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The Pillars Of The Earth [Library Binding]

Ken Follett
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (641 customer reviews)
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Book Description

June 1 1996
Make this your next book club selection and everyone saves.
Get 15% off when you order 5 or more of this title for your book club.
Simply enter the coupon code FOLLETPILLARS at checkout.
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A spellbinding epic tale of ambition, anarchy, and absolute power set against the sprawling medieval canvas of twelfth-century England, this is Ken Follett's historical masterpiece.

Abridged edition read by Richard E. Grant

--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Tom Builder's dream is to build a cathedral, but in the meantime, he must scrounge about to find a lord that will hire him. His search pulls him and his family into the politics of 12th-century England, as different lords vie to gain control of the throne in the wake of the recently deceased king. Prior Phillip, a man raised in the monastery since childhood, also finds himself drafted into the brewing storm as he must protect the interests of a declining church. Richard E. Grant seduces readers early on with a soft and deliberate voice that is like a loud whisper. However, his full range quickly reveals itself as he delves into characters with animated voices that exert their true essence. Even throughout the narrative, Grant musters a lively voice that imbues energy into the story. The only shortcoming is that the abridgment of Follett's 1989 novel proves to be too choppy. Though the story appears complete, there still remain abrupt moments throughout the tale. Penguin Audio's unabridged version is read by John Lee and runs 41 hours. (Dec.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

From Library Journal

A radical departure from Follett's novels of international suspense and intrigue, this chronicles the vicissitudes of a prior, his master builder, and their community as they struggle to build a cathedral and protect themselves during the tumultuous 12th century, when the empress Maud and Stephen are fighting for the crown of England after the death of Henry I. The plot is less tightly controlled than those in Follett's contemporary works, and despite the wealth of historical detail, especially concerning architecture and construction, much of the language as well as the psychology of the characters and their relationships remains firmly rooted in the 20th century. This will appeal more to lovers of exciting adventure stories than true devotees of historical fiction. Literary Guild dual main selection.
- Cynthia Johnson Whealler, Cary Memorial Lib., Lexington, Mass.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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First Sentence
IN A BROAD VALLEY, at the foot of a sloping hillside, beside a clear bubbling stream, Tom was building a house. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A VERY ENJOYABLE BOOK. Nov. 24 2007
PILLARS OF THE EARTH is one of those books one can really enjoy and will leave a memorable aftertaste long after the last page is turned.

The story is set in the middle ages (12th century) and starts in a stormy night full of death and new life, desperation and hope. It then follows the story of a stone-mason (Tom Builder) and his family in his efforts to continue building a cathedral (Kingsbridge) and, thus, carve out a living for his family.
The story, of course, also branches out into a number of interweaving stories, from the villainous lord William Hamleigh and pious Prior Phillip, to beautiful Aliena and Tom Builder's children and their own ambitions and schemes.

KEN FOLLETT is a well above average English writer (I would recommend also trying his NIGHT OVER WATER). If you have came across interviews of his declaring himself an atheist, do not let this discourage you from buying this book: he approaches a religious theme (the building of a cathedral by a monastery Prior) with respect and fairness.

Although not a masterpiece (and hardly a classic), PILLARS OF THE EARTH does occupy No.33 on the BBC's Big Read (a 2003 survey with the goal of finding England's Best-loved Book), just below Gabriel García Márquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude and above...Charles Dickens' David Copperfield (yeah, I know...) - which goes to show how much people are enjoying the easy narrative and interesting plot.
The book runs for almost 1,000 pages, so make sure to have some free time ahead before getting started.

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A big, fat, rich tour of the 12th century Dec 5 2007
This is a wonderful book-a historical novel fan's dream come true. I have read this book twice and loved it even more the second time. If you only read one book this year, make it this one. Even though it is long and daunting in size, you will find it to be hard to put down. While reading this novel, I resented the intrusion of my job, my household chores and other mundane activies like eating and sleeping. While I believe it would make a great movie, I would be afraid that it would be spoiled by the need to cut so much. Thank you, Mr. Follett! It's a treasure.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars surprizing! Nov. 15 2007
This book has been given to me by a friend. Not beeing a frequent book reader, the beginning of the book with the characters descriptions and all I was not too motivated. But getting into the story has got me using spare time to read more and more. Very credible story happening around the 12th century. Ken Follett's strenght, in my opinion, is describing the state of mind of his characters at any given time. I could imagine easily beeing there. Very good!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 600 pages book disguised in a 973. Nov. 26 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am very confused about my feeling for this book. I really enjoyed the story but there are so many bad things about this book. First, from page 700 til the end I really skim throu the book because I couldn't read one more thing about trancept and buttress and all the repeatious things about construction work. But way before that I did pass over cockfight and dogfight and bearbaiting etc.

I laughted a some of the language. I don't think the term BAMBOUZELED was used in the 1200th. Kids didn't pay football because even my mother, 60 years ago played with a pig's blader on the farm. So my guest is it was pigball or simply ball.

I enjoyed all of the characters. Although they were pretty flat such as the bad one were bad without one iota of goodness in them and the good ones were good to the core.

Finally, I am very picky about giving a 5 stars to a book. If I could have given a 3 1/2 to this one that's what I would have done.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Follett's Best Dec 1 2007
If you like historical fiction, this is a book you can get lost in. Don't let the thickness of it intimidate you because it doesn't seem that long while you're reading it. You'll be on the 900th page before you know it.

Being familiar with and a fan of other books by Ken Follett, I originally bought and read this book several years ago. I was absolutely knocked out and captivated by the story and read it in two settings.

Part of what makes a story great to me is when I truly get wrapped up in its characters and begin to associate and have feelings for them, good or bad. In a sense, they come to life while I'm reading the story. This was especially true for "The Pillars of the Earth," having been totally entranced by the end of the first chapter. I especially come to care for Tom and his family, and later, for Jack and his mother. In fact, when one of the major characters dies midway through the story (I won't say who and spoil part of the story), I was shocked and had to lay the book down for several minutes.

As another note on this and Mr. Follett's other books, even though I am male (if that should make any difference), I respect his use of a strong female character playing a major role in his stories.

If you like Philosophy I recommend the book Understanding: Train of Thought.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Favourite! Nov. 14 2007
This is not your typical Ken Follett story. It is one of my (and my husband's ) all-time favourite books. It hooks you from the first sentence. I have given it to friends who also love it. Could never believe that someone didn't turn it into a movie (yet!). Glad it's finally getting the recognition it deserves. Enjoy!
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good book
This was a present but I did read this book some years ago and it is excellent.
Published 2 days ago by Ligia De Freitas
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
good book
Published 28 days ago by kurt beck
4.0 out of 5 stars if you like historical dramas this book is an excellent read
I'm reading more of his books....if you like historical dramas this book is an excellent read.
Published 1 month ago by Margaret deMunnik
5.0 out of 5 stars It was a wonderful book, which I wanted to go on and ...
It was a wonderful book, which I wanted to go on and on and on. I was hoping there was a sequel with the same people in the book.

Fall of Giants was a terrible book. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Marjorie Ingerman
4.0 out of 5 stars aficionados of Ken Follett and in particular the anxiety each novel...
I do not feel it is necessary to write a review of "The Pillars of the Earth" simply because at this time it has been reviewed by so many enthusiasts of historical fiction,... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Waymark, Graeme
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A favorite book
Published 2 months ago by RITA
4.0 out of 5 stars Incursion into Middle-Age England
The Pillars of the Earth is set in 12th century England and tells the tale of several individuals and families with intertwined stories over the course of 40 years. Read more
Published 2 months ago by SnowPharoah
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 3 months ago by Yves Rathe
5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite book ever
I read a book a week on average, Follett's Pillars as well as the two sequels are my all timefavourites, and not likely to ever be dislodged from first place
Published 6 months ago by Daniel T Keough
4.0 out of 5 stars Love this book
I read this in five days the first time. Tried to revisit it a second time and found much of the dialogue repetitive and tiresome. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Rosalynde Woodcock
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