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The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
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The Pillars of the Earth (original 1989; edition 2010)

by Ken Follett

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19,66960882 (4.19)1 / 806
Member:sylviawrigley
Title:The Pillars of the Earth
Authors:Ken Follett
Info:Signet (2010), Paperback, 1008 pages
Collections:Your library
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Work details

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett (1989)

  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. 60
    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 Lost Angel: A Novel by Javier Sierra (albavirtual)
  8. 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)
  9. 00
    Das Haupt der Welt: Historischer Roman by Rebecca Gablé (MissBrangwen)
  10. 00
    When Christ and His Saints Slept by Sharon Kay Penman (Anonymous user)
  11. 00
    World Without End by Ken Follett (delma28)
  12. 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.
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English (531)  Spanish (21)  Catalan (14)  French (10)  German (8)  Danish (7)  Dutch (6)  Italian (5)  Hungarian (2)  Swedish (1)  Finnish (1)  All (606)
Showing 1-5 of 531 (next | show all)
I did not think I would find much to like in a thick novel about construction of a medieval cathedral. I was wrong. Follett writes engaging characters, intricate stories and well-researched descriptions. ( )
  nmele | Jun 16, 2017 |
So depressed when I finished... there was no more story to read... recovered when I found the sequel! ( )
  TerryLewis | Jun 12, 2017 |
This novel was certainly an epic, taking me just over two months to read. I had to start over a few times because I would put it down for such a long time that I could not remember what happened last. Several times I was about to give up on it all together, but I kept through and it was certainly worth it. Though the first 100 pages were as boring as I can get out and it was this part alone that took me over a month and a half, the rest of the novel more than made up for it. This book is amazing.
Before reading the novel I was extremely frustrated with the lack of plot summary to be found about the book-- on the cover, on goodreads, online. However, after reading it I find that it is very difficult to explain. Essentially, this novel spans three generations of people in the mid twelfth century. I would have to say that the main family is that of Tom Builder, a man aspiring to build a cathedral, who meets up with several people along his journey. The other central character is Phillip, a reverent and pious monk, who is dedicated to serving God however he can and bringing up the situation of Kingsbridge priory on the way. Naturally, the ambitions of these men are thwarted by an evil earl and a vindictive bishop.
The perspective of the novel was shifting. I can remember six different narrators off the top of my head, and I'm sure there are several that I am forgetting. Each of these narrators interacts with the others at some point during the course of the novel and it is really neat to see the interdependence of the people at this time in history.
Overall, I would say that this novel is more of a leisurely read, however, there were points where I found it difficult to put down. The biggest complaint I have, aside from the slowness of the beginning, was that every single misfortune that could possibly occur happened to the characters happened. Just as soon as there was a minute or two of peace, something else terribly awful happened to the characters. If I was not so wrapped up in their stories, I would have found the number of setbacks to be terribly obnoxious.
However, on the whole this was a wonderful novel. I am curious to see what the sequel holds, especially after reading the polarized reviews on goodreads. ( )
  serogers02 | Jun 10, 2017 |
Wow. This is an epic tale and a large tome! At times, I felt I was slogging through, but somehow the story always pulled me back in and I couldn't quit without finding out how it all resolved. The "bad guys" are so bad I had to make sure they got their proper comeuppance!

I know Follett's passion is the architecture and construction of the cathedral, and it serves as a nice focal point for the drama of the characters' lives, but the parts that were hardest for me were the ones describing the details of design and construction; I guess that's just not my passion.

I read some pretty scathing reviews of this book on LibraryThing and some of them are fairly astute, but I found this book entertaining and engrossing despite its purported flaws. I might even seek out the next book in the series. ( )
  glade1 | Jun 10, 2017 |
An epic read that involves the building of a cathedral in the 12th century and the priory, town, and people that surround it. The book is lusciously long, full of different characters. There is faith, hope, tension, rape and pillage, and strife between the king and the church. The only thing that bothered me was the continuance of evil that ran from the beginning to the end in the form of two specific people. I did get tired of reading about them by the end, but it all works out. The next book is World Without End. ( )
  hobbitprincess | May 27, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 531 (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
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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.

(summary from another edition)

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