- Also check our best rated Romance Book reviews
The Pillars of the Earth Paperback – 6 Apr 2007
|New from||Used from|
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
'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
Ken Follett's worldwide bestselling epic masterpieceSee all Product description
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
There are numerous different plot strands, all of which are connected, one way or another, to the building of a cathedral. To build Kingsbridge Cathedral is the burning ambition of Tom, a master builder, for whom the project not only represents employment for the rest of his working life and financial security for his family, but also the pinnacle of his achievement: to build a beautiful cathedral is all he's ever wanted to do. Philip, the Benedictine prior of Kingsbridge, wants to run a thriving monastery with a prosperous estate and the new cathedral will bring in much-needed revenue - he's a religious man but he's also wily and pragmatic, and finds himself increasingly embroiled in the politics of both church and crown. Aliena, the daughter of a disgraced nobleman, wants her family's lands back from the unequivocally evil Hamleigh family who have been given her father's earldom and revenge for the wrongs done to her and her brother Richard. Into that mix you can throw scheming bishops, warring noblemen, vicious outlaws, unlikely alliances, arson, famine and of course, the building of the cathedral itself and all that it symbolises.
Follett has a clear, simple and unpretentious prose style and despite its intimidating page count The Pillars of the Earth really doesn't feel as long as it is. The fortunes of the Kingsbridge and its inhabitants can, and do, soar or plummet with smallest changes in luck or the whims of archbishops and barons, and there are plots, betrayals and battles galore. While Follett doesn't much go in for poetic description or subtle characterisation, he's excellent when it comes to throwing in historical detail in a way that makes the period setting feel vivid and real, cathedral-building and all, but also seems entirely natural and incidental. It's also a great example of a story which really brings home the impact of historical events on ordinary people - the ones we rarely hear about - and their lives. And while the characters are sometimes fairly black and white, that doesn't mean they don't feel real, and I felt fully invested in their lives from start to finish.
There are some things wrong with this book - that simple prose is a bit clunky at times; there are scenes of rape which feel exploitative and would be far better happening 'off camera'; there are times when things are spelled out that we've already realised; there are a few laughably ridiculous references to a particular character's breasts which certainly remind you that this book was written 30 years ago and by a man.
However, this is one of those books where I could see the faults but simply didn't care because I loved coming along for the ride. I loved the story, I loved the atmosphere, I loved the characters - Prior Philip in particular - and I was utterly immersed in their world from page one. Now I just need to decide whether to get stuck into the sequels or save them for my summer holiday.
Ken Follett must have done an immense amount of research in order to write such brilliant books.
This book read like a film/movie in my head. It was absolutely nothing like I had expected and was all absorbing from start to finish. An easy to read epic classic.
An astounding five star read from start to finish.
It covers the early medieval period during unsettled time of King Stephen and Maud. Evil lords and ladies, petty jealousies. A hero Monk/ prior. An insight into the building of churches and cathedrals and the lives of the people of the time. If you think life is tough now this is an eye opener as to how cheap lives were considered then, how disposable the poor and uninfluential were. I have now read it twice, about 10 years apart and I had forgotten how much there was to it.Some of it I grimaced at, the rape scenes and the bear baiting.I was delighted when I found there was a 2nd book, World without End and I have discovered that since 2017 there is a 3rd. Its in my shopping basket now!
This was a recommendation from my Father-in-law, a Canadian, born of English parents. He felt that I needed to read this to understand the history of England and the churches and cathedrals that I was so proud to show my wife. I was sceptical....
Needless to say, this book has changed the way I see those churches and cathedrals! I see the changes in building techniques, over the ages, and a feel a thrill of understanding!
This book is not just, many tales of the trials and tribulations of many likeable, and detestable, characters, it's about the growth of a village, a town, a cathedral town...and it's enticing, it's thrilling and most of all, enlightening!
Well worth a read.
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Most recent customer reviews
Love everything about...Read more