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The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
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The Pillars of the Earth (1989)

by Ken Follett

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Kingsbridge (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
21,141647104 (4.19)1 / 837
  1. 92
    Cathedral of the Sea by Ildefonso Falcones (crgalvin, OTVTT2010)
    OTVTT2010: Molemmat mieleenpainuvia lukukokemuksia, laadukasta viihdettä.
  2. 71
    The Physician by Noah Gordon (ecureuil)
  3. 51
    The Time Traveler's Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century by Ian Mortimer (Taphophile13)
  4. 20
    The Corner That Held Them by Sylvia Townsend Warner (nessreader)
    nessreader: CTHT is another medieval-set, multiple generation, religous institution novel, about a minor convent in England, sprawling over multiple generations and giving a sense of time passing, lightly touching on the lives of the nuns, but with the institution as the main character.… (more)
  5. 32
    The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo (bugaboo4)
  6. 32
    Sarum by Edward Rutherfurd (mcenroeucsb, al.vick)
  7. 00
    The Stones of the Abbey by Fernand Pouillon (Stbalbach)
    Stbalbach: Novel about a 12thC medieval master builder in France
  8. 00
    Kingmaker: Winter Pilgrims by Toby Clements (Stepn)
    Stepn: As good, if not better.
  9. 00
    Das Haupt der Welt: Historischer Roman by Rebecca Gablé (MissBrangwen)
  10. 11
    The Lost Angel: A Novel by Javier Sierra (albavirtual)
  11. 00
    When Christ and His Saints Slept by Sharon Kay Penman (Anonymous user)
  12. 00
    World Without End by Ken Follett (delma28)
  13. 11
    Hild by Nicola Griffith (kiwiflowa)
  14. 02
    The Jester by James Patterson (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: The Jester and The Pillars of Earth are intricately plotted, suspenseful tales set in the Middle Ages. These books focus on the treachery and drama of the period.
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English (567)  Spanish (21)  Catalan (15)  French (10)  Dutch (7)  Italian (7)  Danish (7)  German (7)  Hungarian (2)  Swedish (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (645)
Showing 1-5 of 567 (next | show all)
I really enjoyed this book. It is the story of the building of the cathedral of Kingsbridge, starring Philip the wise and just monk, Tom the builder, Jack his adopted son, and Aliena, trying to restore her families Earldom.

It is big and epic and easy to read, and makes you care about the heros as it takes them through a rollercoaster of Terrible Thing! Happy Thing! Terrible Thing! Happy Thing! Don't worry, the good guys win in the end, although it's a bit brutal on the way. ( )
  atreic | Nov 1, 2018 |
Absolute page-turner, an absorbing medieval story of swords, monks, and the building of a cathedral. There is evil villany, battles, romance, treachery, intrigue, and pretty much non-stop action. The pacing is superb - great battle scenes ate followed by slower character development, then back to nail-biting action. I loved it up until page 920 or so. Part six was not necessary - the book dragged out too much, and some of the weaknesses that were barely noticeable before became apparent. Follett has a tendency to repeat himself, and the characters, while well fleshed out, do not evolve with the story - adult or older versions act the same way as their younger selves. My biggest gripe was the sex scenes - he writes them in mechanical detail, which works great for battles, but less so when a scene is supposed to be romantic.

Overall, if the book has ended with the consecration of the cathedral, it would have been perfect. I still give it five stars for 920 pages of riveting action, even though the end is a bit of a letdown - this was the type of book that reminds me how much pleasure it is to be absorbed in a good book. ( )
1 vote Gezemice | Oct 29, 2018 |
I didn't enjoy this book at all – some characters were fun, but the story was terribly flat, easy to predict and boring. Add in the length of the book and the semi-interesting rambling on architecture (seriously, I enjoyed a book on cathedral building a few years ago, but this pseudo mix of literature and facts was just annoying). Most characters were very flat aswell (good vs evil, bah), and overall I could have spent my time much better. ( )
  _rixx_ | Aug 30, 2018 |
Wouldn't recommend it. It did not interest me enough to persevere till the very end. ( )
  ashkrishwrites | Aug 29, 2018 |
You have to give credit to any writer who can make you still turn the pages as the count nears 1,000. This is artless art, like a melodrama from the 1950s, without pretensions or "commentary" or its author drawing attention to himself. This is not Thomas Pynchon or Melville; its strength is that it never pretends to be. While it took me a month, off and on, to finish it, doing so never felt like a chore and I never forgot who-was-doing-what: another credit to the author. The characters (especially Prior Phillip) all behave in wholly believable ways and Follett never attempts to teach his reader anything about the Middle Ages. Instead, he tells the story, which happens to be set at that time. Some people love the architectural details, but I found these the least interesting thing in the book, not caring about transepts or clerestories or undercrofts. The three or four sex scenes are ridiculous, only because all sex scenes are ridiculous. However, the plot makes sense, the strands intersect skillfully, and I looked forward to reading it every time I picked it up. This is a good book to read in the winter, when it's freezing outside and you're sitting in a warm house with coffee and silence. Remember when the sole question behind what you read was What will happen next? This book is a reminder of what that felt like. ( )
1 vote Stubb | Aug 28, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 567 (next | show all)
Great literature? Of course not. To begin with, the plot relies far too heavily on coincidence, and the characters tend to be chiseled into predictability. The writing depends heavily on dialogue - and although it's well-done dialogue, it's the stuff of escapism, not of the ages. But so what? It's a long, rich and rewarding story, full of glory and violence told in the tradition of medieval troubadors. Few among us could turn away from a tale that begins: ''The small boys came early to the hanging.''
added by Shortride | editSt. Louis Post-Dispatch, Harry Levins (pay site) (Sep 3, 1989)
 
A novel of majesty and power.
added by Shortride | editChicago Sun-Times, Algis Budrys (pay site) (Aug 20, 1989)
 

» Add other authors (32 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ken Follettprimary authorall editionscalculated
Vázquez, RosalíaTranslatormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Conrad, Gabrielesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grant, Richard E.Narratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kiel, AchimIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lee, JohnNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lohmeyer, TillÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lundborg, GunillaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Piggott-Smith, TimNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Przygodda, ThomasIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Röhr-Rouendaal, PetraIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rost, Christelsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
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Epigraph
Le nuit du 25 novembre 1120, le Vaisseau blanc appareilla à destination de l'Angleterre et sombra corps et biens au large de Barfleur: il n'y eut qu'un survivant... Le vaisseau représentait le dernier cri en matière de transport maritime et il était muni des plus récents perfectionnements connus de la construction navale d'alors... Si l'on a beaucoup parlé de ce naufrage, c'est en raison du grand nombre de personnalités qui se trouvaient à bord; outre le fils du roi, héritier présomptif du trône, il y avait deux bâtards de sang royal, plusieurs comtes et barons et presque toute la maison du roi... Cela eut pour conséquence historique de laisser Henry sans héritier... Cela provoqua la guerre de succession et la période d'anarchie qui suivit la mort d'Henry.
A. L. Poole
From Doomsday Book to Magna Carta
On the night of 25 November 1120 the White Ship set out for England and foundered off Barfleur with all hands save one. ... The vessel was the latest thing in marine transport, fitted with all the devices known to the shipbuilder of the time. ... The notoriety of this wreck is due to the very large number of distinguished persons on board; beside the king's son and heir, there were two royal bastards, several earls and barons, and most of the royal household ... its historical significance is that it left Henry without an obvious heir ... its ultimate result was the disputed succession and the period of anarchy which followed Henry's death.
-A. L. Poole,
From Doomsday Book to Magna Carta
Dedication
To Marie-Claire,
the apple of my eye
First words
Preface
The small boys came early to the hanging.
Chapter 1
In a broad valley, at the foot of a sloping hillside, beside a clear bubbling stream, Tom was building a house.
Quotations
The baby cried, and the sound tugged at his heartstrings like a well-loved hymn. p.89
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Norwegian translation is split into two parts: Stormenes tid I
sverdet og korset AND Stormenes tid II katedralen
Please do not combine an abridged audio with the complete work. Thank you.
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Book description
From Publishers Weekly
Set in 12th-century England, the narrative concerns the building of a cathedral in the fictional town of Kingsbridge. The ambitions of three men merge, conflict and collide through 40 years of social and political upheaval as internal church politics affect the progress of the cathedral and the fortunes of the protagonists. "Follett has written a novel that entertains, instructs and satisfies on a grand scale," judged PW.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Adventure saga of 12th century England, from a stone mason whose dream is to build a glorious cathedral to a man of God in a web of dangerous political intrigue.

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