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The Pillars of the Earth

164 Ratings: 2.9
A historical novel by Ken Follett

The Pillars of the Earth is a historical novel by Ken Follett published in 1989 about the building of a cathedral in Kingsbridge, England.  It is set in the middle of the 12th century, primarily during the time known as The Anarchy.  The book … see full wiki

Tags: Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction Books, Ken Follett, Gothic Architecture
Author: Ken Follett
Genre: Mystery & Thrillers
Publisher: NAL Trade
18 reviews about The Pillars of the Earth
review by . August 30, 2010
This was one of the most annoying books I've read in several decades. The writing was clunky and cliche-ridden. The characters were (mostly) wooden and unbelievable and the dialogue was an embarrassment to anyone who can speak. (one high-ranking priest says to another: "this place is a dump")On top of that the plot was clearly cranked out by a computer program. Every goal of the good guys is met with a number of obstacles -two or three- but then after either self-doubt or weakening …
review by . August 13, 2010
Good
I actually hated this book. I remember at one point becoming completely fed up and throwing the book across the room. I practically always finish the books that I start, but not this one.      Maybe the fact that I was so emotionally involved suggests that it is actually a good book, but one that I just couldn't stomach.      The plot, setting, and characters are all good. I especially like the vivid imagery and description of life in the middle ages in …
review by . July 09, 2010
Boy, I read Pillars of the Earth a long time ago, 1989, when it was first published in hardback. I like Follett's thriller-mysteries, but I recall reading the jacket and thinking that this isn't anything like Eye of the Needle or Lie Down With Lions.    I love historical fiction as long as they're tomes (think Edward Rutherfurd), and Pillars was, according to the jacket, about the life of the architect of a Gothic cathedral in England in the 12th century, when Gothic architecture …
review by . June 12, 2010
I used to work in a bookstore and occasionally I would see these books come through with Oprah's seal of approval, and generally I would just shelve them and forget about them.  I do not take reading cues from Oprah.  However, something about this weighty historical fiction caught my eye.  I don't know if it was the simple, yet aesthetic nature of the book cover, or the fact that it was summer time and I was looking for something other than either mystery/crime novels or …
Quick Tip by . June 15, 2010
This was very interesting to me, loved all the historical information on the process of building cathedrals.
Quick Tip by . June 29, 2010
Amazing story!
Quick Tip by . June 24, 2010
I could not put this book down!
Quick Tip by . June 22, 2010
This is one of those books that literally has it all: love, lust, hate, death, birth, starvation, redemption, and cathedrals. While the building of cathedrals is a main theme, don't overlook the fully-realized characters, and the way the author weaves them all into a memorable story. Very long, but definitely worth a read.
Quick Tip by . June 05, 2010
You will not want this book to end
Quick Tip by . May 21, 2010
Great historical novel. A little fat and descriptive at times, but stick with it, because it's worth it.
review by . March 25, 2009
The quality of the character development in this book by Ken Follett made me think of Tolstoy.  The first CD is so-so and hard to get into, but by the middle of the 31-disc set I was leaving the engine on in my car after arriving at my destination because I wanted to hear what would happen next.      Why I liked it so much: Historical fiction that taught me about architecture and politics. Strong female characters you really care about. You get inside the …
review by . December 16, 2008
Book Cover-Pillars of the Earth
I picked up The Pillars of the Earth at the library a few weeks ago.  It was featured in the "New Books" section, which is odd because it was published in the late 1980s.  It had one of those "Oprah's Book Club" stickers, so I knew it had to be moderately intense.  I also picked up that book because I remember my mother once saying it was her favorite.    Now, my mother was a very conservative, very loving, very warm woman.  I would have thought that her favorite …
review by . May 16, 2009
I loved this book. It centers around the building of a church in the late middle ages. A noble priest goes to great lengths to get it built. The book also introduces one of the most evil and ubiquitious villians as the sheriff who is constantly ruining everything. The action never stops. There is also so much history involving the ever-changing British kingship (it seems like there is a new king every week). Along with "A Dangerous Fortune" this is Follett at his best!
review by . March 21, 2009
My husband bought "The Pillars of the Earth" for me because we'd been playing the board game, which we really enjoy. It has a very attractive map board, with town and market, priory, woods and quarry, and many other places, nicely drawn and brightly colored. Workers are colored wooden cubes. Craftsmen and characters are nicely painted cards, as are events. And master builders are bright pawns. A turn involves sending your workers out, hiring craftsmen, bribing characters, paying your …
review by . March 30, 2008
Pros: This is an epic tale with every exploration of the human condition.     Cons: If one hates historical fiction, then it wouldn't be fun.     The Bottom Line: One of my top ten books ever, this epic tale of history and intrigue and romance moves me.     I'm reading this book again for about the sixth or seventh time. I don't know about you, but any book that bears the additional read for me does so for some profound reason.   …
review by . November 28, 2007
The Pillars of the Earth is an excellent novel. It is a very long book, but it is a very entertaining book about life in England in the Middle Ages. I loved the rivalries between the good guys and bad guys in this book. The theme of this book is that a church can bring people together. Another theme in the book is that anything can be achieved through hard work. The church is not only a place of worship in this book. It is a symbol of pride for the many people who help in building it. The church …
review by . November 21, 2007
Ken Follett brings 12th century England to life in this rollicking tale about the making of a cathedral. The story is actually about the people who make it, their lives, hopes, loves, hatreds and struggles. You come to know and care about the characters in this novel. And that is what a good story is all about: people. You also learn a lot about the history of England, daily life in the 1120's, the inner workings of a monastery, and medieval building techniques. This adds to the story, but does …
review by . May 22, 2002
I loved this book. It centers around the building of a church in the late middle ages. A noble priest goes to great lengths to get it built. The book also introduces one of the most evil and ubiquitious villians as the sheriff who is constantly ruining everything. The action never stops. There is also so much history involving the ever-changing British kingship (it seems like there is a new king every week).Along with "A Dangerous Fortune" this is Follett at his best!
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