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.
"Follett is a master." (The Washington Post)
"A historical novel of gripping readability, authentic atmosphere and detail and memorable characterization." (Publishers Weekly)
NO... You don't need yet another person telling you this is a great book.This book will blow you away... Yes... It's that good! It's not better than Watership Down... or... any number of different books I've listened to.. but... it is EXCELLENT!... a book you won't be sorry you listened to... It's one you'll be happy you didn't miss...
I greatly enjoyed John Lee's engaging reading style. I had read Pillars several years ago and thought that it was a great read. Mr. Lee's narration seem to bring the story to life and gave me the impression that I was in the middle of the story, well done!
I am a non-believer, so at first was turned off by a story about a cathedral, but while melodramatic, Pillars is awesome! Just great. It does go where you think it will if you're a history buff, and ends with all things neatly sewn up.
Wonderful book. Read or listen to it. You owe it to yourself.
The story is well constructed, complex and engaging. He mixes in some out of the blue sex scenes for the adult reader which is awkward, and cheap. The narrator does a good job, though sometimes his tone gets a bit repetitive. He remains easily understandable throughout.
Overall I would recommend this book.
When I saw the actual book it was too overwhelming to read because of the size so I'm very happy it's available as audio. Narrator's very good. Story also, classic quality.
An excellent story of human desires, disaster, treachery, love, accomplishment. I highly recommend this fine, work! Ken Follet, does NOT disappoint!
I'm conflicted about this book. On one hand, it is researched and entertaining. On the other, it is a lengthy historical thriller, and could have used an editor to make it better. Everything had a touch of boilerplate about it, but I suspect that is due more to trying to write a best seller instead of a literary work. I think the author at times was echoing the biblical story of Job and David and Goliath in order to demonstrate the huge human endeavor it was to build cathedrals in the middle Middle Ages, given what people are like. However, to me it felt more like a mash up of Candide and Gone With The Wind. Also, intentionally or not, the utter futility of religious faith was on display throughout the plot, which is ironic considering much of what motivated characters was their religious beliefs, whether it was disillusionment or faith in biblical teachings. Being a good person or being bad simply had no effect on outcomes. People palaver a lot as they do about God bringing about justice, rewards or blessings, but the story clearly shows if you are a Duke or a King or a rich merchant the power and authority that comes with position and money has more to do with how justice or blessings are distributed in a community. In any circumstance, being female is a damned curse in the Middle Ages and no matter how beloved or adored, still a mindless enslavement is all that is expected or wanted from women in this society. The one female character who is free has to live alone in a forest to maintain freedom to be herself. The other, who pulls herself up into some wealth and respectability through hard work and taking risks ends up losing everything again and again because she must support the men in her life rather than taking complete charge of her destiny, due to religious strictures and the structure of family life in the Middle Ages. The men have a hard time of it too, to be sure, but some of them can afford to be dreamers by staying single or becoming monks. Marriage seems to bring on only hardships. Fearful poverty is always on the horizon either due to weather or wars between the nobility or mentally ill parents or husbands. Endless labor with no safe future or reward is all there is. A straw house, or one of wood or one of stone does not guarantee living without starvation and misery at some point no matter how much one might save or live sensibly. Even the cathedral, normally a symbol of human perseverance and permanence, falls several times in the book. Despite the chaos, and the failures of human justice and insight, and the uncertainty of living another 24 hours, people appear to overcome reality by communal delusions and hope through religious faith and class pride.
I really thought I would not like this story because I'm not into historic fiction, especially medieval genres. However, it came highly recommended to me and from the very beginning, I was hooked! The book is more about the characters than the time period. And these characters are just amazing. The wisdom, determination, and sheer will of the characters to overcome adversity had me listening every chance I got. Amazing book!
I'd already read the book twice so I wasn't sure if I wanted to spend hours listening to it. It was on sale so I decided to give it a try. It was just as great as I remembered and it had been long enough since I read it for me to enjoy all the details. John Lee did a great job of bringing the characters to life. Now on to World Without End. I've only read that once!
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