Customer Reviews


974 Reviews
5 star:
 (692)
4 star:
 (128)
3 star:
 (61)
2 star:
 (40)
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


10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars My Pillars of the Earth review
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...
Published on 11 Sept. 2011 by Dario McGeachy

versus
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very wearying...
Fascinating in terms of how early cathedrals were built and making you look at them in a new way - hence the extra star.

But eesh, the story dragged and became overly repetitive with the same mistakes occurring throughout. I read this on the recommendation of a colleague - never again!
Published on 27 Jun. 2009 by Applespider


‹ Previous | 1 298 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars My Pillars of the Earth review, 11 Sept. 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


314 of 335 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars loved it loved it loved it, 31 July 2006
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


114 of 123 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


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


130 of 143 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


12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I liked it very much, but..., 22 Jan. 2008
This review is from: The Pillars of the Earth (Paperback)
I've just finished the book and I liked it very much. I've been burning midnight oil: the story is really captivating. It's really good entertainment and I'm happy with that. I've enjoyed the depiction of the everyday life in the Medieval Ages and it had me browsing history books to refresh my memory (a little chronology of real-life events of the time appended to the novel would have come handy to me). However, after getting used to the plot, you can see quite clearly the way the writer works. All the events in the book follow more or less the same pattern. And I hate to say that, but some of the events seem far-fetched, or not plausible at all: (WARNING! SPOILER: who would fall in love instantly with a starving family and leave everything behind, who would fall in love instantly the very morning when his dear wife passes away? And there are many many things like this in the book. Also, the bit about the hike of a woman on her own with a baby through Europe was a bit too much, too easy and too short for me really. There is another bit which has annoyed me, but I can't tell you, otherwise I'd be saying too much END OF SPOILER). Events happen to the heroes in a timely manner, which makes me think, well... it is a little bit too easy. I haven't liked the shortcuts sometimes abruptly used to tell us "... oh by the way, I hadn't told you, but they are now a happy bunch because this happened to them, full stop... I'm not gonna write another fifty pages about how that could happen and let me now get on with my story..." The characters are all black and white: the baddies are filthy scums and the goodies are glorified.
But, never mind, if you're after a good captivating read that will transport you in the medieval age, that is the book you need. And I shall say the book deserves most of the praise it has received and of course I'm on my way to read the sequel... ;o)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


58 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Epic Classic, 20 Jun. 2011
This review is from: The Pillars of the Earth (Paperback)
I have never read any of Ken Follett's work before but was intrigued by The Pillars of the Earth at is purportedly based on Salisbury Cathedral .It is certainly about cathedral building in 12th century England. The story follows Prior Philip, a monk with ambition to build a great cathedral, allied with architect Tom. It is an epic novel (900 + pages )and took me a considerable time to read. The author's love of the project shine through and he draws a very realistic picture of the period, with strong characters and plot full of the timeless struggle of good versus evil. If you like Epic Classics, this is the book for you.

Anon
The Spire Chronicle
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 Great book but please check page numbers, 27 Nov. 2008
By 
P. Pritchard (England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Pillars of the Earth (Paperback)
This is an absolutely fantastic book which I borrowed from a friend some years ago. Having recently read the follow up (World without End - brilliant too!), I really felt that I had to re-read Pillars of the Earth. If you order this book, before reading please check the page numbering. I have just reached page 464 and going onto the next page, the storyline did not seem to be making any sense! I then realised that the next page was actually 561. After checking the rest of the page numbering, the book continued up to 608, with the next page after that being 513 (hence missing pages 464-513). Not Amazon's fault at all - how could they know that the printers have got it wrong - but I am now bereft as I can't continue the story until I get a new copy. I may well have the only rogue copy, but I would hate anyone of you to start reading this book and get to the stage where you can't continue. Please check the page numbering first before you start reading.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


38 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An incredible epic in the truest sense., 11 Aug. 2007
By 
Mr. Andrew Moore "lord derfel cadarn" (Worcestershire) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Pillars of the Earth (Paperback)
Ken Follett is not a writer I normally read but I do like historical fiction so when I was given this old, very battered paperback I was slightly intrigued. I was told it was good but the blurb said "concerning the building of a cathedral..." Not my cup of tea I thought as I hate religion, but boy am I glad I decided to give it a go!
The characters are so realistic you really feel for them (or hate them) according to their virtues (or lack of). The 12th century setting is vividly recreated and the true tale follows love and revenge in many forms.
There are many surprising twists and turns with even main characters being written out part way through as this is what you might call true to life.
Set in a real 12th century with the historicl background of the wars between Maud and Stephen battling it out for the throne of England, there is something here for everyone. Yes theres the religious setting, but as someone who believes religion is the cause of more upset than it solves I can honestly say it does not get in the way; the history of this country is rife with religious fervour and the church at the time was somewhat corrupt and struggling for power with the other authorities and this picture is truly painted here.
Not convinced? Read it and I guarantee you will not be disappointed. Iwas hooked from the second page and now I've finished it I feel like I've lost some good friends, such is the power of the writing. I can't wait for the follow up due out in acouple of months which I believe follows the decendants of some of the characters from ths book at the time of the plague.
If I could give more stars I would... one to return to I think.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 298 | 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