HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
Loading...

The Pillars of the Earth (1989)

by Ken Follett

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Kingsbridge (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
17,90355596 (4.2)1 / 767
  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. 50
    The Time Traveler's Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century by Ian Mortimer (Taphophile13)
  4. 31
    Sarum by Edward Rutherfurd (mcenroeucsb, al.vick)
  5. 31
    The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo (bugaboo4)
  6. 10
    Hild by Nicola Griffith (kiwiflowa)
  7. 10
    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)
  8. 00
    When Christ and His Saints Slept by Sharon Kay Penman (Anonymous user)
  9. 01
    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.
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

English (482)  Spanish (21)  Catalan (14)  French (9)  German (8)  Danish (7)  Dutch (6)  Italian (5)  Swedish (1)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (554)
Showing 1-5 of 482 (next | show all)
RGG: A thousand pages of historical fiction set in 12th century England. Peasants, monks, barons, and kings caught up in tragedy, romance, and conflict. And through it all, over seventy years a cathedral is built. The first volume of a trilogy. Several sexually explicit passages.
  rgruberhighschool | Apr 9, 2015 |
Probably shouldn't, but on Kindle, if only to hear about the Cathedral.
  Xleptodactylous | Apr 7, 2015 |
Love this book, teaches you a lot of history through amazing stories. ( )
  CarmenAguilera | Mar 24, 2015 |
I experienced this book in the unabridged, audio version -- meaning that I lived with it daily for months. What a magnificent epic it is. Who could have imagined that Ken Follett (previously an author of "thrillers") could create such a world? And who would have supposed that a novel about the construction of a 12th century cathedral would become a best- seller?

I remain in awe of this work and the talent that produced it. The author's powers of imagination are seemingly boundless, and the scholarship that had to have gone into it (including an intimate understanding of cathedral architecture) is stupendous.

I found the story to be deeply absorbing; the characterization is excellent; and the multi-generational epic held my attention through to the end. Not that the work is flawless. I found some of the sex scenes excruciating to listen to; in fact, I very nearly tossed the CD set aside, when in an early episode, the main character (Tom Builder) has sex with a woman he has just, met next to the fresh grave of his newly- deceased wife. Further, according to the Wikipedia page, the book contains some historical anachronisms (though most of these strike me as trivial). Nevertheless, I hold this work in high regard, and am glad I stayed with it through to the end. ( )
2 vote danielx | Mar 20, 2015 |
“Jack was too absorbed in his work to hear the bell. He was mesmerized by the challenge of making soft, round shapes of hard rock. The stone had a will of its own, and if he tried to make it do something it did not want to do, it would fight him, and his chisel would slip, or dig in too deeply, spoiling the shapes. But once he had got to know the lump of rock in front of him he could transform it. The more difficult the task, the more fascinated he was. He was beginning to feel that the decorative carving demanded by Tom was too easy. Zigzags, lozenges, dogtooth, spirals and plain roll moldings bored him, and even these leaves were rather stiff and repetitive. He wanted to curve natural-looking foliage, pliable and irregular, and copy the different shapes of real leaves, oak and ash and birch.”

This is the story of a cathedral and the people who fight for its birth and for its destruction, all encompassed by a succession crisis in 12th century England, complicated by secrets, lies and betrayals. Throughout the book, reader’s switch between several protagonists important in the life of the cathedral, experiencing the medieval period from down in the dirt, just struggling to survive.

I appreciated how much background was given to most of the characters, including our point of view characters. Readers come to understand how much Prior Philip cares for his makeshift family after his own had been killed when he was young; they root for Aliena to win the day after everything is taken from her over and over again; they cheer Jack on in his pursuit of becoming a Master Builder even when obstacles like family and his social economic status work against him. Follett makes you care about the fate of these characters and wonder about how they’re going to extricate themselves from certain situations. I also heartily enjoyed the moment when people pulled together to try and thwart the antagonists who seemed to have entirely too many opportunities for mischief.
The story did have a few glaring problems though. The pacing is poor, creating a lack of tension for the first half of the book. While the story does a good job of setting up the plot and introducing the characters, the action didn’t pick up until the end of the book. It felt like the majority of the conflict was held in reserve for the last half while the beginning was taken up with dialogue and description. The problem is likely in the switching between protagonists which creates a stop and start effect in the narrative, interrupting the fluidity of the story.

Follett does a good job of grounding the reader in the scene, giving you a taste of the period and all its myriad smells and sights. But there is entirely too much time spent on describing the architecture within the story. It’s understandable that some time would be devoted to this as the book centers around the building of a cathedral but it took too much time away from the story. Also, it seems unlikely that the majority of readers would be familiar with the features described so it would have helped if there had been diagrams at the front of the book. It was difficult to visualize some of the descriptions which brought me right out of the story.

Overall it was an interesting story but if a thousand page story is overlong for you I would recommend the miniseries produced several years ago. Keep in mind though that they do make changes to the story. New characters and plotlines are added to flesh out the story and add tension. There are also several key changes made to characters which I didn’t agree with as it altered their entire personality. ( )
  theduckthief | Mar 13, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 482 (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 (31 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ken Follettprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Vázquez, RosalíaTranslatormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Conrad, Gabrielesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grant, Richard E.Narratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kiel, AchimIllustratorsecondary 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.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
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 Domesday Book to Magna Carta
On the night of 25 November 1120 the White Ship set out for Englandand 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
The small boys came early to the hanging. (Preface)
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.
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

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.
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

A prior, a master builder, and their community try to build a cathedral to protect themselves while Stephen and the Empress Maud fight for the crown of England.

» see all 17 descriptions

Quick Links

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (4.2)
0.5 15
1 84
1.5 20
2 190
2.5 63
3 629
3.5 241
4 1645
4.5 346
5 2551

Audible.com

4 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 96,609,322 books! | Top bar: Always visible