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The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
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The Pillars of the Earth (original 1989; edition 1990)

by Ken Follett

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
20,968645104 (4.19)1 / 834
Member:TheCriticalTimes
Title:The Pillars of the Earth
Authors:Ken Follett
Info:Signet (1990), Paperback, 992 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:Historical Fiction

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. 51
    The Time Traveler's Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century by Ian Mortimer (Taphophile13)
  4. 20
    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)
  5. 32
    The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo (bugaboo4)
  6. 32
    Sarum by Edward Rutherfurd (mcenroeucsb, al.vick)
  7. 00
    Das Haupt der Welt: Historischer Roman by Rebecca Gablé (MissBrangwen)
  8. 00
    The Stones of the Abbey by Fernand Pouillon (Stbalbach)
    Stbalbach: Novel about a 12thC medieval master builder in France
  9. 11
    Hild by Nicola Griffith (kiwiflowa)
  10. 11
    The Lost Angel: A Novel by Javier Sierra (albavirtual)
  11. 00
    When Christ and His Saints Slept by Sharon Kay Penman (Anonymous user)
  12. 00
    World Without End by Ken Follett (delma28)
  13. 02
    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 (565)  Spanish (21)  Catalan (15)  French (10)  Italian (7)  Dutch (7)  Danish (7)  German (7)  Hungarian (2)  Swedish (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (643)
Showing 1-5 of 565 (next | show all)
I didn't enjoy this book at all – some characters were fun, but the story was terribly flat, easy to predict and boring. Add in the length of the book and the semi-interesting rambling on architecture (seriously, I enjoyed a book on cathedral building a few years ago, but this pseudo mix of literature and facts was just annoying). Most characters were very flat aswell (good vs evil, bah), and overall I could have spent my time much better. ( )
  _rixx_ | Aug 30, 2018 |
Wouldn't recommend it. It did not interest me enough to persevere till the very end. ( )
  ashkrishwrites | Aug 29, 2018 |
You have to give credit to any writer who can make you still turn the pages as the count nears 1,000. This is artless art, like a melodrama from the 1950s, without pretensions or "commentary" or its author drawing attention to himself. This is not Thomas Pynchon or Melville; its strength is that it never pretends to be. While it took me a month, off and on, to finish it, doing so never felt like a chore and I never forgot who-was-doing-what: another credit to the author. The characters (especially Prior Phillip) all behave in wholly believable ways and Follett never attempts to teach his reader anything about the Middle Ages. Instead, he tells the story, which happens to be set at that time. Some people love the architectural details, but I found these the least interesting thing in the book, not caring about transepts or clerestories or undercrofts. The three or four sex scenes are ridiculous, only because all sex scenes are ridiculous. However, the plot makes sense, the strands intersect skillfully, and I looked forward to reading it every time I picked it up. This is a good book to read in the winter, when it's freezing outside and you're sitting in a warm house with coffee and silence. Remember when the sole question behind what you read was What will happen next? This book is a reminder of what that felt like. ( )
  Stubb | Aug 28, 2018 |
Resumo: Tom Pedreiro sonha em construir uma catedral. O sonho e a força das circunstâncias levam-no a perder a mulher, abandonar o filho recém-nascido e quase a morrer de fome junto com os seus filhos. A ele junta-se Ellen e o seu filho Jack, um rapaz inteligente mas socialmente inadaptado, que comete um acto inacreditável para ajudar a família. O irmão de Philip visita-o e trás consigo um recém-nascido que encontrou na floresta. Trás consigo uma notícia que pode afectar o destino político do reino. Philip decide ajudar o irmão e pouco depois é nomeado Prior. Decide restabelecer as finanças do priorado mas uma tragédia muda-lhe o rumo das suas decisões. William Hamleigh ajuda a derrubar o conde Bartholomew, conqustando para o seu pai o título de conde. Mas é a filha deste, Aliena, que ele tanto cobiça. Aliena e o seu irmão, após o derrube do pai, ficam sem nada. Após visitarem o pai na prisão, este fá-los jurar que irão um dia reconquistar tudo.

Crítica: As críticas que me tinham chegado, tanto pessoalmente como online, é que este livro era um pouco chato, principalmente ao início. Ainda bem que não dei ouvidos e comprei-o à mesma. Logo ao início, a tragédia de Tom o Pedreiro comoveu-me como eu não esperava. E o Philip é uma personagem fabulosa. Adoro-o! A forma como o rumo das várias personagens se entrelaça, movidas pelo destino, pela ambição e uma forte vontade de viver, fez-me apaixonar por esta história, tão humana e real. Também adorei que, ao contrário da maior parte dos livros de hoje em dia, não havia propriamente nenhum mistério para resolver ou um segredo por descobrir. O problema surge e as personagens resolvem-no, deixando espaço para uma leitura sem ansiedades ou perguntas.

Pontos positivos: A inteligência da narrativa, muito bem montada. A excelente caracterização e humanização das personagens. A escrita simples que não atrapalha a narrativa e compreensão da mesma.

Pontos negativos: Porquê 2 volumes?! Nem sei quando terei a oportunidade de comprar o segundo e, com tanto que tenho para ler, quando agarrar no segundo, já terei esquecido grande parte do primeiro. Aliena, é visivelmente retratada como heroína mas não gostei da falta de características femininas, à excepção da roupa, cabelo comprido, bonita.

Expectativas e estado de espírito: Expectativas baixas, devido às críticas de "livro chato" que me tinham chegado. Este livro foi lido no período mais cansativo do ano: o Natal. Andava exausta e daí ter demorado tanto tempo a lê-lo. Talvez não o tenha apreciado devidamente por isso mesmo.

Fez-me reflectir sobre: Intrigas. Os pilares da nossas certezas: o quanto são frágeis e podem ser destruídos tão rapidamente. ( )
  Telma_tx | Jul 30, 2018 |
In reviewing this book, my challenge will be to balance a range of strong but, in some cases, opposing reactions.

On the positive side, I genuinely enjoyed the milieu of this novel. Follett's insights into medieval politics, medieval life, and the logistics of cathedral building kept me enthralled until the last page. The author clearly has done a TON of historical research; it was a pleasure to be able to learn more about this oft-neglected and stereotyped period of history in the context of an engaging story. Though dialog and descriptions can at times feel anachronistic, the story also incorporates moments of genuine love, grief, and grace. I believe the novel earns all the praise it has received for these elements.

Follett’s characters, on the other hand, seem to me a mixed bag. While some of the characters and their narrative arcs feel rich and fully realized - Tom Builder, Pryor Philip, Richard - others come off as jarringly one-dimensional, especially William. His relentless persecution of Aliena might be necessary to propel the plot forward and provide suspense, but his unrelenting evil deeds render him an almost cartoonish figure. I kept picturing him as one of those silent screen villains, complete with waxed mustache, forever tying the heroine to railroad tracks.

Which leads me to my biggest peeve of the book, the "damsel in distress" subplot. I suspect Follett's depiction of women as relentlessly abused (physically, sexually, emotionally) is probably spot-on; even so, I quickly grew impatient with the constant depictions of rape and female subjugation. In particular, the soap-opera nature of the Aliena/William/Jack triangle felt manipulated and anachronistic, inserted into an otherwise terrific novel of political intrigue in order to manufacture drama.

At 976 pages, this book isn't so much an entertainment as an investment. Weighing all the factors, I still recommend the novel as a worthy read. However, I'm not going to join the pack that seems intent on rushing this onto lists of "classic literature." While parts of this are terrific and worthy, some of Follett's plot devices and caricatures left me disappointed. ( )
  Dorritt | Jul 28, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 565 (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.

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