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The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

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

by Ken Follett

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17,73754297 (4.2)1 / 754
Title:The Pillars of the Earth
Authors:Ken Follett
Info:Signet (2010), Mass Market Paperback, 1008 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett (1989)

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English (471)  Spanish (20)  Catalan (14)  French (9)  German (8)  Danish (7)  Dutch (6)  Italian (5)  Swedish (1)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (542)
Showing 1-5 of 471 (next | show all)
Here's another book that everyone liked except me. I bought this, and tried so many times to read it I lost count. Every time, down I would bog. Then I would hear how wonderful it was, and think, gotta give that another chance. Down I would bog again. Finally I just started skipping pages and reading at random, hoping it would finally grab me and I would go back to the beginning and off I'd go. Nope! It got worse! Finally it went into the library donation pile. Maybe I'll try to watch the miniseries someday.....(maybe not) ( )
  SusanListon | Nov 30, 2014 |
What a fascinating book! I usually enjoy historical fiction because, not only is it interesting, but I can learn a lot, too. This book was a very well-researched account of the building of a cathedral in England around the year 1150 or so. That might not sound interesting, but the author certainly made it enjoyable. However, I couldn't give this book 5 stars because of too much pointless profanity. If you can skip those pages this is a great book. I'm now reading the follow-up book from the same author, World Without End. ( )
  piersanti | Sep 28, 2014 |
Just put it down a minute ago. This work took me two weeks to finish. It's a Godless behemoth, but a very good read. I'm tempted to make a massive review to match its length, but I'll refrain. I will say only a few things:

Yes, as usual, it could have been shorter. Though the depth at which we get involved with the characters lives may not have happened for me if it had been say, 500 pages. The quality of the writing is far, i say far, from literary, but the trueness and authenticity of the characters is so well done, I wonder if anyone has ever done it in so plain a style as Follett has with any success. His words and phrases were anachronistic, but the situations and people were so real that you easily forgive that he didn't write it with the historical vernacular that very well could have slowed down and tarnished the narrative. Any reader or writer will find a great pleasure in these pages. Readers will enjoy being swept up in the lives of the characters, and writers are free to forget everything they think they know about story telling and just simply enjoy a good book. ( )
  DanielAlgara | Sep 26, 2014 |
I found this book to be utterly ridiculous.

There is nothing more intensely irritating than the use of modern language and attitudes in an historical setting. I especially recall one part where the 16-year-old daughter refused to eat with the family, but they were ok with that because "nobody wanted a sulky teenager at the dinner table". Really? I laughed out loud at that one.

And then there's all the rape. Quite apart from it being quite pointless and having nothing to do with the actual story, the women being raped seemed to like it just a little too much for comfort. It could be that the passage of time since I read it and my utter dislike of this book has altered my memory there, but I distinctly remember at least one rape where the woman ended up liking it and responding despite herself. You know, "no" means "no" only until it gets going and she realises it's quite fun after all. Ugh.

One of the worst books I've ever read. No wonder I don't like historical fiction ... this is why!

I give it half a star just so it doesn't look like it has no rating at all. ( )
  SunUp | Sep 26, 2014 |
This is one of my favorite historical novels. Set in medieval England, this book takes the reader on an epic journey following the building of a cathedral town called Kingsbridge. It follows the central characters over approximately 40 years, and is wrought with power and politics, and greed versus good. A gripping, fast-paced read – Highly recommended! ( )
  HarmonyC | Sep 16, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 471 (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 (39 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ken Follettprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Vázquez, RosalíaTranslatormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grant, Richard E.Narratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grant, Richard E.Narratorsecondary 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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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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