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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....
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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 (14519 )
5 star
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4.6 (6721 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Melodee San Luis Obispo, ca, United States 02-03-11
    Melodee San Luis Obispo, ca, United States 02-03-11 Member Since 2010
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    "Good Narrator"

    Enjoyed the story and didn't want it to end. The narrator was good however I don't have much listening experience with male narrators. Female narrators tend to have better variances with character changes. Nevertheless, I didn't want to stop listening. Looking forward to World Without End.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark T. Vedel Los Angeles, CA 02-03-11
    Mark T. Vedel Los Angeles, CA 02-03-11 Listener Since 2004

    mtvmark

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    133
    2
    Overall
    "The power of a good review....."

    I am so happy I took the time to read this book. All of the reviews and ratings definitely helped in selecting it as something I would enjoy. Once I got going, I couldn't put it down. I was initially put off by one of the reviews commenting that the rape scenes were way to graphic. Upon reading them myself, I felt that Follett did a great job in providing a brutally honest level detail without being lewd or overly crewed. He used the rape to show how it shaped a woman's life over decades. The architectural aspects of cathedral building were presented in a very digestable manner and now I am hooked. I am not ready to read the sequel yet, but it is on my reading list.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Victor Elizabethtown, PA, United States 01-18-11
    Victor Elizabethtown, PA, United States 01-18-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
    14
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    7
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    "Mere Pop History, But Thoroughly Entertaining"

    Not your usual Follett fare, Pillars of the Earth can be classified as a historical novel rather than a thriller. Still, it's rife with pop elements: lots of sex, blood, and hunger for money and power. If you are looking for a realistic sense of the time and place, say something along the lines of a James Michener novel, you'll be disappointed. But if you are looking for a very compelling book with colorful characters, great plot and an urgency that keeps you listening on pins and needles, you'll be very satisfied.

    John Lee's narration is excellent. He has a compelling delivery that brings the story to life and complements the author's work beautifully.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nik 01-16-11
    Nik 01-16-11 Member Since 2007

    Enjoying audiobooks daily!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    78
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    "An amazing book that took me by surprise."

    Ken Follett wowed me with this book. I admit I did not start listening to it until the series was on TV, but it peaked my interest. What an amazingly detailed and emotional book. Other than the books from the Ice & Fire and Gunslinger series, I haven't been moved to love, hate and switch between characters so much as I did with this book. Who knew I would care about a monk and his tibulations to build his cathedral. It is also quite racey in it's sexual content and graphic with pillaging, plundering, fighting and general killing. The way women were treated by William and some of the monks was appalling. I was amazed by the story. Love this book! Will read the next one set many generations later at some point.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sean Bensalem, PA, United States 01-13-11
    Sean Bensalem, PA, United States 01-13-11 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    0
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    121
    2
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    "Captivating from start to finish"

    I wish this story could go on and on. When listening I felt as if I were aging with the characters. This is a very well written novel and the reading is one of the best I have listened to.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kim Hemet, CA, United States 01-03-11
    Kim Hemet, CA, United States 01-03-11
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    26
    3
    Overall
    "Perfect for those who enjoy historical fiction."

    I do a lot of work that many would consider mindless tasks. For the past week I have listened to this book while gardening, cleaning house, driving and more.
    The characters are engaging and the premise intriguing. Some might find it simplistic though I would disagree.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Leslie Winston-Salem, NC, United States 12-31-10
    Leslie Winston-Salem, NC, United States 12-31-10 Member Since 2014
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    REVIEWS
    70
    3
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    "Long but wonderful"

    I decided to read Pillars after watching the miniseries on Starzs. The miniseries was good and somewhat true to the book but as always the book was better. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lynn Seymour, WI, United States 12-15-10
    Lynn Seymour, WI, United States 12-15-10 Member Since 2010

    Reading is as necessary as breathing.

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    19
    4
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    "Loved it!"

    This is my first Ken Follett book after MANY years, and I thoroughly enjoyed it, as did my book club. The depth of knowledge he brought to the building of the cathedral itself was excellent and did not bog down the book at all with technical details. I found many of his characters to be multi-dimensional, interesting folks to spend time with. I'm disappointed that his antagonists are not--they seem very flat and purely evil. I was inspired to buy the mini-series, which I just got done watching. If you liked the book, the movie is worth it!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kirk Richmond, TX, United States 11-28-10
    Kirk Richmond, TX, United States 11-28-10 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    6
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    "All your emotions will be invoked!!"

    One of the best books ever. All your emotions will be invoked. You will become happy, sad, angry, fearful, excited, tense, etc. An amazing book!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cherese Dana Point, CA, United States 11-26-10
    Cherese Dana Point, CA, United States 11-26-10
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    6
    Overall
    "Gripping"

    I couldnt stop listening - the characters were compelling and interesting. The story makes an amazing full circle that you dont expect - great listening

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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