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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 ratingMentions
22,504668105 (4.18)867
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.
Recently added byj_tuffi, Marikao, Luis_Castrillo, rena40, chris8928, private library, carlypancakes, lloyd17, Canutus
  1. 92
    Cathedral of the Sea by Ildefonso Falcones (crgalvin, OTVTT2010)
    OTVTT2010: Molemmat mieleenpainuvia lukukokemuksia, laadukasta viihdettä.
  2. 81
    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 Stones of the Abbey by Fernand Pouillon (Stbalbach)
    Stbalbach: Novel about a 12thC medieval master builder in France
  5. 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)
  6. 32
    Sarum by Edward Rutherfurd (mcenroeucsb, al.vick)
  7. 32
    The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo (bugaboo4)
  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. 00
    World Without End by Ken Follett (delma28)
  11. 00
    When Christ and His Saints Slept by Sharon Kay Penman (Anonymous user)
  12. 11
    The Lost Angel by Javier Sierra (albavirtual)
  13. 11
    Hild by Nicola Griffith (kiwiflowa)
  14. 01
    The Archer's Tale by Bernard Cornwell (Cecrow)
    Cecrow: Similar period, albeit more battle oriented.
  15. 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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» See also 867 mentions

English (582)  Spanish (23)  Catalan (15)  French (11)  Danish (7)  Dutch (7)  German (7)  Italian (7)  Hungarian (2)  Swedish (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (663)
Showing 1-5 of 582 (next | show all)
This is a LOT of book with a lot happening in it. So much so that I took an extended break from reading it in the middle. The constant back and forth between the "good" guys and the "bad" (I put those in quotes because while the good guys have some legit flaws, the bad guys don't seem to have any redeeming qualities) felt a little draining to me, but after my break I realized I was genuinely curious to find out what happened to this little band of characters. I would suggest this one is worth a read if you're someone who can alternate this and another, completely different, book to keep it from dragging in the middle. ( )
  Jthierer | Apr 28, 2020 |
4* ( )
  gumnut25 | Apr 21, 2020 |
A beginning author with two light spy stories decides to write a 1000 page tomb on the building of a cathedral. What do you think happens?

- He can't create convincing characters - a starving mason's son & a lord's son hiding behind a tree waiting to knife someone both speak in the same voice, that of a 20th century middle class author.

- The plot is slow, as this young author has never heard of Kurt Vonnegut's recommendation "start as near to the end as possible" or, worse "the reader's time is valuable". After 250 pages only one, maybe two, interesting things had happened. (250! pages).

- Interest is maintained by repeated unlikely meetings and re-meetings of characters, weak love & hate storylines and pathetic cliffhangers at the end of each chapter.

- The book's success comes from people like me being fooled: wow, a huge book about building a cathedral. I'll take part in that. Bad mistake.

Good for: those who like their books simple, unchallenging and as a substitute for 21st century television.
Bad for: anyone who has ever read a Cormac McCarthy book. ( )
  GirlMeetsTractor | Mar 22, 2020 |
Though I can't remember the details clearly, I do remember being profoundly affected by this great novel. It is very well written, drawing me into an era I'm unfamiliar with. The characters were well imagined and so well written. I couldn't put this book down - highly recommended. ( )
  Terrie2018 | Feb 21, 2020 |
Set in the 1100's England. The story of the building of a cathedral. The prior, the builders and an evil Bishop play parts. In this book the bad guys are really despicable and the good guys are saintly. ( )
  LindaLeeJacobs | Feb 15, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 582 (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
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
Rosenthal, JeanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rost, Christelsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vázquez, RosalíaTranslatorsecondary 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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