Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

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

by Ken Follett, John Lee (Narrator)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
18,30256194 (4.2)1 / 778
Title:The Pillars of the Earth
Authors:Ken Follett
Other authors:John Lee (Narrator)
Info:Signet 2010-06-29 (2010), Paperback
Collections:Your library
Tags:medieval era, cathedrals, monasteries, stone masons, King Henry II, King Steven, Thomas a Becket, audible, 2012

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. 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.

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

English (489)  Spanish (21)  Catalan (14)  French (9)  German (8)  Danish (7)  Dutch (6)  Italian (5)  Swedish (1)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (561)
Showing 1-5 of 489 (next | show all)
The Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett, is a work of fiction that takes place in England in the 12th century. Much of the story centers on the town of Kingsbridge, where a cathedral is being built. The characters are the builders, the merchants, the priests, etc. We follow their lives through about 40 years.
I’m sure it took Mr. Follett a long time to create this much text, but I for one would still have enjoyed it with less. Unfortunately, about 80% of the way through the story I couldn’t wait for it to be over! Take out the lopsided focus on the appearance of women’s bodies, take out some of the details on how to build things, take out some (but not all) of the sex. A little trimming and it would be perfect!
On the other hand, rarely have I come across a writer who has made me really care about a character (in this case, Tom the Builder), or hate a character more than I hated William, a sadistic rapist and murderer!
The conveyance of the atmosphere of the times in which the story takes place, without going over the top, is also much appreciated. ( )
  BooksOn23rd | Nov 25, 2015 |
Bldg of Cathedral in Middle Ages, ___ - Philip, Tom Builder, - long but good; detached

In a time of civil war, famine and religious strife, there rises a magnificent Cathedral in Kingsbridge. Against this backdrop, lives entwine: Tom, the master builder, Aliena, the noblewoman, Philip, the prior of Kingsbridge, Jack, the artist in stone and Ellen, the woman from the forest who casts a curse. At once, this is a sensuous and enduring love story and an epic that shines with the fierce spirit of a passionate age.
  christinejoseph | Nov 14, 2015 |
A man's lifelong quest, spanning more than 50 years, to build the most beautiful cathedral in medieval England. ( )
  jrthebutler | Sep 23, 2015 |
I've basically been avoiding this book for years because of its length, but my ignorance on this one finally became too much to bear, so I hunkered down with fierce determination and got it done! The main plot line is about a man whose dream is to build a cathedral in England in the 1200s. This plot didn't interest me much and in fact, I found myself bypassing the descriptive parts about the cathedral architecture. It made no sense to me and I really couldn't visualize it. The more exciting parts for me were the intertwining stories of the respectable prior, the egregious usurper, and the down-on-her-luck maiden (who doesn't remain so for long).

Surprisingly the book was exhausting for me, not because of the length, but because of the continual frustrations, setbacks and tragedies of all the characters. It was a two steps forward and one step back scenario where the hope would build and then it would be brutally crushed by the evil, usurping earl and the conniving priests who cared for nothing but their own self-interests. That said, I think the events and characterizations are incredibly real which is why I have such a fondness for the book. There are probably few works of fiction that have captured the essence of medieval life so skillfully. My exhaustion while reading the book is actually a complement to the author because the story was never predictable and he remained true to history despite my desire for a happy ending.

Although I continually found myself checking my progress and wanting to reach the end, once I got to the end I felt a little let down. I really didn't want it to be over after all. That was a big surprise for me. I had no idea how invested I had become in the story. I felt like I knew the characters and was sad to see them go. The author's ability to capture the injustices that have plagued history are heartbreaking and will stay with me for quite some time. ( )
1 vote valorrmac | Aug 19, 2015 |
this book was pretty good. i was really absorbed in the storyline and that hasn't happened in a while, so it was nice. i liked the way the stories of different characters came together. it was kind of annoying that the characters were either good or bad and nothing in between, but so it goes. it was still a good story. although it is pretty long it reads fast, and i'd recommend it. ( )
  klburnside | Aug 11, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 489 (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 editionsconfirmed
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.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
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
To Marie-Claire,
the apple of my eye
First words
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.
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
Publisher series
Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 16 descriptions

Quick Links

Popular covers


Average: (4.2)
0.5 15
1 90
1.5 20
2 196
2.5 63
3 646
3.5 244
4 1687
4.5 342
5 2610


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 | Store | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 100,950,669 books! | Top bar: Always visible