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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

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
19,04159286 (4.19)1 / 796
Member:joel.hilke
Title:The Pillars of the Earth
Authors:Ken Follett
Info:Signet (2010), Mass Market Paperback, 1008 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:None

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
    The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo (bugaboo4)
  5. 31
    Sarum by Edward Rutherfurd (mcenroeucsb, al.vick)
  6. 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)
  7. 10
    Hild by Nicola Griffith (kiwiflowa)
  8. 00
    When Christ and His Saints Slept by Sharon Kay Penman (Anonymous user)
  9. 00
    Das Haupt der Welt: Historischer Roman by Rebecca Gablé (MissBrangwen)
  10. 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 (519)  Spanish (21)  Catalan (14)  French (10)  German (8)  Danish (7)  Dutch (6)  Italian (5)  Swedish (1)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (592)
Showing 1-5 of 519 (next | show all)
Historical fiction you can cut your detail and connection loving teeth on. This was the first Follett I've read and it made me come back for more, and more, and more. I love interlocking character perspectives so it was a bit like literary crack. ( )
  lamotamant | Jun 23, 2016 |
I gotta say, this book was one that I will probably pursue reading at another time. The size was overwhelming and I just could not totally finish it. I also found myself, because of the wordiness of the prose and the myriad details in many places, skipping over or skimming sentences to get to the action. The architectural details are amazing and the lives of the people, real people one almost thinks, during that time are well-crafted. But too wordy for right now. ( )
  threadnsong | Jun 18, 2016 |
Terrific historical fiction. ( )
  ShelleyAlberta | Jun 4, 2016 |
I wasn't sure about this book at first, how can you make an enjoyable and interesting read about the building of a cathedral - but give Ken Follett his due he managed it.

I cared about the characters and I wanted to know if Tom and Prior Philip would be able to build their cathedral, would Jack and Aliena ever be together, would William get his comeuppance and why was the bishop afraid of Ellen?

Although I have my doubts about some of the language used and about whether people actually played football in the 12th century or if it was something similar, overall I thought this was a really enjoyable read. ( )
  KarenDuff | Jun 1, 2016 |
Review: The Pillars Of The Earth by Ken Follett.

This is a brilliant creative book with many pages but worth the read. It was the type of book that kept me reading until the small font gave me a headache but because of the great writing I was able to read other books in between this one and couldn’t wait to get back to Follett’s master-creative story. There is so much to gather and savor about this book that I won’t try to relate the extreme fulfillment I felt because I couldn’t give it the justification it deserves. It takes a truly magnificent imagination to create something of this magnitude and Ken Follett pulled it all together in a thousand pages and gave us a profound energized story.

The research was excellent, moving, informative and highly organized throughout the book. All the character’s traits were inspiring and well suited to make the story intriguing. I enjoyed the historic descriptive of the scenes, the comprehensible of political interplay between Kings, Earls, Queens, Bishop, Monks, Outlaws and the Law of the Lands in all the powerful twists and turns and fates of many people.

The scope of the book is immense and covers a wide geographical area and spans fifty years during a tumultuous time in England’s history. Early twelfth century England was a country in a state of instability. King Henry had died without a male heir and his daughter Maude was to be Queen. The English Barons would not settle for this and Maude’s cousin, Stephen of Blois, then assumed her rights and proclaimed himself King. This is where the story takes a plunge into a Civil War that lasted for years, turning England virtually lawless until Maude’s son became King Henry II of England.

There were many battles (told within the story) over the years that kept England in turmoil. The people’s lives would intersect with a number of other individuals, some good, some evil who would have a great impact on their lives and their goals. Spanning over fifty intense years, this historic story of love, hate, faith, betrayal, revenge, and triumph brings the scales down for the reader to grasp without hesitation every compound situations and issues that fogged England’s people, places, and centuries of rules.

The characters were amazing and well developed and I felt they were the strength of the book. The main character Tom Builder, a Master Mason whose dream was to build a Cathedral and Tom pursues his dream at the cost of losing his wife and almost killing his new born son. He soon got his chance through Prior Phillip in the small village of Kingsbridge, England. However, over the years it took to build the Cathedral there were a few co-conspirators who undermined his work. There were so many difficulties and bad aura that surrounded this small village throughout the book. The set-backs were unimaginable. However, the village always seemed, with hardship to pick up and concord their fears and justified their conquest to become a town of their own and have a magnificent Cathedral….

I believe this book took tremendous time and research to create so many events, action, characters, twelfth century data, and organization, to bring the story to the heights of giving me the feeling that I was there in the midst of it all. I felt every crevasse of carved stone that went into the building of this Cathedral, I felt every emotion these character portrayed, and I felt fully satisfied with the story….
( )
  Juan-banjo | May 31, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 519 (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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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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