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The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

The Pillars of the Earth (1989)

by Ken Follett

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Kingsbridge (1)

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12th century (208) 2008 (52) architecture (306) audiobook (61) Britain (42) British (47) cathedrals (479) church (55) ebook (51) England (503) epic (89) fiction (1,513) follett (41) historical (357) historical fiction (1,400) historical novel (183) history (259) Ken Follett (57) Kindle (66) literature (61) medieval (383) Middle Ages (419) novel (198) own (90) read (167) religion (106) Roman (84) romance (57) to-read (247) unread (72)
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    The Time Traveler's Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century by Ian Mortimer (Taphophile13)
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    The Physician by Noah Gordon (ecureuil)
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    Cathedral of the Sea by Ildefonso Falcones (crgalvin, OTVTT2010)
    OTVTT2010: Molemmat mieleenpainuvia lukukokemuksia, laadukasta viihdettä.
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    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)
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    When Christ and His Saints Slept by Sharon Kay Penman (Anonymous user)
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    The Janissary Tree by Jason Goodwin (TAir)

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English (458)  Spanish (20)  Catalan (14)  German (8)  French (8)  Danish (7)  Dutch (6)  Italian (6)  Swedish (1)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (529)
Showing 1-5 of 458 (next | show all)
Get out your compass, square and plumb bob — you’re going to want them on the jobsite in The Pillars of the Earth, a historical melodrama that chronicles the lives of people who are occupied — and preoccupied — with building a cathedral in 12th-century England.
Now, I like cathedrals — I’ve lived in Europe and looked at plenty of gargoyles and rose windows. But Pillars regales you with everything you never wanted to know about how religious architecture evolved, from Romanesque arches, to Gothic groined vaults, to flying buttresses. A short course in Euclidean geometry and a multiplicity of excruciatingly graphic descriptions of gratuitous sex and violence double the book’s length. An attempt to give depth to a cardboard villain by giving him nightmares and a fear of hellfire is laughable. The characters’ peripheral involvement in the struggle for succession between the descendants of Henry I is unconvincing, and complicity in the murder of Thomas Becket is one of several clumsy deus ex machina solutions that appear throughout. The writing is flawed by an excess of adverbs and points of view, as well as anachronistic slang.
I haven’t seen the screen adaptation, but it might be an improvement upon the book — like James Clavell’s Shōgun. As published, I think it fails to live up to its potential, but if you’re a fan of encyclopedic tomes like Arthur Hailey’s Airport and James Michener’s Hawaii, you might enjoy getting a snootful of stone dust as you witness the building of The Pillars of the Earth.
( )
  christineplouvier | Apr 20, 2014 |
It was worth the read, has a grand plot, an epic tale with simple story telling. You'll definitely connect with the characters. However, at times may seem an impossible task because of the length but I'm glad to report there were no dragging moments in the book. Its not that exciting in my opinion but its not boring, timing is always perfect! I just hate William Hamleigh and his barbaric actions. I'm just glad that people came up with "human rights" so people like William Hamleigh will not have any reason or excuse to be ruthless to other people just because they get in "his" way. Recommend it to people who are not scared to read a lengthy book. ( )
  krizia_lazaro | Mar 16, 2014 |
This is one of my all time favourite books. Set in the middle of the 12th century, telling us of the building of one of England's mighty Cathedrals, in the fictional town of Kingsbridge. It covers approximately 40 years of the struggle of good men over evil, ambition, lust, power, birth and death. Read it, it's brilliant !!
P.S. The Mini Series is great too! ( )
  Fliss88 | Mar 13, 2014 |
fiction, England
  anotherpassportstamp | Mar 6, 2014 |
did not finish...could not. ( )
  Annmarie_Banks | Jan 26, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 458 (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 (40 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ken Follettprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Vázquez, RosalíaTranslatormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lundborg, GunillaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Piggott-Smith, TimNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Röhr-Rouendaal, PetraIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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
To Marie-Claire,
the apple of my eye
First words
The small boys came early to the hanging. (Preface)
In a broad valley, at the foot of a sloping hillside, beside a clear bubbling stream, Tom was building a house. (Chapter 1)
The baby cried, and the sound tugged at his heartstrings like a well-loved hymn. p.89
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Disambiguation notice
Norwegian translation is split into two parts: Stormenes tid I
sverdet og korset AND Stormenes tid II
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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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.

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