The Pillars of the Earth
I usually review book after book because I read at lightening speed. I can blow through most books in a day or two. My love for reading makes it go even faster. However, the reason I haven’t updated in a while is because it took me FOREVER to read Ken Follet’s The Pillars of the Earth!
I had heard of The Pillars of the Earth for it’s prized status in Oprah’s book club (Oprah=Word of God), and without knowing much about the plot, I picked it up.
What a masterpiece. I read a lot of non-fiction but some of my favorite books turn out to be works of fiction that I stumble upon, such as The Fountainhead, The Reader, or this book. If you had told me this book was about the building of a Gothic cathedral in the Middle Ages, I definitely would not have read it. However, I am SO glad I did, Follet’s story is such a beautiful, epic novel.
The story takes place in the 1100s, in a village called Kingsbridge where a Prior is attempting to build a cathedral with the help of a local family. The entire book is intriguing, mysterious, and has you captivated from the first few pages. Despite the fact that it’s long, halfway through the book you will be so in love with these characters and the outcome of their lives that by 75% in you don’t want the book to end.
The Pillars of the Earth, at it’s core, is a battle between good and evil. The Middle Ages provide the perfect setting for the intense and tangled story lines leading up to the building of the Kingsbridge cathedral. There is love, loss, and the revitalization of hope and faith at every turn. The epic involves the vicious William Hamleigh, quite possibly the meanest villain in the history of fiction, the lovely and powerful Aliena, a feminist icon of power in business, and Jack Jackson a man determined to fulfill his destiny. Every character is rich with history, motives, emotions, and mystery.
The book was published in 1989, and was later turned into a TV miniseries that I have not seen yet. Follet’s love of history and architecture pours out of every page, and his vivid imagery of the Cathedral will leave you breathless.
A wonderful, intense, and thrilling read!!