara Cartland and a very VERY sub-standard D.H.Lawrence.
Another reviewer refers to the two-dimensional nature of the characters: this is an exaggeration... all the characters are barely one-dimensional, there is little or no psychological development(astonishing considering the time-scale covered by this novel) and they are all either unbelievably good or unremmitingly bad.
I gave a a couple of stars for the descriptions of the Cathedral-building, but then I remembered those endless, passionless, colourless, distincly unerotic,cold, clincal sex scenes, and knocked a star off! You can see them coming a mile off, the bells clang, the sirens sound, the hooters blare (no pun intended) and you know you're in for a very trying time indeed!
If a reader is really interested in the Early English Cathedral as a literary journey, may I strongly recommend William Golding's 'The Spire': rather more challenging and rather less a Medieval East Enders.
Save yourself a considerable amount of time and pass this one by!
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