We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
 >   > 
The Pillars of the Earth | [Ken Follett]

The Pillars of the Earth

Why we think it’s a great listen: Got 40 hours to kill? You’ll find the time when you start listening to Lee’s take on Follett’s epic – and widely celebrated – novel of 12th-century England. 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...and of the beautiful, elusive Lady Aliena, haunted by a secret shame....
Regular Price:$56.00
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

Publisher's Summary

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.

A spellbinding epic tale of ambition, anarchy, and absolute power set against the sprawling medieval canvas of 12th-century England, this is Ken Follett's historical masterpiece.

©1989 Ken Follett; (P)2007 Penguin Audio, a member of Penguin Group (USA), Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Follett is a master." (The Washington Post)
"A historical novel of gripping readability, authentic atmosphere and detail and memorable characterization." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.5 (14528 )
5 star
 (9678)
4 star
 (3251)
3 star
 (951)
2 star
 (341)
1 star
 (307)
Overall
4.5 (6773 )
5 star
 (4639)
4 star
 (1439)
3 star
 (407)
2 star
 (154)
1 star
 (134)
Story
4.6 (6727 )
5 star
 (5003)
4 star
 (1305)
3 star
 (269)
2 star
 (71)
1 star
 (79)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Scott culver City, CA, USA 12-08-07
    Scott culver City, CA, USA 12-08-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    47
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    16
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    3
    0
    Overall
    "Sublime"

    Follet's preface, about how he'd come to write this novel, had me hooked. His effort, research and honesty propelled me into his novel with enthusiasm. The reader, John Lee, does a superb job. His tone is rich, full of a multitude of vocal inflections that carry ones imagination deeply into this historical adventure. And like a great actor he never shines so brightly on the material that his 'acting' takes precedence over the reading. I can't wait to get the sequel. One thousand cheers to Mr Follet for having ventured into terrain so different from his home.
    scott stambler. real name.

    26 of 29 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Victoria 05-16-08
    Victoria 05-16-08 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    70
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    243
    37
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    4
    0
    Overall
    "good, but caveat..."

    this book was thoroughly captivating.
    however, there are definitely many "R-rated" parts.
    it is unfortunate, because my 15 year old daughter is fascinated with medieval history, and this book would be a great addition to her education, but I would never let her listen to it.
    there are parts whose images I still cringe at.
    the author is obviously skilled at creating characters, both normal people, heroes, and villains; however, in his effort to create particularly horrid villains, he describes in graphic sexual detail what he inflicts upon his victims. It's salacious, disgusting and gratuitous. I feel that the author takes too much pleasure in the descriptions, and is my only (but large) caveat for any reader.

    26 of 30 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marc St. Louis, MO, United States 11-27-07
    Marc St. Louis, MO, United States 11-27-07 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    41
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    32
    10
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    1
    Overall
    "Delightful characters & virtual Medieval England!"

    Five stars - An exception work of fiction. Compelling story and virtual tour of 13th century England. Follett really delivers with this masterpiece. My first review after more than 200 downloads. Don’t be put off by the length. You will be wishing it were even longer. Am ready to tackle World Without End next.



    36 of 42 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jenna Boston, Massachusetts, United States 11-26-11
    Jenna Boston, Massachusetts, United States 11-26-11 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    19
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    77
    10
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Way too long to be this boring"

    Thank goodness for a fantastic performance by the narrator-- it was almost the only saving grace for this 40-hour snoozer dotted with a handful of exciting scenes. Maybe I would have felt differently about the abridged version.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ilya MoscowRussian Federation 03-01-09
    Ilya MoscowRussian Federation 03-01-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    15
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    201
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    "Okish book"

    For me the book for interesting enough to listen to the end but I'm definitely not going to re-read or re-listen it again. To my taste the characters are somewhat one-dimensional and I often found parts of the plot somewhat unconvincing. There is too much of soap opera in this book.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jelica 05-28-08
    Jelica 05-28-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    42
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    210
    12
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Overly simplistic and quite boring"

    I found it very difficult to get into this book. The descriptions are often unnecessarily too detailed and drawn out. The characters are either all good or all bad, and not much is left to readers` imagination. Felt like a waste of money and time.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cate P 05-09-08
    Cate P 05-09-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    47
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    43
    14
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    4
    1
    Overall
    "Errr, uhhh!"

    Most of the forty hours I spent listening to this book I amused myself by planning what I would say about it. It wasn't bad enough to stop, but it's a bit of a slog. The characters are moderately interesting and there's some history, but it's a soap opera - good guys and bad guys duking it out - over and over and over. I kept thinking, "enough already!". Truly, it's one struggle after another, some graphic and disturbing violence. The prose was basic, the story only moderately interesting and very repetitive (ie. the bad guy raped and pillaged his way through the book which got old), and the end didn't ring my cathedral bells. Kind of a set up for the next long book. The one stellar fact is that the narration is outstanding.

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cora Judd 02-26-08
    Cora Judd 02-26-08 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    453
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    263
    38
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    32
    0
    Overall
    "Altenative title suggestions:"

    How to Clean the Attic in 40 Hours

    or

    If You're Not Getting Any, Here's Some

    I came to Pillars directly from 2 Michael Chabon books, (Gentlemen of the Road, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay), and had Chabon's high-tone and fun stories winging through my mind. His writing has made my ear overly sensitive to the dissonant clang of Follet's script-like conversations and arms length approach to emotion (16 year old girl knifes an outlaw on the road to save herself and brother. Brother later says, "you're awfully grumpy." Brilliant).

    After the first of the violent rapes I figured Follet got "that" out of his system. But he never did. He rounded out the entire 40 hours with rapes and seductions of every buxom, curly haired brunette in the book. If you're a middle class white guy, you'll need a cigarette about every 2 chapters.

    The story itself was good enough. The Euclidean math and mason work and a general sense of medieval England and hierarchy of the Catholic Church was worth reading through.

    All the unfinished business getting wrapped up with a bow on top by the end gave a Hollywood feel to it.

    In the end, it was a good distraction for cleaning out the attic but I won't be recommending it to anyone looking for a "great" read.

    24 of 28 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dave Riverhead, NY, USA 11-19-07
    Dave Riverhead, NY, USA 11-19-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    96
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    77
    10
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Don't let the 40 hours scare you"

    I have to admit that I was hesitant to buy a book that was 40 hours about monks building a cathedral in the 12th century. This book came highly recommended and that is why I bought it. I am glad that I did. It was great. It was masterfully written with great characters and a plot that always kept you guessing. The first hour or so was a bit slow, but after that I found myself sitting in the car waiting for the chapter to end before I got out.
    I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction or just a wonderfully written story. My only concern at this point is that i do not think that WWE will live up to this book.

    24 of 29 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shaddi Laguna Niguel, CA, United States 01-31-08
    Shaddi Laguna Niguel, CA, United States 01-31-08 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    152
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    425
    23
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    5
    0
    Overall
    "Great Listen except..."

    I really enjoyed listening to this book and found John Lee's performance to be engaging (as always). Great plot and i would have given it 5 stars except that there are many very explicit rape scenes in this book which were quite disturbing. The first two had a point but the rest were unnecessary in my opinion--I started to wonder if the author had a hidden facination with sexual violence because the rest of the violence in the book were not as explicit. If explicit rape scenes bother you, I wouldn't recommend this book (which is unfortunate because the rest of it is quite good).

    40 of 49 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.