Customer Reviews


899 Reviews
5 star:
 (631)
4 star:
 (124)
3 star:
 (53)
2 star:
 (38)
1 star:
 (53)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


307 of 327 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars loved it loved it loved it
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...
Published on 31 July 2006 by Laura Hulland

versus
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Thank the Lord its over
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...
Published 22 months ago by I.F.Coyle


‹ Previous | 1 290 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

307 of 327 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars loved it loved it loved it, 31 July 2006
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Pillars of the Earth (MP3 CD)
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!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book to fill your dreams.. well it did mine!!, 10 Dec 2007
By 
J. Hill "Hilly reader" (London England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Pillars of the Earth (Paperback)
This book totally absorbed me.. kept me up too late.. and very nearly made me late for work as I was so absorbed in it in my lunchhour I didn't notice the time! It also filled my dreams with strange and wonderful scenes of medieval monasteries, castles and kings! Excellent history, rich world detail and great characters who grow and develop through time and experience. Even the once or twice when things turned out right "miraculously in the nick of time" were more than balanced by the times when the worst DID happen. It truly does make you grateful for a warm home and plenty to eat and a reasonable expectation of not being hacked to death in an unexpected raid from a neighbouring Earl too!!

Give it a read... and yes.. don't let that first hanging scene put you off.. it gets better from there on in!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


111 of 119 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I've never looked at a cathedral in the same way again, 7 April 1999
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 5 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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Allow time!, 9 July 2006
By 
K. Wigglesworth "Big Wigg" (England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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!!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book ranks with some of the best that I've read, 11 April 2002
By A Customer
Right from the off this book draws you in.It's basically about a man whose dream is to build a cathedral.That might not sound too gripping but there is so much more to this novel than that.You follow the lives of the characters,share with them their highs and their lows over a period of time from 1123 to 1174.The narrative is superb and you will not be bored by too much historical information,though you will learn quite a lot about the way people lived their lives during the 12th century.To sum up:If you like historical fiction then you will love this book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


130 of 142 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My all time favourite novel., 15 Feb 2005
I found a copy of the pillars of the earth whilst scanning the shelves of my local bookshop. I hadn't come across Ken Follett before then, but as an avid reader of historical fiction, it seemed a safe bet. WOW! From the very first page I couldnt put it down. I hardly ate or slept for the duration. I felt I knew the characters personally and laughed and cried with them throughout the years we were together. I feld such grief when someone died, I sobbed openly. I lived in the middle ages and could hardly bear to drag myself back into the 20th century when I put the book down. I cried buckets when I finished the book and wanted to just open the front page and start again. I frequently recommend this book and all my family in australia were sent copies, such was my passion. I read the book quite a few years ago now but nothing I have read since, has grabbed me in quite the same way. It is still my all time favourite historical novel, I just cant rate it highly enough.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars My Pillars of the Earth review, 11 Sep 2011
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Pillars of the Earth (Paperback)
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. Ambition, lust and greed. Some characters feel very one dimensional but this can add to the fun, Follett serving up a roster of bad guys that you love to hate and good guys who you can't help rooting for. The story cracks along at a pace as well, fresh intrigue or a big set piece always round the corner. Conversely it's this soapy, thriller style which stops the book short of true greatness. The scope and scale together with the excellent pacing and exacting historical detail make this a formidable achievement but Follett never attempts to reach past this. He isn't looking to reveal great human truths or aiming to provide a commentary on our times with an examination of the past. I wouldn't mind betting that for 90% of readers out there, this will be just the ticket.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Follett's Best, 1 Dec 2007
This review is from: The Pillars of the Earth (Paperback)
If you like historical fiction, this is a book you can get lost in. Don't let the thickness of it intimidate you because it doesn't seem that long while you're reading it. You'll be on the 900th page before you know it.

Being familiar with and a fan of other books by Ken Follett, I originally bought and read this book several years ago. I was absolutely knocked out and captivated by the story and read it in two settings.

Part of what makes a story great to me is when I truly get wrapped up in its characters and begin to associate and have feelings for them, good or bad. In a sense, they come to life while I'm reading the story. This was especially true for "The Pillars of the Earth," having been totally entranced by the end of the first chapter. I especially come to care for Tom and his family, and later, for Jack and his mother. In fact, when one of the major characters dies midway through the story (I won't say who and spoil part of the story), I was shocked and had to lay the book down for several minutes.

As another note on this and Mr. Follett's other books, even though I am male (if that should make any difference), I respect his use of a strong female character playing a major role in his stories.

If you like Philosophy I recommend the book Understanding: Train of Thought.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprise Find, 3 Dec 2007
My mum recently gave me her old, battered copy of this tome! I was hesitant to read it at first as it looked like it was too historical and full of namby pamby priests and monks. Was I mistaken!?!?!? I have since been getting into trouble for not doing my chores as I am to be found constantly with my nose in the book as I cannot put it down! It is quite exhausting - no sooner is one crises managed/averted/suffered, than it is straight into the next. At the same time, a kind of peaceful, calm and compelling delivery of how to build a cathedral - where's my mason's hammer.......? Fantastic.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 290 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

The Pillars of the Earth
The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett (Paperback - 6 April 2007)
Used & New from: £0.01
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews