Synopsis:The spellbinding epic set in twelfth-century England, The Pillars of the Earth tells the story of the lives entwined in the building of the greatest Gothic cathedral the world has ever known—and a struggle between good and evil that will turn church against state, and brother against brother.
Review from a reader:
The characters were interesting, flawed, and complex. The storyline is captivating, intricate, and exciting. I think that because the story was told from the point of view of many characters, the author was able to show so much more of what was going on in many different places at the same time. Also, the length of the book allowed for a lot of time to pass (almost 50 years). The author incorporated some actual historical events into the story, which made all the other plotlines seem so much more real.
The author spent a great deal of time and effort explaining specific features and aspects of cathedral construction. It was obvious that he had done extensive research on this topic and his descriptions did help to highlight the hard work it took for people to build such magnificent structures at that time in history.
The ending of the book was very gratifying, the type that ties up all loose ends.
Now for the downside, this book can be vulgar and downright disgusting at times. The violence depicted is more graphic than I have ever read in any other book before. But I realize that the author was simply trying to be true to life at that period in history- knights, war, pillage, famine, etc. And for this fact, I appreciate the realism- but that didn’t make it any easier to read.
Bottom line – A great book. I qualify my recommendation though because of the reasons listed above. This book is NOT for everyone.
From inside the pages of the book:
“She loved him because he had brought her back to life. She had been like a caterpillar in a cocoon, and he had drawn her out and shown her that she was a butterfly. She would have spent her entire life numb to the joys and pains of love, if he had not walked into her secret glade, and shared his story peoms with her, and kissed her so lightly, and then slowly, gently, awakened the love that lay dormant in her heart. He had been so patient, so tolerant, despite his youth. For that she would always love him.” pg. 799”
― Ken Follett, The Pillars of the Earth