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The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
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The Pillars of the Earth (original 1989; edition 2007)

by Ken Follett

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
18,58857591 (4.19)1 / 787
Member:Daftboy1
Title:The Pillars of the Earth
Authors:Ken Follett
Info:Pan (2007), Edition: 4, Paperback, 1100 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:None

Work details

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett (1989)

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English (503)  Spanish (21)  Catalan (14)  French (9)  German (8)  Danish (7)  Dutch (6)  Italian (5)  Swedish (1)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (575)
Showing 1-5 of 503 (next | show all)
My book group is reading this over the summer; otherwise, I'd never have picked it up. Ken Follett really knows how to spin a yarn, I'll give him that. Pillars was a real page-turner for me. There was, however, a whole lot of repetition, and I think perhaps 200 of the 1000 pages could have been trimmed by a good editor. Also, I found the characters pretty one-dimensional; either they were virtuous or they were villainous. The descriptions of the cathedral building process were lost on me, even though I went to the trouble of consulting a visual dictionary on the subject of medieval cathedrals. I wonder how many people felt the same way. Another problem: the dialog. It sounds very modern to my ear, and therefore, not terribly convincing. I don't think Follett should have written in medieval English, yet he could have made the dialog sound a bit more realistic, though that would have cut down his audience. As a work of literature, I'd give it two stars; as a beach read, however, it gets three. ( )
  fromthecomfychair | Feb 11, 2016 |
This book was very good. I enjoyed it very much and it was read to me on a cd recording so it was even better with the voices made by the reader. ( )
  LaBla | Feb 6, 2016 |
This book was way too long winded for my liking. I found i could easily just gloss over pages (something i don't usually do) and not lose track of the plot. The story itself was ok, but for me the characters never really developed. The only reason I finished the novel was to see vile William meet his inevitable comeuppance - horrible man with no redeeming qualities at all. Think I will give the sequel a miss. ( )
  tashlyn88 | Feb 5, 2016 |
A consuming historical novel. Gets you into the grit and day-to-day of 12th cenury England. Not sure how much is historically accurate, but it tells a good story with a huge cast of characters. My favorite Follett though I'm not a particularly loyal fan. ( )
  dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
Great work of medieval fiction. ( )
  jerry-book | Jan 26, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 503 (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
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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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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)

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