An epic. A joyful read. When the hell is the miniseries coming out?
Is this true? There is a mini series? like a TV drama?
i loved this book. i wish he would write a part 2.......
THE BEST BOOK I HAVE EVER READ!!!!
I thought I saw a comment that there is a sequel to this book. Is it true?
et in 12th century England, when Kings reigned and bishops held more than the power of God. This powerful Gothic epic is full of clashing Knights, magnificent castles, romance, lies, power seeking, corruption, revenge, suffering, tragedy, and of coarse deceit. The characters are easy to follow, and are very real; all coming together in the end.
An absorbing novel, can't wait to read the new one.
well i was kind of hesitant at first about this book but when i began i could not put it down....from the kitchen to the bedroom it was always with me. it has a very tantalising plot and everything is just a mastery on its own. its a very memorable read
One of my all time favorites. I read it several years ago and just decided that I should read it again before starting on the sequel. I always enjoy Follett's books, but I think this is thus far his best.
What a wonderful book. My only warning: If you are to read Pillars of the Earth, park aside two days and don't let anything interrupt your read. If you don't, the book will force you to anyway.
Hi Julee...here's the answer to your question:
Old Sarum is the site of the earliest settlement of Salisbury, in England. The site contains evidence of human habitation as early as 3000 BC. Old Sarum is mentioned in some of the earliest records in the country. It sits on a hill about two miles north of modern Salisbury.
Old Sarum was originally a hill fort strategically placed on the conjunction of two trade routes and the River Avon, Hampshire. The hill fort is broadly oval in shape. 1300 feet in length and 1200 feet in width, it consists of a bank and ditch with an entrance on the eastern side.
It is now an English Heritage property and open to the public. The site is located on Castle Road, 2 miles north of Salisbury via the A345.
Answer provided by the fabulous Wikipedia!
the book makes me love my bed time , because i read it every night before i go to bed....a thick novel but feel like a ten page ...taking you back to the old beautiful and innocent times where you don't want to wake up.
This is an absolutely "must read" book and is one of my favorites. It is long but well worth the time spent. While reading it I felt as if I could see the whole story unfolding before my eyes. I hated to have it end but am looking forward to reading the sequel "World Without End" which I just bought.
I am looking forward to start reading this book this week .
I am Plannig to read this book, I don't know but I have been pushed for long time by some friends to read it..
I've had this book on my 'to read' list for a couple of years and my lovely husband was nice enough to buy it for me for Christmas. He was very smart and didn't pay extra for the Oprah stamped one. I'm about 1/4 into it and loving it immensely. I'm actually making myself read slower and less at each sitting than I usually do because I want to savor it. I can already tell it's going to be one of my favorites.
Discussion question - which did you like better, this book or the sequel ("World Without End")? Why? I liked the first one better, but can't put my finger on why.
Pillars is infinitely better than the sequel--probably because the characters were all tied together by the cathedral in the first book. The second book was just a watered-down version of the original.
That's it!! No major unifying thing! Thank you, and for those who liked these books, try Edward Rutherford also.
Interesting! Good story line and knowledge this book provide on Catherdals is a bonus!
Amazing detail...it's really cool how all the different characters were woven together to make one story. The historical accuracy is amazing too
I am reading this for a second time- and that is a first in my life! This is a realistic representation of what life was like back in the 12th century, an era of the great catherdral builders in Europe. The story is powerful and the book is a good, long read.
Great epic read! I loved the descriptions of the work of the builders and architects as they designed and constructed the cathedral during the Middle-Ages. I also like it when a writer steps outside his/her usual genre as Ken Follett did here. I am starting the epic sequel, World Without End.
Thank you all for your wonderful responds, first I thought it's not worth it but after all your kind responds I think I will be reading the book very soon.
I just started reading this book. Looks very promising.I love the way how the life of all the characters is crossing each other.
Fascinating books that take you back to when kings and the church ruled over the serfs. The main focus is the building of the churches during that time. It also talks about the struggles of women and how easily they were accused of witchcraft if they tried to do things independent of a mans protection. I highly recommend these two books if you want to get lost in a long historical novel.
If you are willing to invest a lot of time in the first 200+ pages this book is well worth the effort. Like all good books, this one leaves you wondering about what is going to happen when you are not reading it and looking forward to when you can pick it up again. I felt like the last 100 pages and the whole Thomas Beckett section were totally unessesary - someone needed to tell him it was time to stop writing! But overall - great characters, great story a definite must read for anyone who enjoys a good historic fiction!
And that's the key - it is HISTORIC fiction and the section dealing with Thomas Beckett and others dealing with descriptions of towns, etc., help to immerse you in the period and put it all in context. I loved this book and also thoroughly enjoyed its sequel, World Without End, set 200 years later in the same town where the ancestors of "Pillars" are still ekeing out a living from the earth but are living in the great shadow of the cathedral. The sex is incidental, its all about the history.
AN amazing book i think book lovers should not miss. Even Oprah loves it apparently.
I'm about a third of the way through and really enjoying. Wondering if I'll tire of it before the end? So far, not. Love the setting.
I'm about 100 - 200 pages into this book. I thought the scene where Ellen comes to Thomas after he has been wondering in the forrest after the loss of his wife and w/o words has sex with him and then tells him she has fallen madly in love with him is a completely far fetched. Is it me, or is this a typical guy fantasy?
I totally agree... I had to go back and read part of it again, because like you said all of the sudden they're in the middle of a sex scene. Only a man would find that arousing most woman would find that terrifying!
I am about 100 pages or so into the book and don't know what to think. The episode in the forest just was ridiculous and I am tempted to put it down. Is it corny throughout?????
I too feel this is an amazing book. While reading it I could not say what kept me at it but could not put it down. I guess it is the history major in me and my travels that included cathedrals
I am reading this for my book club. I normally enjoy Ken Follet, but this wasn't his usual style. Frankly the first 300 pages had me yawning. However, as I trudged forward, I found it was more and more interesting. As an artist, I was much more interested in the building of the cathedral than the petty squabbles of the people. However, I believe the character Father Philip would be saddened to know that as time has gone by, people continue to be petty selfish and mean.
Ok, now I'm about midway through this book and I'm really starting to get into it. I stil think it's very clear that a man wrote this book (especially with the way William's character is with Aliena), but I do think that this book is fast paced (in the sense that there is always action and plotting) and therefore, keeps my interest. I do tend to skip over the descriptions of the town, church, buildings, market, etc. because they can sometimes get too wordy and descriptive for me (and I know others tend to enjoy this stuff). The book could have been a lot shorter w/o so much description. Overall, I must say that I'm enjoying the book a lot more.
I actually thought there wasn't that much description. I thought the book might be a bit long and tedious but I didn't feel that way at all. I thought it was a wonderful story with just the right amount of description. (ok, there might have been one or two parts that I had to skim a tiny tiny bit.)
Brianne it is a wonderful story. I did find myself rereading certain chapters! I imagined William's mother as looking like the queen in Alice in Wonderland!
should I read this book?
I think you should read this book...if only for a glimpse into the feudal system way of life and what it took to build one of those huge cathedrals, something I've always been a bit curious about. I actually liked World Without End better; it's less about the initial building of the church and more about the lives of the people 200 years later.
Oh yeah, this book is rock'n roll!
This book is awesome! (how's that for an in-depth review?)
its taking me forever to read
I stopped to read an "easy read" book. There is so much detail! I really, really enjoyed reading it but needed a break! Will get back to it soon!
I know what you mean about having to put it down. For me it was impossible. I was reading into the late hours of the night because I couldn't stop :)
Couldn't put it down! Wow. I put it down twice in the first 65 pages (or so) and eventually threw it away. This book is Boring with a capital 'B'.
Question to female readers -- do you find Follett's female characters believable? Do the motivations, desires, longings, inner voices seem authentic?
I'll give you one example. In Pillars there's a scene near the beginning in which Ellen finds Tom builder passed out in the snow, before they really know each other, and she makes love with him in the middle of the snow as a way of reviving him. As a male reader, I find Follet's female characters very intriguing -- another example is Gwenda, from World Without End. A terrific character. How do female readers experience them?
I did tend to see Follett's female characters as male-fantasy ideas, so I agree with you up to a point. But few of his characters were so well developed as to take on real personalities, except perhaps a couple of the major players. I think he did typecast or stereotype the minor ones. The overall emphasis in both of the "cathedral" books is definitely on the politics.
I find the book poorly edited and that it could have been written better. As for his treatment of women, to simply characterize them as only good for sexual urges and reproduction very shallow and adolescent. It is irresponsible not only to stereotype women in that fashion but also to only give allow men that viewpoint of women.
I found the female characters to be very shallow and very male-fantasy (teenage male, at that). Every single female character was seen sexually (either by being raped, by being sexually isatiable). Also, the womens' body insecurities (i.e. Eliana feeling that her breasts were "too big") was a real turn-off. I would have related to the female characters a lot more were I not forced to think of them the way an adolescent boy would. Shame on Ken Follett!
I think you need to look at the historical time period these women lived in. To understand the context of the events of rape, sexuality, and feelings reguarding the female body. Have you looked at what was going on in the world during the time period this book is dipicting? Were women educated? Do take into consideration that women would have been considered low class citizens with no rights. Reguarding their anatomy to men they were seen as nothing more than objects for sex and reproduction. This is not the way and adolescent boys would view them this IS the way women and sexuality would have been viewed during this time period. Please look again at the historical context of the book and then by all means make a judgement after that.
I am really finding this conversation intriguing. I myself loved both of the books (Pillars and World) -- found them very suspenseful and fascinating in their depictions of medieval life. I also found the love stories veru engaging. But I did think they were flawed and in many cases self indulgent. I was concerned about the female characters -- I enjoyed them but wondered if women found them authentic. At times I did find some of the characters cartoonish. I think Follett seems himself as the masterbuilder and these two books are like his cathedrals in their enormous scope -- but like real buildings they have have their flaws and their rough spots. I really admire him as a writer for aspiring to something so enormous and the result is very entertaining at least. It is somewhat encouraging that art can be ambitious and deeply flawed and great all at the same time.
I have to agree with david c...if you read what the author wrote about why he wrote these books in the first place, the book(s)will make more sense. He wrote them out of an intense interest in the architecture itself; he can't go anywhere without going on a tour of some kind of cathedral. The "story" is just tacked on (in my opinion) to provide a reason for discussing the building of the cathedrals. "World" was better, in my opinion, only because it dwelt more on the lives, times, and relationships of the characters and less on the building itself. But I wouldn't qualify either book as a "great" work of art.
I also liked World even better than Pillars, and it did feel that he achieved something really powerful at the end. I mean, maybe I'm a schmuck but the ending moved me to tears. The relationship between Merthin and Caris and how the cathedral is almost for her in the end -- it was such a metaphor about how art can be moved, inspired by the passions between people. To me Caris is the best of his female characters (guess we need to move this to the other book page, huh) but the two books are so similar in style and construction and thematics. What did you think of Caris -- did she some to life for you in the same way or is this a guy thing?
I really enjoyed both Pillars & World, maybe neither more than the other. But I agree with you whole-heartedly: Caris is a phenomenal character. I love her! I can't say enough about her. She is by far the best female character of Follett's in these two books; and the relationship between Merthin and Caris just moves me. It's deep, it's raw, it's so real. They both, and their relationship are just so alive!
Just never wanted it to end! A wonderful historical novel with great characters.
What a great book! In the beginning I wasn't sure I would ever finish it, now I don't want it to end.
A friend bought me this book for Christmas. It was the first time I read a book from Oprah's Book Club. Let me tell you, she can pick 'em! I was intimidated by the length but once I got into it I couldn't stop. The story was so riveting. I went back to the book every chance I could get. My only regret is the book had to end. This is really one of the best books I have ever read.
my grandmother in germany bought me this book.it was april 2007. believe me, i dint touch this book until february 2008. at first i was kinda intimidated by it's thickness ,,,but i decided to take a step and read it..boy was i glad to have taken that step! this is certainly one of the most amazing books i've read! definitely dont judge a book by it's cover i say! once i started, i just coudlnt put it down! i found ways just to read it..i secretly read it in class, brought in with me on summer vacation, i even slept with it many nights. no kidding! such a great and fantastic book!never thought a large book on cathedrals would be this great! but it is! a must read book before you die. i only found out it was on oprah's book club after i read it. my grandmother and oprah definitely have great tastes in books! i found it very fantastic even before oprah decided to add it to her list. there you go. its a marvelous book. you'll never get boreed. it's like having to live in the place myself and having a vacation there the whole time i had it in my hands.
What a wonderful set of characters, what a heart-tugging consistent and full-blooded story. Worth the time it takes to read. . .
I've begun the journey of this book and I must say I'm enjoying it. I'm about 1/10 of the way through. Busy week precludes me devouring it but I will have time for some longer forays into it this weekend.
I read Pillars a very long time ago so I don't remember the details. I do remember liking it and also enhancing the experience by borrowing Cathedral by David Macaulay. It's a wonderful picture book about the building of a cathedral. The drawings are very detailed and McCauley is a terrific artist. Your local library's youth department probably has a copy.
This book held me hostage until I read the whole thing, working full time and working on degree. I never guessed how it would end, I loved it. I am on my way to buy the other book, World without end. Buy it and read it. Theology buffs will love it.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and if you like historical fiction you're in for a real treat. I read it within a two week timeframe...I couldn't put it down. I especially liked Follett's style of writing. Now, I'm looking forward to reading World Without End.
I agree with your assessment of "Pillars". I loved it too. "World without End" is an entertaining read, but not quite as good as "Pillars". I heard that "Pillars" was being made into a movie. Have any of you heard anything about this?
This was, one of the THE most amazing historical fiction novels I've ever read. It's an epic novel that spans the entire lifetime of one whole generation in a small town run by a monastery. I became immediately connected with the characters and with every page they become more developed and more real. Follett really showed true brilliance in creating characters with so much depth to them. He even made it possible to care for the most reviled. There is one aspect that drags on a little bit, and that is how he goes into so much description of the building of the Cathedral. You can choose to breeze over these, but I viewed them as sort of painting the growth of the town. I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in historical fiction. One of my absolute favorites.
100% ditto to storybookbelle82's post. I couldn't have said it better!
I am a huge historical fiction fan. I saw this book on the library shelf in 1989 and practically jumped on it. I was not disappointed with the choice. Oddly enough, I have never been able to read any other book by Ken Follet but the sequel and the one about Scottish immigrants to America. Sorry, forget the title of that one. I have read this book at least 6 times and am preparing to use it in a book discussion club I was asked to head.
Right on the money Storybookbelle82! It's definitely one of my favorites too!
Loved it! Loved it! Loved it! One of my personal favourties. It's a large book, but don't let that discourage you. The story flows well and isn't predicatable. The characters are well developed.
Just finished it--LOVED it--I was very pleasantly surprised that the book held my attention, my rapt attention no less, all the way through. I couldn't read quickly enough!
YES! i'm reading it now and i am completely flabbergasted, i love it, i think of the characters while i'm at work, wondering what will happen tonight when i lie down to read. i love books that hold so much attention and heart strings and then they last forever so you feel like you know them all so well!!
i'm loving this!
My fiance bought this book and I put off reading it for weeks, despite his constant assurances that I would love it. I had read the summary blurb and it didn't sound like my kind of literature at all. But when I ran out of other things to read, I finally picked this up, and I ADORED it. I especially loved how there were so many characters to follow and how cleverly their lives intertwined throughout the story. Definitely worth your time, whether you are a historical fiction fan or not.
I too loved Pillars and unbelievably I'm now listening to the 36 CD [insert bold, underline and a bazillion exclaimation marks] audio book of the follow up 'World Without End'. I'm up to CD 26 and it's just as good as Pillars. There are a few references to Thomas Builder and characters from Pillars but as a stand-alone book it's just as absorbing. And if you're wondering why anyone in their right mind would pay $116 for a talking book, I didn't. I just borrow it for NIX @ my lovely local library!
Excelente... una historia muy bien contada, es admirable cómo el autor se las ingenia para mantener el interés del lector a lo largo de más de mil páginas. Más allá de las simplificaciones u obviedades que pueda tener, es un libro que me gustó muchísimo, uno de mis favoritos.
I have never been more disappointed in a book. There was no character development, as they were all very shallow, and if you cared about any they either died or faded. The constant struggle between good and evil was unbelievable;like a comic book the villain always rose again.I have never read a novel that left me feeling so empty.
I read "World Without End" first (during the Christmas holidays). In fact my wife complained that I was so absorbed in the book, that I was ignoring her. I loved it so much that I immediately went out and bought this one...but the holidays are over. I don't dare start it, as I know what will happen, so I guess that I will save it for the Spring break. This was the first book since Shogun that I absolutely could not put down.
Ah! Um dos grandes - em várias acepções - livros da minha vida. Estou agora a ler o "Mundo Sem Fim" e recomendo.
In response to the reader who said that he tired of reading how cathedrals were built - that is the whole idea of this book - to experience how cathedrals were built, the work it involved, and the evolution of building and construction
I actually got tired of some of the battle scenes!
I am so excited that the mini-series based on the book is about to come out! Plan to re-read the book as I watch the series. Can hardly wait!
I just watched the first two episodes on Starz's web site, oh my God is incredibly good!!! This is one of my favorite books.
I loved this book!!! I've also seen the first 2 episodes, it is absolutely awesome! It's so much more than I ever expected. I never thought this book would come to film. I'm so glad for Tandem productions.
The folks that did not love Pillars of the Earth, all I can say is "blink-blink." There's nothing to say except- I'm dumbfounded!!!
Picked up this book after hearing so much good things about it, I even picked up the second one as well. However I'm in the middle of Chapter 2 and find my mind constantly wondering off somewhere else because I just can't seem to find it at all intresting. It's going on and on and on about Brother Philip and nothing is to intresting yet except the part about the baby. Im having a really hard time reading it, does it get better? Is there anything exciting that is going to happen that will want me to stay up all night to find out what's to happen? I hope so because It's just really boring to me as of now.
I was hooked from the beginning. How about you? Did you ever get into it?
I am a little more than half way through this and not loving it. I do not care for how the women are portrayed. You can totally tell a man wrote the book and it seems to be coming from the eyes of a teenage boy whenever you read anything about men and women interacting. Some of the "strong" women seem too modern for the time period in their behavior. The story does move along but I think it could be pared down quite a bit. I do think Prior Phillip's character has been developed nicely and thoroughly. Tom seems very shallow to me when he should really be developed much, much more. So many people go on and on about this book and it's sequel. I see very few negative comments. I am actually surprised this book has gotten so very much hype. I do think the story makes for great tv/movie and I bet I would like the mini series. Heard it was great. Anyone else out there reading this book?
I want to read this book for so long.
Once on Oprah show, the author was a guest, and he talked about this book, so I got interested.
It has like 1000 pages. But I think it's very interesting..
I hope I'll find this book finally.
Please don't let the size put you off - it is a fantastic story and you will love every moment of it :)
I think this book was slow going at first, but found it a satisfying read by the time I was done. This isn't my normal genre, but I do believe I will read the second book that follows this.
I had never really thought about the construction of a church and about the lives of people involved. The characters were believable and womens roles were rather limited.
Just started reading. So far it's satisfactory and engaging.
This is one of my all time favorite books. I loved Follett's vision around construction at this period in time. The length of time to get anything built really made these buildings special to the townsfolk. I wonder if we build anything today that is such a symbol of community. We spend 100 million dollars on some of the newer libraries. Seattle just put in an amazing building. I don't think we do this as much with churches anymore. Mainly we restore older stuff. Anyway, I thought the novel was brilliant.
Very good book. After 1000+ pages, you really feel part of the story, and it really has a medieval feeling. Also the characters are very well thought.