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Publisher's Summary

A spellbinding epic tale of ambition, anarchy, and absolute power set against the sprawling medieval canvas of twelfth-century England, this is Ken Follett's classic historical masterpiece.
The Pillars of the Earth tells the story of Philip, prior of Kingsbridge, a devout and resourceful monk driven to build the greatest Gothic cathedral the world has known...of Tom, the mason who becomes his architect - a man divided in his soul...of the beautiful, elusive Lady Aliena, haunted by a secret shame...and of a struggle between good and evil that will turn church against state, and brother against brother.
The Pillars of the Earth is followed by World Without End and A Column of Fire.
©1989 Ken Follett (P)2007 Penguin US
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Critic Reviews

"Enormous and brilliant . . . this mammoth tale seems to touch all human emotion - love and hate, loyalty and treachery, hope and despair. This is truly a novel to get lost in." (Cosmopolitan)
"A historical saga of such breadth and density... Follett succeeds brilliantly in combining hugeness and detail to create a novel imbued with the rawness, violence and blind faith of the era." (Sunday Express)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Alan on 10-02-11

Very very surprised

I am usually a fan of thriller type books and have listened to authors like Charlaine Harris and Nelson Demille, who I rate very highly.... I drive roadtrains for 12 hour shifts so like going for longer type books, and saw this book was 41 hours long and had seen a good review for it...so I got it with my credit for the month since it cost a little more. I thought there was a good chance it was going to be a mistake... I mean set in the 12th century about building of a cathedral, haha, i am not religious or much of a history buff....
Well all I can say is "This is one of the best books I have listened to since joining audible.com and I have listened to heaps"... Totally engrossed in it from the first 30 pages and it never stopped..... Get it and listen to it you won't be dissapointed whether you are a harley riding dude or a chick working in a lawyers office, you won't regret it.....

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16 of 16 people found this review helpful


By Janine on 01-02-11

As good the second time around...

I read Ken Follett's Pillars of the Earth when it was published in 1989 - and the epic is no less engaging the second time around. Follett has woven in all the elements of a top notch tale - good, evil, justice, injustice, ambition, greed, redemption... The addition of Follett's preface adds insights into the creation of the novel and his transition from thrillers to the much more complex structure and story of Pillars.

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7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By Robert on 10-31-10

The Pillars of the Earth

Watching the current TV series is rather like reading the abridged version of this epic tale which is the only version that was hitherto available in the UK. One of the things that really draws you into this tale is the vast array of interesting characters and the depth of their characterisation. Enjoy the minutae of their everyday lives, the way that people ate, slept, worked and were beholden to their Lords & Masters in the 12th century. Historical facts like the English civil war and battles fought in 1142 are interwoven with everyday tales of love, hate, treachery and corruption. Absolutely compelling listening and despite the length, I was dissapointed when I finally came to the end.

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55 of 58 people found this review helpful


By Julie on 12-13-10

Better than the TV series

I know its a cliche, but i would strongly advise anyone who watched and enjoyed the TV series to listen to this unabridged version of the book. While i thought the series was excellent, it does contain some alterations to the original story. The story contained in the book hangs together much better. It is also more historically accurate. For example Stephen was not captured at the same time as Gloucester. The book more accurately represents Stephens weak character and his reluctance to take on the Earls- which doesn't come across in the TV version.
It is a story which you do not want to end. Moreover, the ending is not obvious- just when you think everything is sorted the book has another twist in stall. The characters in the book are very realistic, while William and the bishop are more evil than appears on the tv version.
Beware the book is much more graphic than the series- some pretty sexually explicit scenes- not for children to hear! Although this is not arbitrary, it adds real sense to lawlessnes of the society during this war and immorality of those given power.

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33 of 36 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By Fady on 02-20-16

My favorite book!

An amazing book
An epic story spanning the entire lifetime of the characters filled with action, tragedy and love affairs. Beautifully written, i really felt that i got to know the true essence of the characters. This book will take you for a ride!

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful


By Matt on 01-09-16

my favourite book!

I have loved this book since I was a child. I was hesitant to try the audio book as i was afraid that the narrator wouldn't do it justice. I'm so glad i tried it out. John Lee gave this story justice with his amazing narration. his voice is beautiful to listen to and his character voices where spot on.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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