Pillars of the Earth Paperback – Aug 1 2010
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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. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback 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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
Early twelfth century England was a country in a state of flux. King Henry I had died without a male heir. His daughter Maude was to be queen. The English barons, for the most part, however, refused to swear fealty to her. Maude's first cousin, Stephen of Blois, then usurped her rights and proclaimed himself king. This was to plunge England into a civil war that was to last for many, many years, turning England into a virtually lawless and tumultuous land, until Maude's son became King Henry II of England.
For most people, however, life would go on with every day concerns being paramount. The book tells the story of a number of these lives. One story is that of Tom, a master builder, whose life long dream was to build a cathedral. The lives of Tom and his family would intersect that of a humble and intelligent monk named Phillip who would become the prior at Kingsbridge Priory. The fates would intervene and provide Tom with an opportunity to pursue his dream.
Their lives would intersect with a number of other individuals, some good, some evil, who would have a great impact on their lives and their goals. Tom would lose his first wife, Agnes, by whom he already had two children, brutish Alfred and sweet Martha, due to complications sustained during the birth of another son. This son was to provide a connection between Tom and Phillip of which Phillip would long be unaware.
Tom would ultimately marry Ellen, a strong willed independent woman of the forest, perceived by many to be a witch.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
A great book.A must read if you are travelling to England or France?Published 3 months ago by Wally
Fantastic fictional historical book. Read it before and love it just as much this time!Published 4 months ago by Mary Nickel
This was an amazing read. I could not put it down. I'm so looking forward to the follow up book.Published 4 months ago by DONNADANCE
I bought this book as a gift for a granddaughter. I read this some time ago, and loved it, and hope she will too. Follett is a great story teller.Published 6 months ago by MaryJo
This book is a historical fiction from the years 1123 to 1174 and it depicts the conflicts and loves of a group of people in old England. Read morePublished 6 months ago by MS