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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A VERY ENJOYABLE BOOK.
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...
Published on Nov. 24 2007 by NeuroSplicer

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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This was just tragic
A friend recommended this, and then an aunt did, so I picked it up. What a mistake! I wanted to like this based on the great reviews from people I know, but this book just couldn't live up to it. Many of the points that drove me crazy have been mentioned, but I'll sum it up again.
-ALL of the characters are completely one-dimensional. The "good" ones are...
Published on April 29 2008 by L. K.


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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A VERY ENJOYABLE BOOK., Nov. 24 2007
By 
NeuroSplicer (Freeside, in geosynchronous orbit) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME)   
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.

RECOMMENDED.
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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
By 
Michel Morel (Quebec City, QC, Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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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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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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This was just tragic, April 29 2008
A friend recommended this, and then an aunt did, so I picked it up. What a mistake! I wanted to like this based on the great reviews from people I know, but this book just couldn't live up to it. Many of the points that drove me crazy have been mentioned, but I'll sum it up again.
-ALL of the characters are completely one-dimensional. The "good" ones are completely virtuous, and are always at the mercy of the "bad" ones. The "bad" characters are completely cliched- horrible in every facet of their being and their physical appearance is supposed to mirror that (Waleran is skinny and "spidery" like a Disney villain.)
-There is completely unnecessary detail about mundane events that do not advance the plot or give you any insight into anyone's motivations. There is a scene that is about 3 pages long solely about a fight between a bear and some greyhounds that I ended up skipping. And the "detail" about cathedral building is tiresome and insanely boring.
-Every chapter the "suspense" builds by either the "good" or the "bad" guys being in charge. But by the next chapter, someone else will be ahead and the chapter after that the other side will have won.
-And I GET IT: Aliena has a mass of unruly dark curls.

This book, for all of it's magnificent reviews, is such a disappointment. The writing is really shallow and the characters never get to be anything but superficially good or evil. I really couldn't recommend that anyone read this unless you want to waste your time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth the 983 pages, Jan. 11 2011
By 
Carla Kolk (Edmonton, Alberta Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Pillars of the Earth (Mass Market Paperback)
I was hooked from the first sentence. The characters were dynamic, imperfect and interesting; the dialogue was compelling and the wealth of story lines very well tied together. I really appreciated the author tying up loose ends throughout the narrative - not leaving anything unfinished. The author's voice was so sublte; it felt as those I was being read to aloud rather than reading it for myself. This book is totally worth its weight.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Pillars can barely support interest, let alone the earth, May 17 2004
This review is from: The Pillars of the Earth (Mass Market Paperback)
Don't be fooled with its user rating, The Pillars of the Earth is a horrible book. The title itself is a prologue of the ridiculousness of the book. Pillars of the Earth? It can barely support interest and quality, let alone the weight of the earth.
The Pillars of the Earth is hardly an epic. Its choppy sentences, flat characters, slow pace, lack of stirring imagery, and annoyingly simple writing style makes it another of the modern books disguised in a mediaeval setting that are becoming so popular.
Follett spends pages upon pages describing the architecture of the cathedral or the procedures of cathedral-building. Unfortunately, his descriptions fail to capture the imagination or inspire, as does the imagery of other writers, such as Daphne du Maurier in 'Rebecca' or J.R.R. Tolkien in 'The Lord of the Rings.'
And the complex characters? Look somewhere else for that! Follett's characters all fall into two main categories: Good Guys and Bad Guys. Then there's the uncountable number of characters whose only point of existance seems to be to fill up another page. All of these characters are extremely unrealistic. The bad guys are two-dimensional, their motives are fake and predictable. The women are predictable, all fitting nearly perfectly into the mold of 'damsel in distress' or a perversion of the fairy-tale princess.
And for those who claim that this is a great introduction to mediaeval England, I have to feel sorry that they're walking around with such a warped view of the Dark Ages. The characters and situations are modern-day scenarios thrown into a mediaeval setting. Characters' values, speech, etc. are incredibly modern. For example, an unmarried couple with children (Aliena and Jack) would definitely be frowned-upon. A witch (Ellen) would probably provoke a witch-hunt.
The worst part about the whole tedious book, other than the length, was the writing style. His sentences are short and undetailed, except when the details are unneeded, as in the unneccessary tens of sex scenes.
In short, The Pillars of the Earth was a horrible book. Don't be fooled, it's NOT an epic (try the iliad or the odyssey), NOT a masterpeice (most of charles dickens' works are), not a good intro. to mediaeval life (Beowulf is better) and NOT worth your money.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, July 5 2014
By 
Yves Rathe "FireDiver" (Montreal, Qc Canada) - See all my reviews
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WoW!
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5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite book ever, April 23 2014
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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
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4.0 out of 5 stars Love this book, April 5 2014
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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. Made me wonder why I loved it so much the first time.
Follett is one of my fave authors but maybe just a one-time read.
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The Pillars of the Earth
The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett (Mass Market Paperback - Sept. 4 2007)
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