- Series: Kingsbridge
- Mass Market Paperback: 983 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books (July 9, 1990)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0451166892
- ISBN-13: 978-0451166890
- Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.6 x 6.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (5,320 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,427 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Pillars of the Earth: A Novel (Kingsbridge) Mass Market Paperback – July 9, 1990
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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.
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 Paperback edition.
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Top customer reviews
But, wanting to look cool I decided to give it a try. Honestly, it didn't sound like anything I'd be interested in... so I didn't have any expectations.
And then I started it, and whoa man. I got sucked in.
There's so much drama in this book. Right when you think one thing is resolved, something else pops up. Oh, and I cried. I don't even know how many times. I also lost a lot of sleep.
Despite the amount of pages, I flew through this book.
This takes place over an amount of decades with lots of characters. But they're all written so well, even the ones that only show up for a couple pages, that they are all distinctive. And there are so many intertwined stories, but there wasn't any times where I was confused about what was going on.
After finishing it, I brought it to my dad and told him he has to read it. I very rarely make recommendations to my father. (This is the second book I've told him to read in the last five years.)
Major thing to point out - the woman in this story are ah-may-zing. Yes, it's historical and things were different back then. But they were all written as strong, independent, and Ellen was totally the most sane character in the entire book. My only complaint is that there wasn't enough focus on her.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes drama and has any interest on 12th century England.
Jack, her lover and eventual husband, finds his mark as a builder, and the reader sees the evolution of the first magnificent cathedrals of the era, the change of style that enabled these magnificent buildings to soar toward unprecedented heights. We also see how these buildings were constructed by a largely illiterate workforce, using only the most rudimentary tools.
Philip, the prior, faces the contradictions of a Church that attempts to reconcile a life of faith and humility with the temptations of worldly power and wealth. After the murder of Thomas a Becket, he leads a continent-wide rebellion against the unchecked power of the royalty. The book pulls no punches on both the good and evil done by the clerical establishment.
Our modern ideas of liberty and human rights were born in this grimy, brutal era, and I highly recommend this book to all.
Twenty years after reading it I still reflect, when I eat a good meal, see a modern supermarket, or reflect on living in a sturdy, well heated dwelling with hot and cold running water and a bath, how lucky we are to live in modern America. Life was very hard in the old days, and this book you really experience that. Also, if you have any interest in building construction, it's fascinating to see how it used to be done way back then.