Pillars of the Earth: Book summary and reviews of Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

Pillars of the Earth

by Ken Follett

Pillars of the Earth
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' rating:

  • Published in USA  Aug 1989
    973 pages
    Genre: Historical Fiction

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this book

Book Summary

Ken Follett had long been a staple of the bestseller lists for his novels of intrigue and espionage. Then came The Pillars of the Earth, a grand novel of epic storytelling that readers and critics quickly hailed as his crowning achievement.

In 12th-century England, the building of a mighty Gothic cathedral signals the dawn of a new age. This majestic creation will bond clergy and kings, knights and peasants together in a story of toil, faith, ambition and rivalry. A sweeping tale of the turbulent middle ages, The Pillars of the Earth is a masterpiece from one of the world's most popular authors.

Read a Sample

Click to the right or left of the sample to turn the page.
(If no book jacket appears in a few seconds, then we don't have an excerpt of this book or your browser is unable to display it)

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

"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." - Publishers Weekly.

"This will appeal more to lovers of exciting adventure stories than true devotees of historical fiction." - Library Journal.

"The vigor and intensity of the first half of the book may bring The Pillars of the Earth popular success. But half a book isn't good enough, especially at these prices. repetitious." - New York Times.

The information about Pillars of the Earth shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Reader Reviews

Write your own review

Erin

Wonderful!
I think this book is wonderful. One should definitely not judge a book by it's cover, or even the first 60 pages... This book has been a page turner through and through, which I didn't expect and still don't understand how it is possible being so long. I definitely recommend it.

Betty

Loved it.....all 900 pages
I can't believe there are so few reviews of this novel. Don't let the thickness of this book scare you away. At first I thought it would take me forever to finish it. The story and characters captured me right away and I had a hard time putting it down. It is now one of my all time favorite books.

Beth

I can't believe.....
There isn't one reader review? This is one of my all time favorites! A must read!

J B Brush

Sensational history?
If you are interested in this historical period, the Great Anarchy, you should read the Cadfael Chronicles by Ellis Peters. Her 20 volumes are mysteries set against the war between Maud and Stephen, but Peters' work is much more intelligent, and well-written.
One can suspect that Ken Follett benefited from Peters' meticulous research of the period. But his book is history sensationalized for the mass market.
I don't think I'll manage to read "Pillars of the Earth" all the way through.

Rich

The Pillars of the Earth
I have to admit, I'm a bit mystified by the hype. Only 60 pages in, but may pass this to the trash heap. Passages like (loose quote) 'a cathedral is just like a church, but it's where the bishop lives' or 'a cathedral has three parts, a head, shoulders and a body.'
Well, no kidding. Thanks for explaining what a cathedral is. And no, it's not a head, shoulders and body, it's a cross.
And, again, only in the first 60 pages, it seemed like the daughter, Martha, was more like the Kenny character from the Comedy Central series "South Park." I mean, she was almost run down by a war horse and then clubbed by a mutilated thief.
I realize I perhaps have not read enough, but I keep saying to myself "Oh come on, please!"
I hate putting books down, so maybe a few more chapters.
If you want a better book of the same period, a true masterpiece, read 'Narcissus and Goldman" by Hermann Hesse.
It wasn't selected for Oprah's book club, which may be a good thing. Only read one of other book on that list and it was junk. The only other I heard about was a fraud.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Author Information

Ken Follett Author Biography

Photo by Barbara Follett

Ken Follett is a Welsh author of thrillers and historical novels. He has sold more than 130 million copies of his works. Many of his books have reached the number 1 ranking on the New York Times best-seller list.

He was born on June 5, 1949, in Cardiff, Wales, the son of a tax inspector. He was educated at state schools and graduated from University College, London, with an Honours degree in philosophy (he was made a Fellow of the college in 1995).

He became a reporter, first with his home-town newspaper the South Wales Echo and later with the London Evening News. While working on the Evening News he wrote his first novel, which was published but did not become a bestseller. He then went to work for a small London publishing house, Everest Books, eventually becoming Deputy Managing ...

Full Biography
Link to Ken Follett's Website

Name Pronunciation
Ken Follett: fohl-ette

Other books by Ken Follett at BookBrowse
  • The Hammer of Eden jacket

9 more...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

More Recommendations

Readers Also Browsed . . .

more historical fiction...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Opposite of Everyone
by Joshilyn Jackson

"Quirky and appealing characters, an engaging story, and honest dialogue make this a great book!"
- BookBrowse

About the book
Join the discussion!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Holding Up the Universe
    Holding Up the Universe
    by Jennifer Niven
    Jennifer Niven's spectacular Holding Up the Universe has everything that I love about Young ...
  • Book Jacket: Coffin Road
    Coffin Road
    by Peter May
    From its richly atmospheric opening to its dramatic conclusion, Peter May's Coffin Road is a ...
  • Book Jacket: The Guineveres
    The Guineveres
    by Sarah Domet
    It's a human need to know one's own identity, to belong to someone, to yearn for a place ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Victoria
    by Daisy Goodwin

    Daisy Goodwin breathes new life into Victoria's story, and does so with sensitivity, verve, and wit." - Amanda Foreman

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win All the Gallant Men

All The Gallant Men

The first memoir by a USS Arizona survivor, 75 years after Pearl Harbor.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

K Y Eyes P

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!



Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.