Book Reviews of Pillars of the Earth

Pillars of the Earth
Author: Ken Follett
ISBN-13: 9780613174350
ISBN-10: 0613174356
Publication Date: 3/2001
Rating:
  • Currently 4.6/5 Stars.
 4

4.6 stars, based on 4 ratings
Publisher: Bt Bound
Book Type: Library Binding
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

249 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed Pillars of the Earth on + 57 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 40
This book looks long, but it draws you in and makes you want to know what happens next, so you'll find yourself finding a spare minute to read every chance you get. Great character development, and the author follows characters for many years. A story that gets you involved, along with some historical aspects of cathedral building. I enjoyed it immensely!
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on + 13 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 33
This book is very well written, but it is an epic tale with 983 pages. My husband and I read it together on a road trip (he drives, I read aloud). He would make excuses to go places in the car after we arrived at our destination just so we could continue the book! It is set in the 12th century, but "touches all human emotion---love and hate, loyalty and treachery, hope and despair." The characters are very real and touchable, and it draws you right into their world.
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on + 5 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 28
This was a captivating and vividly depicted novel of medieval England. Forget that the main theme is the building of a cathedral- this is a book about the personalities, relationships and history behind that beautiful piece of architecture!I loved this story.
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on
Helpful Score: 19
A really good read. I only just picked it up despite its being originally published almost 20 years ago and it kept my interest throughout, all 900 plus pages. No romanticizing past times here, just the raw data and descriptions of 12th century life as it was...a continuous struggle to meet even the most basic needs. The corruption of the church, the tenuous reign of Kings, and relationships within the classes is all depicted. Then we get to learn how these magnificent cathedrals were really built. The craftsmen and workers each have their story. Depressing at times? yes, but that's because Follett pulls you in to caring about the lead characters, feeling their anguish and rejoicing in their brief moments of joy.
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on + 218 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 18
This is one of my all-time favorite books. After reading the jacket, I didn't think I'd like it because it's not my usual fare. But once I started it, I couldn't wait to get back to it. I loved everything about it and still think about the main characters....
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on + 4 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 13
One of my all time favorite books. This is the book which piqued my interest in the hundred year war of England period. Great charachter development, I feel like this is an epic movie I have watched a dozen times.
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on + 96 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 9
I think this is one of Ken Follett's best books. I was fascinated by this book. The history is so well done and his characters are so interesting. A great book
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on + 16 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 9
I've heard so many people just rant and rave over this one, but i personally could not get into it. It requires some patience to get the storyline rolling, and i like to get the plot rolling immediately. Do not let this description sway you!
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on + 209 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 9
One of my favorite books! I had read it when it first came out; just listened to it on tape to get ready for his new book. 26 tapes! Unbelievable! Totally different from his other books; an historical novel set in the 12th (I think) century, focused on the building of cathedrals. The next book, just published, is the sequel. Fascinating!
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on
Helpful Score: 8
A sprawling epic. This is so different from Follett's other works. England's vibrant history comes alive in this story about an out of work 12th century master builder.
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on
Helpful Score: 8
Don't let the size discourage you from reading this book. A lot of architectural description but done in a way everyone can appreciate.
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on + 3 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 8
One of my favorite books of all time. Totally different genre from any other Follett book I'd ever read. Pretty much follows one family of builders as the main character is involved in the building of a great cathedral. Learned a great deal about living in that day and how great buildings were put together before the advent of modern machinery.
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on + 68 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 8
Sex, scandal, and scheming meet religion, history, and architecture. It seemed an unlikely pairing to me, but I found the book a compelling, quick read despite its length. There are a lot of characters, but keeping track of them is surprisingly easy, and the ways that their paths cross is very interesting and often unexpected.
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on + 19 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 8
My husband reads a lot of Follett (he's a mystery/thriller kind of guy) and I picked "Pillars" up from his pile of TBR stuff when my own ran dry. Wow!

This book is meticulously researched and is one of those can't-put-it-down, what-happens-next page-turners that you only come across once every few years.

The characters are earthy and so well developed, you never want the story to end. It is about the building of a cathedral, but overall about the village where the cathedral is located and the people who live there. The plot spans many years (25 or so) and takes you (the reader) from the saddest scenes you can imagine (a newborn baby lying on top of its dead mother's body) to moments of great triumph and happiness.

There is a sequal - World Without End - but I liked "Pillars" far better. Read them in order to get the most out of this epic saga.
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on + 266 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 7
I just turned the last page and am sitting here thinking back on this absolutely marvelous story. It's a great story of good vs. evil in the middle ages with a cast of monks, priests, earls, builders and two very solid female figures that struggle, prevail, cry, love, hate, fight and live this epic story. Very graphic and descriptive of what it must've been like to live in the middle ages.

Absolutely excellent.
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on
Helpful Score: 7
This is the absolute best book I have ever read. Set in 12th century England around the building of a cathedral, this story will keep you up late at night. You will come to love some of the characters and hate others -- I mean really hate them. At one point I nearly threw the book against the wall I was so mad.

This is a long book, and I was sad when it was over. I had to wait several years before Ken Follett came out with the sequel World Without End. While not as good as Pillars, it was great to go back to Kingsbridge.

All I can say is: Get this book -- you'll love it.
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on + 16 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
A WONDERFUL book to read if you're going to Europe. Gives you lots more perspective when you're looking at those cathedrals. Besides that it's a great read.
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on
Helpful Score: 6
Absolute great book. Fascinating and I liked it better than the usual spy novels he writes.
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on + 12 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
The epic tale of building a cathedral interlaced with suspense, intrigue, violence, passion, greed, bravery, revenge and love.
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on + 94 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
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.
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on + 3 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
Ugh, this book was overly long and complicated for what the story was about. I enjoyed the characters, and I very much enjoyed the architectural component since I have an art historical background, but it just took too much time to get into the characters and plot.
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on + 209 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
I read this many years ago and enjoyed every minute. I am a historical fiction buff, but the human emotions and themes are timeless. I just purchased a copy for my husband to read and then got the sequel for myself to read on an upcoming long plane ride.
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on + 148 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
I was prompted to read the book by a religious book critic who stated it's a wonderful read to learn about the building of great cathedrals. Though I admit I learned about some architectural and carpentry techniques, the immorality and rape that spawned revenge throughout the book took a lot away from the beautiful story of getting the cathedral built. I enjoyed more learning about
the running of monasteries in the Middle Ages and the feudal battles that raged when the royal line was in question. A looooong
book and I put it down many times and took a few days off from it to read other things.
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on + 4 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
The best book I've read in the past year or longer.Terrific tale. Do yourself a favor and read it!
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on + 30 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
Story set in 12th century England. I thought this was a really great book and would recommend it. Great character development.
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on + 26 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
A great read sometimes requires a great deal of detail and reality. Follett delivers in quantity in this, my favorite KF novel. Also one my all time favorites by any author. He delivers a "feel" for the time period that no amount of non-fiction reading can give.
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on
Helpful Score: 3
Ken Follett is a very good writer but why he chose to write such a downer of a book is beyond me. I loved the characters, the feel of the time in history where this story takes place, and the characterization is pretty good overall.

Spoiler alert about plot follows but it is important to note:

But, the main characters suffer so much and never 'get back' at their oppressors. That may be true in real life but I should as heck don't want to suffer through so many pages only to learn that the good guys get so screwed. That ruined this book for me and I really am not sure why as I don't need all of the books I read to have the hero win. But for some reason, this really ticked me off about this book so I cannot recommend it.
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on + 11 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Truthfully, I didn't finish it because it felt like soooo much work. A lot of architectural detail that many readers might love, but I'm a plot/character kind of girl who doesn't like to waste page after page on the detailed cathedral descriptions. Good book, from what I read, but not, in my opinion, an easy read.
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on
Helpful Score: 3
I read this book twenty yeears ago when it was first published and loved it then. When Oprah chose it for her book club I was surprised because I thought she only selected "current" books; it wa such a pleasant surprise to see her choose this one.

The story of the struggles it took to build the cathedrals of Europe is magnificent! In our modern age, we rarely think about how difficult it was to accomplish feats such as these in the Middle ages. Ken Follett has takrn an incredible journey to the times and places of the cathedrals. The research which must have gone into this book is almost beyond belief, and then to tell the story in such a way as to make you feel like you were there -- what can I say?
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on + 29 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
The Pillars of the Earth describes a story that is larger than life. All the trappings of medieval twelfth century life in England are depicted. The story includes wild battle scenes, hangings, morality plays, serfdom, courtly and monastic life painted with Follett's broad brush. The political intrigue of the period and the fracture between the church and the state, king and archbishop, rule of law and the rule of God are seen here.

This book contains unforgettable characters like Aliena, the beautiful and penniless daughter of an Earl; Thomas Becket, the priest turned martyr; pious, but ambitious Philip the prior of Kingsbridge whose desire to build a cathedral for the "glory of God" is overwhelming; William Hamleigh, displaced earl, is truly evil. Although long, the book is remarkable to read, with fast paced action and gripping, believable dialogue. The story will leave you breathless and satisfied in its stunning conclusion.
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on + 2 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
This is so different than the other Ken Follett novels but was an amazing read. I'm finding it hard to post it on my bookshelf because I loved it so much. At nearly 1000 pages, it is a bit daunting but once you start reading, I believe it's really hard to put down. LOVED it!
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on + 224 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
I received this as a gift and gave it my best shot but failed. Last night, after having gotten to about the middle of the book, I realized that I wasn't enjoying it and really didn't care about finding out what happened next. So, uncharacteristically for me, I decided not to finish it and post it instead. I'm no prude, but some of the sadder things that happened (ie rapes) just dragged me down so much. It may be where I'm at in my life right now, but I just need a little more joy than this book offered me. I think it's well-written, but it's just not a story I want to spend the time reading.
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on + 47 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
I'm a history buff and have ready a lot of books about English history. This was an interesting interweaving of mediaeval history and the emerging architecture of grand European cathederals. It kept me interested throughout although I had to skip some passages due to the graphic violence.

I think it was a very fair depiction of the era, and helped me better understand the rivalry between the church and state that eventually lead to Henry VIII's dismantling of the monastic system (and Catholic church in England for that matter) centuries later....
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on + 8 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
This is one of two best books I've ever read. The reader is transported and becomes part of the Cathedral builders life in the middle ages. An absolute read for everyone!!!!!
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on + 163 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Wanted to read this again to compare it to the mini series. Same premise different presentation. Forgotten how thick this book is but it is supposed to cover many years of the lives of the characters and the building of the cathedral. If you love history this is a great book to read. A lot of research went into this work of fiction and can hold your interest.
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on + 8 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
The jacket was right...this is "a great epic tale". Although it took a while to get rolling, the plot was interesting and exciting - and I loved how the individual character's stories all weaved together around the building of the central cathedral.

My only negative comment is that the book as a whole is more depressing than I generally like to read. The characters were richly developed, relatable, and were put through so much suffering that it was hard to not put the book down in frustration. A little spoiler here...but even in the end, when you expect the evil characters to finally get what is coming to them, you're disappointed. More realistic maybe, but I was expecting a happier ending.
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on
Helpful Score: 3
EXCELLENT!!! Kind of funny, but it reminded me a lot of George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones....except without the fantasy aspects.
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on + 29 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
The Pillars of the Earth describes a story that is larger than life. All the trappings of medieval twelfth century life in England are depicted. The story includes wild battle scenes, hangings, morality plays, serfdom, courtly and monastic life painted with Follett's broad brush. The political intrigue of the period and the fracture between the church and the state, king and archbishop, rule of law and the rule of God are seen here.

This book contains unforgettable characters like Aliena, the beautiful and penniless daughter of an Earl; Thomas Becket, the priest turned martyr; pious, but ambitious Philip the prior of Kingsbridge whose desire to build a cathedral for the "glory of God" is overwhelming; William Hamleigh, displaced earl, is truly evil. Although long, the book is remarkable to read, with fast paced action and gripping, believable dialogue. The story will leave you breathless and satisfied in its stunning conclusion.
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on
Helpful Score: 2
I read this book years ago and was happy to see it appear on the Oprah Book List. I loved the historical references in this story. If you have ever visited the magnificent churches in Europe, I would highly recommend this book.
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on
Helpful Score: 2
This was the first book I have read by Ken Follett and I loved it! I almost couldn't put it down. Even with how long it was I finished rather quickly for me. I just loved how he hoped back and forth between character point of views. I think that is what kept me most excited- what and who was next. Definitely a must read.
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on + 7 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
This is probably my all-time favorite book. I don't know how many people I've recommended it to over the years!
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on
Helpful Score: 2
Loved this book! It's deliciously long and held my interest throughout. I learned so much about architecture and building in medieval times! The characters are engaging and believable for the most part - my only criticism is that the main "evil" character is just such pure evil that he becomes almost a caricature of himself. Definitely worth the investment in time to read this book - I hated to finish it.
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on + 4 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
A genuinely good book. I generally don't get into books of this type, but found myself unable to put this one down. There are several main characters and the focus on each one changes throughout the story keeping me interested and wanting to find out more about each one as they go through the struggles of living in ancient times. Although religion is touched on heavily it is not the focus of this book and therefore does not bog down the stories at all.
I highly recommend this one.
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on + 15 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
i've encouraged all my friends to read this book!1
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on + 5 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Love, love, loved this book. It is definately on my top 10 list. I didn't want to put it down, and when it was over, I was kind of sad. I felt connected to the characters. One I will be reading again!
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on + 60 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
This book was given to me by a Professor of Medieval History and Early Christianity because, in his words, "it is the most historiacally accurate fictional account of the period, and it has everything a book needs to be a great read." He was absolutely correct. I love this book and its continuance. It turned me on to historical fiction, and I will now read much more historical fiction. In fact, it is my favorite genre, and I never would have thought that possible.
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on + 157 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
973 pages! The size of this book intimidated me for a long time. Two weeks ago I decided to just read it and hope it was as good as I'd heard. It was. This story propels you forward effortlessly; you just HAVE to know what is going to happen next. Even when there were only 100 pages left to go, I still had no idea how certain story lines would be resolved. I am so glad that I read this book and highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical fiction or just a really good story.
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on
Helpful Score: 2
Looking at this book, I thought it would take me forever to read. But, from beginning to end, it kept me wanting to turn each page. I really, really enjoyed this book. It has become one of my favorites. I like that the details needed to describe places, people, and things weren't so exaggeratingly detailed, just enough to get the point. I was sad to have finished it.
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on + 606 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
My all-time favorite historical novel. Excellent novel about cathedral building in Midevial Europe.
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on + 26 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I loved this book. It's extremely long, goes on forever, excellent writing and character portrayal. Nothing better!
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on
Helpful Score: 1
Highly recommend! It's a 1,000 page page turner. Love it. Reading the sequel "World Without End" now.
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on + 18 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
One of the best books I have ever read and definitely a keeper. The story moves along nicely, the history is gripping and you really feel for the characters. I could not put it down.
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on + 6 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
It seems like a massive book at over 900 pages, but those pages fly by without notice. Follett's writing makes you want to read more as you get engrossed in the character's lives and you want to dive in and kill William youself. This is a book you'll want to get back to after you've put it down. Can't wait to read the sequel.
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on + 36 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
very interesting discussion of life in the middle ages.
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on + 81 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
England.....the twelfth century. A great Gothic cathedral is being built. A masterpiece of history. Gripping tale. Read it and you will know why it is a best seller.
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on
Helpful Score: 1
An excellent read. Well worth the time!
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on
Helpful Score: 1
Excellent book. I am looking forward to the mini series on tv.
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on + 39 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Wonderful story. Well written. Very long but worth it. I can hardly wait to read the next book.
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on
Helpful Score: 1
Excellent book.. it was a little difficult to get into at first, but then it became addictive. Some parts of the book talk about rape and brutality which I found a little disturbing, but justice was served in the end.
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on
Helpful Score: 1
The first 100 pages were very good: emotional, connecting you to the characters.

The next 200 pages...too wordy & drawn out. I wish they wouldn't give me a step by step narrative of a walk down the road in the 1100s unless the information is truly relevent to the story.

Still reading it now and enjoying it, nonetheless.
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on + 20 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This book is definitely in my top 5 of favorite books! I ordered it after seeing it featured on Oprah as her Book of the Month selection, even though I have HATED several of her picks, this one sounded too good to pass up. I wasn't disappointed! I love historical fiction for one, and I loved all of the characters and description of life in the Middle Ages in England.
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Helpful Score: 1
I loved this so much when I borrowed it from the library that I had to get a copy of my own to loan to my friends. Great characters, great story, fascinating history...a great read.
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Helpful Score: 1
Absolutely one of the best historical novels I have ever read. This one is a keeper.
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on
Helpful Score: 1
I loved this book! I have read it twice and am thinking about reading it again! His follow up book "World without End" is just as good. Very well written, loved the details about early construction methods.
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on + 30 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Fascinating, riveting blend of history and fiction. It's long, but you'll be glad it is. I just loved this book.
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on
Helpful Score: 1
This book, even reading it in high school was intriguing. I enjoyed it very much although at the time I thought the content may have been very adult for a teenager. I would like to read again, now after more than 10 years.
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on
Helpful Score: 1
Great story. Coundn't put it down!!
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Helpful Score: 1
Don't be intimidated by the size of the book. It is a wonderful book and I couldn't put it down!
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Helpful Score: 1
im struggling to get through this book ATM. . . Im trying to hang in there but its so boring at first and how everything moves sooo fast its ridiculous (characters falling in love etc when their significant other JUST died)

anyways its good i can see why people like it but my god it drags on. I will stick with it and hopefully it will pay off!

so far i give it a 3 out of 5 stars
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on
Helpful Score: 1
love it! Couldn't put it down!
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Helpful Score: 1
One of the best books I have read. The story tugs at all of your emotions as it progress's through time. I had a difficult time putting the book down until the story was over.
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Helpful Score: 1
Awesome book...an epic novel that really held my interest!
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Helpful Score: 1
This is the most intriguing, interesting, mind-blowing historical novel I've ever read.
The characters are strong and you care about them deeply as you pass year after year with them in a seemingly endless route to a seemingly impossible goal. Don't forget to read the follow up to the book called "The World Without End". Equally superb.
(unfortunately "World without End" is not listed on this site at this time) And I'm not giving mine up!!!
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Helpful Score: 1
Unique story, set in a period not often used in novels. All characters are interesting and well-developed. It's quite the page turner.
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Helpful Score: 1
This is an exciting and interesting historical novel, rich with incident and melodramatic in characterization and effect. My only reservation about it was caused by the quality of the writing itself. Follett uses the language as a blunt instrument, which is fitting for the writing of thrillers. But here a more poetic and delicate touch is often needed, and the failure of his prose produces bathos too often in passages where he is reaching for the sublime. After all, the topic is cathedral building, a subject on which his engineering interests are more evident than his religious sensibilities. Perhaps the clue to this may lie in his atheism, which is declared in the preface. It is something of a paradox to find an atheist writing a religious book.
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Helpful Score: 1
This book was so long, but I had such a hard time putting it down! The last 300 pages kept calling to me--I had to spend a couple of long nights because I just HAD to know how it ended! A GREAT book! One I truly enjoyed reading and plan to recommend to several people.
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Helpful Score: 1
ABSOLUTELY AMAZING........Because I tend to fall asleep too quickly, I listen to 85% of my books........if you can, this book has 32 CDs and could not stop listening - to work, at home, whatever it took to keep going! ************************* EXCELLENT
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Helpful Score: 1
This novel is a radical departure from Follett's usual novels of mystery and intrigue. Set in the twelfth century it is the story of the conception and construction of a marvelous cathedral. That sounds a little dull and boring, but have faith. You will come to love or hate the wonderful people that you get to know in this book. Give this book a try. You will not be disappointed.
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Helpful Score: 1
I read this book about 15 years ago and still remember it - that is how wonderful it is. This is one of those rare books that just catches you from the first page. If you like historical novels, you will love this. This is a classic....
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Helpful Score: 1
historical fiction books out there; well written, well researched, with well-developed characters & an amazing story! This book is a classic and I cannot say enough about it. You MUST read this book-it will enrich your life and make you want to read more!
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Helpful Score: 1
Wonderful novel that encompasses so much history and politics of the 12th Century. Great book! You will become completely engrossed!
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Helpful Score: 1
This was my first Ken Follett read. I simply loved it. I finished it in less than a week and haven't stopped thinking about it. Many reviews mention the violence and indeed there is gore, sexual violence and other graphic scenes...but these were not kind times. Nor are these scenes representative of the entire book. However, they were important, I feel, to the story line, the reader's sympathy for some characters and hatred of others. The character development was incredible. Every person was multi-dimensional and even the most lovable were flawed, challenging the reader to understand and forgive them, or not, along the way. I enjoyed this book much the way I enjoyed The Mists of Avalon, The Red Tent, Ender's Game, and other books with flawed, complicated and interesting characters. I found the subplot (primary plot?) of the building of the cathedral fascinating in all its detail...the reading sped along throughout.
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Helpful Score: 1
This book is a fantastic read for anyone that enjoys historical accuracy with an interesting story line.
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Helpful Score: 1
I just could not get into this book. I read about half of it and finally gave up. Parts of it were interesting, but overall, it just didn't hold my attention.
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Helpful Score: 1
I absolutely loved this book! I didn't want it to end. I went on to read "World Without End" which is a sort of sequel to this book and enjoyed it, but Pillars was by far my favorite. History, Politics, Religion, Deceit, Love, Faith you name it this book has it!
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Helpful Score: 1
Fascinating. Micheneresque in scope. I was riveted.
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Helpful Score: 1
What I liked about this very long book was its descriptions of life in 1100's England, and of the cathedrals that formed such an important part of that life.

Unfortunately, though, the story was peopled with only a few very strong characters. Those few were well described, well-spoken and interesting, but there were many more who were just one-dimensional scene fillers or distractions. There was a sweeping story whose sweep was disrupted by often abrupt changes in scene and mood. I found the plot repetitive--good guy does something good, bad guy does something bad, repeat--and slow to advance. About a third of the way through, I started skimming large chunks of it, hitting the highlights until the end.
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Helpful Score: 1
Building a cathedral in 12th century England brings men from all walks of life together-- king, prior, master builder-- each with their own motives.
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Helpful Score: 1
This book was very good... it started a tad bit slow, but after a few dozen pages I was absolutely hooked. This story follows 4 main medieval characters you meet in the beginning and chronicles how their lives intertwine throughout the entire story. (The sequel mentions them a few times as well, postmortem.) There is a lot of architecture talk in this book, however, the betrayals and scheming will quickly take you past all of that, if architecture isn't your thing.
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Helpful Score: 1
Good read.. lots of interesting characters. Historical fiction, but not sure how fact based. Definitely gives a vivid picture of the middle ages though overall.
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Helpful Score: 1
I read this book about 10 yrs ago and still remember much of the story; in fact, it won't be traded off my bookshelf. The story provides an excellent description of what it took to build a cathedral without long, boring details. Believable characters and several well-done story lines keep the reader engaged; I could not put it down. This book is highly recommended to anyone who enjoys a great read; it would work especially well on an airplane trip, as it has the page numbers to combat the endless airport delays so rampant today. The story fights airport boredom well! :-)
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Helpful Score: 1
One of the best books I've ever read! The writing is so well done that I had a hard time putting the book down. Don't be scared of its 973 pages.
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Helpful Score: 1
Of all the books that I have read... this must be my favorite:)
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Helpful Score: 1
I was a little put off by the length of this book when I first started it, but soon I wished it would never end. It was very good. The violence was hard to take at times, but I'm glad I read it. You also must read World Without End.
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Helpful Score: 1
A long almost 1000 page book that starts in the year 1120 and is a multgenerational story about building a Cathedral and all the subplots of power and destruction and The Church as this man attempts to build his dream Church.
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Helpful Score: 1
I gave up on this historical novel halfway. It's old-fashioned, full of cliches, and incredibly predictable. Frankly, I'd rather read Thomas Costain, from whom Follett borrowed a lot of those cliches. Bah!
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Helpful Score: 1
I loved this book. Amazing character development, I still find myself thinking about the characters. It was worth reading close to 1000 pages!
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Amazing how the author keeps the thread of the story together throughout this compelling story. The references to middle age history are especially interesting and the architectural information is priceless. Great author, great story!
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Helpful Score: 1
A great epic tale. I wish I could find more like this! I couldn't put it down!
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Helpful Score: 1
Great book. If you love medieval fiction, and you love being swept up into the lives of characters you care about, you can't go wrong with this one set in the mid 12th century. I wish I could find another book similar and I would start reading it immediately.
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Helpful Score: 1
I think this is one of the best books I've ever read --- even if it wasn't a mystery.
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Helpful Score: 1
This is not what I expected from Follett. I loved this book!! I was sorry when I got to the end. I often buy it for people and tell them to just start it-I know you will love it.
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Helpful Score: 1
I have had this book on my to read list for a while. I finally got it on audiobook. It was a well done story done in a very epic fantasy-like style. However my primary thought while listening to it was "wow this is really long".

The story starts out with Tom the Builder and his family. Tom would like to build cathedrals but he is currently working on a house for William (a noble) and his bride to be Ariana. When Ariana refuses to marry William, William stops building on the house and Tom is out of a job. Tom and his family wander around looking for work. We also read some from Philips viewpoint. Philip is a monk who runs a small priory in an isolated area. Philip dreams of becoming the Prior of Kingsbridge and of building a cathedral there.

The book switches between many viewpoints and goes over many decades of time. We mainly hear from Toms stepson Jack, Prior Philip, Ariana, and William. It's a well done epic historical fiction, it's done very much in the style of traditional epic fantasy. You follow four or five main perspectives throughout the book. All of the characters tie back into the story of a cathedral that is being built in the English town of Kingsbridge.

The story mainly follows the struggle to build the cathedral, as well as the struggle of the people involved to make a living and survive. A lot of the stories are very compelling. I especially found Arianas struggle to survive and build up a life for herself engaging. Ariana is one of those heroines who goes through more suffering than any character should, but you just cant keep her down. Time after time she climbs out of deep despair and builds her self back up to success. I really enjoyed her portions of the story a lot.

This is definitely an adult's only book. There are some very graphic rape scenes, graphic sex scenes, and graphic scenes of death, torture, and violence. Follett doesnt shy away from talking about any of the unpleasantness of war and of this time in history.

I enjoy architecture, so I did enjoy a lot of the talk about how the cathedral was built and how changes in building technology altered the structure and plans throughout time. For me these were the most interesting parts of the book.

There is a lot of surrounding drama, some of which was really interesting...and some of which could have been cut out of the story to shorten it. Most of the things that happen do have some final impact on whether or not the cathedral will get built. However, sometimes there are very long interludes where we dont hear about the cathedral and are off following other characters. This was a very good read, but I couldn't help feeling at multiple points that the story could have been trimmed a bit and made a bit more tight and a bit less wandering.

Things were nicely wrapped up at the end. I liked where most of the characters stories were left and didnt feel like there were any major issues that werent resolved.

I think the popularity of this book might be because it is basically an epic fantasy type of read that has gone mainstream, this allows the general populace to peak into a genre that they may not have normally read. Because it is different to them they are enraptured by the story While I enjoyed it, I just didnt think it was any more spectacular than other epic stories I have read.

Overall I enjoyed the story but it was a bit too long for what it was. I would definitely recommend reading if you enjoy the history of architecture and if you enjoy historical fictions done in a very epic fantasy type of style. Follett does an excellent job of weaving history into an engaging story that is hard to put down. The whole story has a very epic fantasy-like style and feel to it. I probably wont be reading the companion book to this one, the story was just too long and wandering for me.
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Helpful Score: 1
Great look at medieval Europe and the builders of the Cathedrals in a gripping tale as only Follett can do. Could have been real!
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Helpful Score: 1
This is a story of building of a cathedral in 12th century England. It spans a generation and tells of all the people whose lives were irrevocably altered by this project.

Although I'm only now getting around to posting a review for it this was the first book I finished this year. It gripped me from the very first line and I think it will always stay with me in a way. It's not only because of the masterful storytelling or the compelling plot but also because of the characters who make it impossible to be indifferent. I cannot tell you how many times I frowned at William's despicable actions and cheered for Prior Philip. The latter is firmly on my list of favorite characters, by the way.
Do not be intimidated by this book being one of Oprah's Book Club titles (I know those are often not something we'd pick ourselves) or its size. It is an enjoyable and a very accessible read, beautifully plotted and beautifully written. I highly recommend it and will be purchasing it in hardcover to keep.

Read my other reviews at bibliophilescorner.blogspot.com
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Helpful Score: 1
LOVED this book. It's a lengthy book, but I didn't even notice. Couldn't put it down! Told the story through various character's eyes, allowing you to really learn and enjoy the characters.
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Helpful Score: 1
This is a long read - but well worth it. Takes a little while to figure out who's who and how they all inter-connect. There are a lot of architectural descriptions - very detailed and informative. I loved the story and was looking forward to the sequel but of the two, this is my favorite.
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Helpful Score: 1
This book was a good read, but it was a bit dry in a few parts and it took all of my will to drag myself compleatly through it. I do think it was worth the read once it is finished. (and a note for parents: it did have some mature content in it so be warned)
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Helpful Score: 1
With my fascination of the Middle Ages, I couldn't put this book down. Follett weaved intricate stories of people of power brought to the brink of starvation, or worse, executed, the struggles and triumphs of one of the leading characters, Phillip, who began as a humble monk and the family of the builder of one of the greatest cathedrals in all of England. They were all at the mercy of the whim of the current king and his/her subjects. This book is 973 pages, but there are no "slow spots". It gallops from one fascinating tale to the next.
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Helpful Score: 1
I loved this audio book. The Narrator was energetic and with his different voices and expressions made it easy to distinguish between the many characters.
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Helpful Score: 1
This is a wonderful book, I have the hardcover which is in my "to be read again" pile! A book that contains everything you want great characters, loyalty, treachery, hope, despair, love and hate.
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Helpful Score: 1
If you are into historical mysteries, or the building of a cathedral, or just a whopping good story, this is a must read. Loooong (983 pages), but it keeps your attention as it follows three generations of men and women through 40 years of social and political upheaval. Set in the 12th-century fictional town of Kingsbridge, England, the book focuses on the building of a great cathedral. In a complex novel of this length, the reader may get confused at times, and may even feel like a scorecard would be helpful in keeping all the relationships straight, but it is certainly worth the trouble. A definite change from Follett's usual novels, and by far the best.
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Helpful Score: 1
Set in medival times, this was an insightful book on early culture and laws, particular attention to the catholic church and it's influence. It was a little long at almost 1000 pages. But I am glad I read it, my first novel of Ken Follett. It was a nice change from my usual murder/mystery fare.
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Helpful Score: 1
I didn't think this would be a page turner, but all I can say is wow. I stayed up late reading quite a few nights. This was a wonderfully written novel. I cared about the characters, the good ones and the bad ones. The author didn't get bogged down in so much explanation that I lost interest. A definite must read!
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Helpful Score: 1
This is one of my favorite works of historical fiction. As an art major and someone who is interested in the evolution of religion, as well as any and all historical fiction, I cannot put this book down. I've read it several times, and this is the third copy I've owned because I keep loaning it out, but no one wants to return it.
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Helpful Score: 1
The story was very interesting and very captivating. but the whole book i was waiting for justice and vindication for the good guys. you get tired of the bad guys winning and winning and winning while the good people suffer. only until the last 10 pages or so do you get any satisfaction and even when you do, half the victims are dead or old.
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Helpful Score: 1
This book made you want to live in 1100 England and be glad you didn't all at the same time, one of my top 5 books of all time
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Helpful Score: 1
A wonderful, can't put it down book!
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Helpful Score: 1
I really loved this book, altho, very long, it was one of the best books I
have ever had the pleasure to read....
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Helpful Score: 1
This was a well-researched story of a medieval English cathedral and the people involved in the building, from the prior to the bishop to the mason and his family, through several generations. The architecture details were interesting without being overwhelming. At nearly 1000 pages, this is an epic read, and things do drag a bit after the first half -- you wish they'd just build the cathedral and be done -- but things pick up again closer to the end. Follett skillfully mixes real historical characters and facts into his tale, making for an interesting read. Recommended.
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Helpful Score: 1
I thought this would be a book more for men. But, if Oprah liked it, why wouldn't I? I truly found that I could NOT put it down! There were times I was reading that I needed to stop and check myself for breating! I would hold my breath through certain "scenes". Amazing! Well written. I have since read many of Ken Follett's books and just sincerely enjoy them! I wish my husband would read more. I think he'd really like these books too!
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Helpful Score: 1
Very long, but I didn't want it to end...Follett tells this story extremely well.
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Helpful Score: 1
#1 national bestseller is a historical novel that is instructive, involving an execution of an innocent man and with the erection of a cathedral...A Leterary Guild Main Selection
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Helpful Score: 1
This is one of my favorite books. It's a tough read at first, trying to keep everyone straight and figure out who is related to whom and how, but once you have that down it's a great read!!
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Helpful Score: 1
A great twelfth century epic! I lost all sense of time while reading this book.
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Helpful Score: 1
Continued to carry my interest through the entire book (and it's a long book). Looking forward to the sequel or is it a prequel?
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Helpful Score: 1
Loved this epic of the twelfith century - couldn't put it down. The entangled lives of his characters through revenge and betrayal were brilliantly portrayed. Highly recommended reading.
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Helpful Score: 1
This is one of my all-time favourite books -- I have read it over and over again, and enjoyed it every single time like it was the first time.
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Helpful Score: 1
I really enjoyed this book. At first, I was skeptical about the length of the book (1000 + pages), but I was captivated from page one. The characters were as true as life, believable, and interesting. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction, and lengthy novels, but, if you are put off by the length of this book, don't be. The story goes fast, and stays interesting throughout the book.
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Helpful Score: 1
I absolutely loved this book! I was loaned this book from a friend at work. After finishing it, several months later I found it in a used bookstore for $8.00, and bought it for myself. So now I have my own copy. I do not normally read any books twice, but this one I will reread at some point in the future. I highly recommend this book especially to those that like reading books from around about the end of the middle ages, give or take a few years.
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Helpful Score: 1
A departure from your typical Ken Follett. Set in 12th century England and France. The book follows a stone mason and his descendants and their fortunes and travails. This is a good read-enough adventure and real historical detail to make you think you are there.
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I was very intimidated to pick up this book. It's not my genre, and the length is formidable. However, after just the first chapter I was hooked. I had a hard time separating myself from the drama. Some other reviewers have remarked about how depressing the book and and about all the bad things that happen. I'll admit that this book brought me to tears, made me angry at the characters, and made me laugh out loud and cheer on people on a daily basis. Looking back on it, it really seems like for every triumph there is a tragedy, and for every tragedy there is a triumph. I will recommend this book to every person I know that is literate. Already in my top 10... and it may be one of the best works of historical fiction I've ever read. On to the sequel.
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This was one of the best books I've read in a long time. The story is such that you don't want it to end. Follett does a great job in taking you back to early England. You can actually smell the people.
A great read.
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This book is an incredible read. There is so much history and learning. It takes you through so many emotions. It spans through 40-50 years approx. The story is amazing and Follett does an excellent job of grabbing you and wrapping you up in the characters. Totally shocking at times. This has been my second favorite book to date. This is one I want for my library. I have watched the mini-series. It was done very well and the only book to movie I have felt they did justice to( Mind you I didn't get to see series until a year after reading book). The mini-series should be rated X instead of R.
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Fun to read novel
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Great read, fascinating.
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EXCELLENT READ! I hated for it to end! It is very long but well worth the time.
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This book is one of the best I have read. I could not put it down. If your a lover of history, action and adventure. This book is for you.
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YES....!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Extraordinary amazing. I couldn't stop reading it.
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A very good read. I find myself always drawn back to the book to get it finished.
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Absolutely one of the best Ken Follett books. Follow it up with World Without End. Wonderful.
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A truly memorable book. Although I like historical fiction very much, I wasn't sure I would like this book. I was so wrong and I highly recommend this book to everyone who loves to read. This was one of those rare books that I will always remember. An incredible journey through the Middle Ages with characters from the lowest of peasants to the kings and archbishops of wealth and power, all centered around the building of the great cathedrals of England.
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I love this story...it's a great historical fiction account of the building of a cathedral with great human stories weaved throughout. The author spans about 40 years and I appreciate following the characters's lives to experience their ups, downs, successess, tragedies and much more. Wonderful book and I'm looking forward to reading another Ken Follett book.
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In my top 3 favorite books ever. Brilliant if you love historical fiction...maybe even if you don't.
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I have read thousands and this ranks as one of the very best ever; Loved it,loved it!!
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I forced myself to read the entire book. It just did not live up to my expectations. The portions describing the architecture of the buildings were way over my head. There were too many repetitions during the character development. Instead the author could have gone more in depth. The royalty relationships and effects were confusing in comparison to what I researched on the internet.
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best book I've read!
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I only picked up this book because our book club elected it as our summer reading book (due to its length)but boy, was it worth it. There are times when you do think certain characters have 'lived' too long but otherwise it is a very compelling story. I got invested in the characters and what happened to each of them...it did take a good 75-100 pages to really see the interconnectedness of all of them but once it hits you, then you really get going. The architectural information is fascinating too, especially if you love architecture or just looking at historical buildings! I highly recommend this book!
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I must this book years before Oprah discovered it. I was cautious about it seeing Follett in a new genre. but it is very much worth the trouble.
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The Pillars of the Earth is such a wonderful story. This audio CD version has a great narrator (I love Richard E. Grant!) who gives all the characters life. I have not read the full-length version, but I did not feel that I was missing anything by listening to this abridged version.
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I found the book's storyline to be boring. Although the writing was ok, I found myself skipping 10 or more pages to continue with the story. Too much wording, yet little character or story development.
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Excellent Ken Follett book, I enjoyed it a lot.
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Very well researched, and with few anachronisms to spoil the 12th-century ambience. Despite its great length (983 pages of small print), it doesn't feel a bit too long. Do not read this book if you expect complex characters or intellectual content, but DO read it if you love what the British call "ripping yarns." An excellent historical novel.
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This is a really engaging story. I'm not really even sure what the draw was but it pulled me in and made me care about the characters and get excited to find out what was going to happen next. Very interesting historical facts too.
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read book and then saw the movie....both are excellent
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Great story. A good long read!
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LOVED this book - actually listened to audio version. Detailed story of learning how to build cathedral in medieval England.
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I read this book a long, long time ago and still love it! It is one of the best of all time! Ken Follett brings you into the world of medieval England and as you're reading, it's like you're there. Wonderful character development and you care about the characters! At the time I read it I wasn't even into historical fiction, but I still loved it, it's that good! I just finished the "sequel" World Without End and that was wonderful too!
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I wanted to edit this very thick book. It's very detailed, but some folks just love the richness of it. Great story though.
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AWESOME! What a great book for people who are interested in the architecture of a cathedral with murder, pillaging, cunning, romance and the politics of the church and country in 1400's England. I know 970+ pages sounds huge, but I had a difficult time putting it down once I started!
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a masterpiece. set in the 12th century, druids, monks, worth reading a book. I loved it
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This is the kind of book that you just don't want to end. Highly recommended!
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This book is amazing! As long it was, I wanted it to go on longer -- FOREVER! Highly recommended for reading and gifting.
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Ken Follett's first attempt out of the Spy-Thriller Genre and into Historical Fiction. This book is set in the 12th century. Tom Builder desires more than anything in the world to build a great cathedral. He succeeds in finding a cathedral that needs his help and he quickly becomes the main carpenter on the team. He must deal with small town ignorance, the church, and the constant battle between the fighting monarchs of the time, Mathilda and King Steven. This is my favorite Ken Follett book of all time and one of my favorite books period. I read it twice. Once when it first was published in 1989 and once again, 18 years later when it's sequel World Without End came out. I believe these 2 books are part of a Trilogy with the next book, Fall of Giants already in print. I just haven't had time to read it yet. I'm sure it will be just as good as it's predessors.
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I loved this book. If you like any type of historical fiction or drama this is a must read.
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Excellent book! I learned a lot about a fairly obscure time period while being entertained by the story!
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Suspensful and gripping historical novel with romance, rivalry and spectacle.
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3 stars. Enjoyed the story.
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A little slow in parts, but overall a very interesting look into the building of cathedrals.
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This is the best book I've ever read. All about the construction of the churches in Europe and the troubles and turmoil involved. Excellent writing on the verge of Non-fiction!
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A real page turner!
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Enormous and brilliant...a great epic tale.
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A story of intrigue and power, passion and romance set in the 12th century in England.
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Another great book by Follett, this one is a historical piece that spans across centuries. You won't want to put it down, its simply great :D
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Breathes life into the dusty old past. Vivid characters driven by recognizable passions and fears set in 12th Century England. A big, fat page-turner.
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Exceptional historical fiction. I enjoyed it tremendously.
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This was the best Ken Follett I had read up to this point. I LOVE history. And this is the first time that Follett has ventured out of the spy-thriller genre and tried his hand out on historical fiction. It is wonderful! It's actually one of the best books I've ever read and I read it twice. The second time was when the sequel to this book, World Without End came out 18 years later. I read them back to back. Wonderful, outstanding books.
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Although very long, this book was so interesting! The characters kept your attention and the author made you want to know how the action progressed. Well worth the time!
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Great Book. Very rick text. A great window into how things were and have stayed the same.
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Liked it, Follet's style really grabs you and the historical details are great.
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This is my favorite book of all time. It is wonderfully written and tells of a time when you worked hard from sun up to sun set. It has wonderful characters, interesting stories throughout and detailed descriptions of the lives of the characters. At times I was completely livid at the injustices that happened to the main characters that I was on the edge of my seat waiting to see what would happen next and if they would get justice. Highly recommend this book.
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I have loaned my two copies of this book to many of my friends, and they have all returned them with rave reviews. The amount of history gleaned from this tome blew my mind. This is a real page turner with lots of action.
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Covers everything under the sun. I could not put it down.
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This book is long, but it moves along very quickly. I got caught up in the story at the very beginning and had a hard time putting it down. The story is rich with English history, and the characters become your friends and family for a time. I found myself wondering what was going on in their world, even after I finished reading it. The only reason I didn't give it five stars was because the sex "scenes" were way too detailed for my taste. I mostly skipped over the "juicy" parts. Even so, I look forward to reading the sequel - World Without End.
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A massive work. Well worth the time spent.
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One of the best books I have ever read. It is great for both men and women; not only is this book filled with twists, turns, romance, and thrills but it is also historically accurate. Definitely amongst my top five!! The sequel is just as magnificent!
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I highly recommend this book! I couldn't put it down!
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Fabulous...my new favorite book. Truly and epic tale. Can't wait for the series to come out.
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Wow, great classic tale! Adding this one to my private library
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Good movement to the story, with only minor moments of feeling "slow". The characters stuck with me for a long time after reading the book. Mr. Follett is a terrific story teller, and is able to connect the reader to the past in a way that is current and completely believable...often painfully so.
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This is a wonderfully written and well researched book about the middle ages in England. Ken Follett is a master of the English language and keeps the reader riveted, following the characters and the building of the church.
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This is one of my favorite books that I have ever read. The story constantly evolves, leaving no dull moments. World Without End is also great, and I suggest reading that as a companion/follow-up to this book.
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One of the best books Ive read - Pillars of the Earth is the kind of book you cannot put down once you start it. The characters are followed throughout their lifetimes, as they and the great cathedrals which they are building reach for the sky.
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I started this book sometime ago and could not put it down. That was several years ago and now I want to read it again. Packed with lots of historical facts. This is a fantastic epic read.
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Altho it might be just a tad bit slow in the beginning once it grips you it won't let go.....stunning!
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Really good historical novel.
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one of my favorite all-time books. I've read it three times - SO FAR
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Awesome, but very long.
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I hated what I read of this book. It contains gratuitous language and vulgarities. Quite a dissappointment. I trashed it. Don't even wish to pass it along.
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Good read.
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I LOVE this book and recommend it to everyone that asks for a great book to read. I loved every detail to the story and while the size may be daunting for some, it is one of my favorite things about it because I never wanted it to end! It is in my top 3 books of all time and definitely one to read and recommend to everyone you know that loves a great novel!
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I am truly in the minority, but I did not like this book very much. Truthfully I thought it was a bit boring, and way too long. I felt you could easily cut out 300 pages or so and not miss much. Most of the characters I did not not care about. It was well written though. The language was lovely it flowed nicely. I like Anya Seton or Jean Plaidy better for historical fiction.
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on
A long book, but worth it. Medieval span of 70 years,Love, greed, hunger for power of the common people, knights, bishops, monks. A good read!
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on + 3 more book reviews
Not as good as its sequel but still very good. Big Ken Follett fan.
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on
First book I've read in awhile that actually made my heart pound. Some parts are reminiscent of a historical smut novel, but still I had a hard time putting this novel down. Worth the read!
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on + 59 more book reviews
Amazing! I cant wait to read World Without End.
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A great read!
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This was a great book to have on audio. The story is intriguing and easy to follow.
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awesome
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Excellent saga of the building of a medieval cathedral from the viewpoint of various interrelated members of the community that built it. It's hard to put this book down. Very well written. Follet is one of my favorite authors.
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Wonderful book! I didn't want it too end - even though in the beginning I was a bit intimidated with how long it is. Couldn't put it down.
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A story of intrigue in England in the 12th century
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AWESOME BOOK.
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on + 92 more book reviews
Absolutely wonderful book!
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great historical fiction read!
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A very engaging book!
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Loved it! Kept you going the whole time. You could never foresee what was coming up. Would highly recommend it.
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on + 18 more book reviews
Started this one, but just couldn't get into this heavy read. I'm sure fans of Ken Follet will love it.
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Excellent read. Enjoyed it so much that I bought the follow-up book called World Without End.
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Interesting book on the middle ages and the building of a large cathedral
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on + 11 more book reviews
As a new age dawns in England's twelfth century, the builing of a mighty Gothic cathedral sets the stage for a story of intrigue and power, revenge and betrayal.
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It was such a good book would love more like it
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This book is one I will re-read. I finished it in record time and can see easily why it was such a popular TV series.
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Suspenseful epic tale
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This is a clever storyteller but he carries it on too long. I finally lost interest in every victory being followed by a blow from the same villains. Predictable plot.
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Not as I had hope.
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on + 426 more book reviews
I read this book for a TBR potluck challenge in my online book club, The Reading Cove.

It was a daunting doorstopper at nearly 1,000 pages and I read other books in-between, but this book was a non-stop, at times heart-pounding, saga of life, passion, treachery, manipulation, vengeance, perseverance - all the facets of life.

It's an extremely well-told story set in 13th century Europe, but primarily in England. And the characters are unforgettable. I came to know and love Tom Builder, Ellen, Jack, Aliena, and Prior Philip; meanwhile abhorring the likes of Alfred, William Hamleigh and Bishop Waleran.

A fabulously engaging read, I give it a definite A! Highly recommended!


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reviewed Pillars of the Earth on + 8 more book reviews
Fabulous.
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i really wanted to like this book...first of all just holding it to read was an effort. it si gigantic.but i stick to my 100 page rule and just had to put it down as i could make no sense of this book
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Top drawer! Read the sequel too!!! If you like historical fiction you will get beautifully lost in this one.
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Excellent read.
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Long read, but excellent!!!!
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on + 380 more book reviews
What a story!!! An absolutely engrossing story -characters abound in this book. Mr. Follett has always enthralled me with his story telling, and this is no different. Don't be scared away by the number of pages-every one is perfect.
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Good story. Historical fiction adventure, epic tale.
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Fascinating, a great story
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good
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Publishers Weekly
With this book, Follett risks all and comes out a clear winner, escaping the narrow genre of suspense thrillers to take credit for a historical novel of gripping readability, authentic atmosphere and detail and memorable characterization. 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 four decades during which social and political upheaval and the internal politics of the church affect the progress of the cathedral and the fortunes of the protagonists. The insightful portrayals of an idealistic master builder, a pious, dogmatic but compassionate prior and an unscrupulous, ruthless bishop are balanced by those of a trio of independent, resourceful women (one of them quite loathesome) who can stand on their own as memorable characters in any genre. Beginning with a mystery that casts its shadow on ensuing events, the narrative is a seesaw of tension in which circumstances change with shocking but true-to-life unpredictability. Follett's impeccable pacing builds suspense in a balanced narrative that offers action, intrigue, violence and passion as well as the step-by-step description of an edifice rising in slow stages, its progress tied to the vicissitudes of fortune and the permutations of evolving architectural style. Follett's depiction of the precarious balance of power between monarchy and religion in the Middle Ages, and of the effects of social upheavals and the forces of nature (storms, famines) on political events; his ability to convey the fine points of architecture so that the cathedral becomes clearly visualized in the reader's mind; and above all, his portrayals of the enduring human emotions of ambition, greed, bravery, dedication, revenge and love, result in a highly engrossing narrative. Manipulating a complex plot in which the characters interact against a broad canvas of medieval life, Follett has written a novel that entertains, instructs and satisfies on a grand scale.

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.
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Incredibly disappointing. Puerile dialogue, one-dimensional characters, and a painfully obvious "plot."
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on + 23 more book reviews
I love Ken Follett... I hate this book, It drags and is poorly written. It is written in 21st century words and style trying to explain the past
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on + 20 more book reviews
This was poorly written, the characters were cardboard, the history was inaccurate and anachronistic and, overall, the book was a thoroughly dismaying excuse for a book. Life is too short to waste my time on this sort of poorly written blather.
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on + 3 more book reviews
I'd read more by this author.
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on + 134 more book reviews
[review from AMAZON] With this book, Follett risks all and comes out a clear winner, escaping the narrow genre of suspense thrillers to take credit for a historical novel of gripping readability, authentic atmosphere and detail and memorable characterization. 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 four decades during which social and political upheaval and the internal politics of the church affect the progress of the cathedral and the fortunes of the protagonists. The insightful portrayals of an idealistic master builder, a pious, dogmatic but compassionate prior and an unscrupulous, ruthless bishop are balanced by those of a trio of independent, resourceful women (one of them quite loathesome) who can stand on their own as memorable characters in any genre. Beginning with a mystery that casts its shadow on ensuing events, the narrative is a seesaw of tension in which circumstances change with shocking but true-to-life unpredictability. Follett's impeccable pacing builds suspense in a balanced narrative that offers action, intrigue, violence and passion as well as the step-by-step description of an edifice rising in slow stages, its progress tied to the vicissitudes of fortune and the permutations of evolving architectural style. Follett's depiction of the precarious balance of power between monarchy and religion in the Middle Ages, and of the effects of social upheavals and the forces of nature (storms, famines) on political events; his ability to convey the fine points of architecture so that the cathedral becomes clearly visualized in the reader's mind; and above all, his portrayals of the enduring human emotions of ambition, greed, bravery, dedication, revenge and love, result in a highly engrossing narrative. Manipulating a complex plot in which the characters interact against a broad canvas of medieval life, Follett has written a novel that entertains, instructs and satisfies on a grand scale.
reviewed Pillars of the Earth on + 4 more book reviews
Great story by a great author.
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my cover differs from the one shown
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Freaking awesome!!
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A Literary Guild Main Selection
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I didnt read by my dad did and he said it was a good book, he read it way back when....
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I have not read this book, but this is what is stated on the back cover:
"Enormous and Brilliant... A great epic tale... creammed with characters unbelievably alive across the great gulf of centuries.. touches all human emotion-love and hate, loyalty and treachery, hope and despair. See for yoruself. This is truly a novel to get lost in and one of the marvels of the publishing year." cosmopolitan