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The Pillars of the Earth [Paperback]

Ken Follett
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (823 customer reviews)

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Book Description

6 April 2007

The Pillars of the Earth tells the story of Philip, prior of Kingsbridge, a devout and resourceful monk driven to build the greatest Gothic cathedral the world has known . . . of Tom, the mason who becomes his architect - a man divided in his soul . . . of the beautiful, elusive Lady Aliena, haunted by a secret shame . . . and of a struggle between good and evil that will turn church against state, and brother against brother.

A spellbinding epic tale of ambition, anarchy, and absolute power set against the sprawling medieval canvas of twelfth-century England, this is Ken Follett's historical masterpiece.

'Enormous and brilliant . . . this mammoth tale seems to touch all human emotion - love and hate, loyalty and treachery, hope and despair. This is truly a novel to get lost in'


'A historical saga of such breadth and density . . . Follett succeeds brilliantly in combining hugeness and detail to create a novel imbued with the rawness, violence and blind faith of the era'

Sunday Express

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Product details

  • Paperback: 1104 pages
  • Publisher: Pan; Unabridged edition (6 April 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330450131
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330450133
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (823 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 39,754 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


'It's such a great read...I got to 800 pages, and I slowed myself down because I didn't want it to end.' -- Oprah Winfrey

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.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
300 of 318 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars loved it loved it loved it 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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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Allow time! 9 July 2006
In line with other reviewers I agree that this novel is without doubt one of the finest novels that I have read. It is a must read... but I must give a warning! Make sure that when you pick this book up to read, you cancel all appointments and commitments for a couple of days. Lock the doors, take the phone off the hook, turn off the radio, pour yourself a glass of wine and immerse yourself into a story that has just about everything you could want from a novel. The book becomes so completely engaging that time almost becomes irrelevant. You have been warned!!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!!!!!!! 27 Oct 2004
This is more a review on Ken Follett than Pillars of the earth, but I think Pillars is the best book he has written. I couldn't put it down. I love reading and I like a cracking good adventure, a really good yarn, and the only author who I thought could really come up with the goods was Wilbur Smith.
Then I read a couple of Ken Follett's, and was instantly hooked.
I think he is really versatile. he can write an adventure set around the time of the Jacobite rebellion (A Place called freedom), set in the 18th century - and write another book on a completely different subject, set 600 years earlier. But he really has done his homework and takes you into the sights, sounds and smells of the period in his books. He has the ability to describe a passionate bedroom scene, and then describe the gory details of a battle, that make you think you are actually there. Amazing!! I thought only Wilbur Smith could do that.
If you enjoy a book with battles, fights, loads of sex, passion, intrigue, treachery, the full monty, look no further than Ken Follett
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107 of 115 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book from Follett 3 Dec 2007
Pillars of the Earth looks like a very daunting prospect when you first come across it, over a thousand pages long and with the central theme about the building of a cathedral (something I was not particularly interested in). However despite that, Follett manages to produce a truly gripping read. The book is full of action, heroic charcters and horrendously evil villians. Set in the middle ages, during the civil war between King Stephen and Empress Maud. The novel follows several seemingly unrelated characters, whose paths cross and become fascinatingly entwined.

This is the first book by Ken Follett that I have read, but after this I am definitely going to read another. Thoroughly enjoyable, although you do feel like the book will go on forever when you begin. This book is highly recommended to fans of any historical fiction, you will not be dissapointed.

Great book, well worth reading!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blown away 8 Sep 2004
My mother in law reccomended this book to me, and I have to admit, I was a bit sceptical at first as history has never appealed to me, and religion is not my thing, but, after my husband went and bought the book, I thought I would give it a go.
Needless to say, just five days after reading the first page, I turned the last, after having been thoroughly entertained, intrigued and compelled to read every last word.
I have never read any of Folletts books before, so had no bench mark with which to judge, but from the opening lines I was gripped.
The characters entrenched themselves within my heart, and I found myself absorbed in the conspiracies and trials that the main characters faced.
It brought all my emotions to the surface, made me laugh, made me cry, made me gasp in horror...
I doubt I shall ever look upon a cathedral again without wondering if the "Tom Builder" who acted as master mason faced half as many trials during his life as Follett's characters did in their quest to build the cathedral in his book.
Pillars of the Earth will rank up there amongst my all time favourite reads from now on, an exceptional book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very good
Published 22 hours ago by Rodney Bakewell
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
an excellent buy the book was in pristine condition thanks
Published 1 day ago by william preshaw
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great read
Published 2 days ago by Happy face
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Fine, and delivered promptly.
Published 2 days ago by peter444
5.0 out of 5 stars A well researched and very readable book. Gives an ...
A well researched and very readable book. Gives an interesting insight into Medieval England especially monastery life. Have started on sequel.
Published 3 days ago by Peter Zanetti
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant, not so many characters that you lose track
Haven`t finished it yet, but so far, brilliant, not so many characters that you lose track, absolutely absorbing, l can easily lose a an hour.
Published 5 days ago by ann ballard
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!!
Wonderfully gripping drama with twists and turns to delight and shock, characters to love and loathe and in the midst of it all glorious architecture!
Published 6 days ago by Henry Hartley
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
This is brilliant. You should buy it and read it a few times as it is so good,
Published 9 days ago by Mrs. L. Bohen
3.0 out of 5 stars Good plot
A good plot, with many twist and turns. The style of writing is a little leaden in comparison with other leading writers of historical fiction, but well worth reading nevertheless.
Published 9 days ago by Harlequin
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent service will use again
Published 11 days ago by carol foulkes
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