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

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.
Regular Price:$53.52
  • 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 US

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (244 )
5 star
 (156)
4 star
 (55)
3 star
 (18)
2 star
 (10)
1 star
 (5)
Overall
4.5 (174 )
5 star
 (116)
4 star
 (42)
3 star
 (6)
2 star
 (8)
1 star
 (2)
Story
4.6 (182 )
5 star
 (137)
4 star
 (29)
3 star
 (7)
2 star
 (4)
1 star
 (5)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Alan 10-02-11
    Alan 10-02-11 Listener Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    96
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    58
    13
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    9
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.....

    15 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janine Singapore, Singapore 01-02-11
    Janine Singapore, Singapore 01-02-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
    15
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    26
    7
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "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.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Roxalanne 01-10-12
    Roxalanne 01-10-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    160
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    387
    36
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    4
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A time when "God and his saints slept........""

    In " The Pillars of the Earth", as shown through the lives of widely differing characters, Ken Follett has painted an outstanding picture of the appalling chaos, poverty and starvation prevalent in England during the nine years when Stephen and Matilda were rampaging around the country fighting for the crown.

    The general breakdown of any justice or law and the perpetual uncertainty and brutality of life is very clearly shown. Those in authority changed so often that the general populace had no idea who would be their next harsh and demanding masters. The devious political intrigues between and within both church and state, fuelled by greed, spite and lust for power are well portrayed. Be prepared for many graphic descriptions of extreme and cruel violence. It is certainly typical of the times but you can skip in a book, harder with an ipod!

    Woven into the tale and central to the theme are clear, understandable explanations and descriptions of the actual planning, building and methods used in 12th century England to build a cathedral. Such majestic and spectacular results were achieved with rudimentary methods and simple tools we can only be awed and the trials and triumphs of the Kingsbridge builders felt personal.

    Recommended as an amazing book with so much of various interest and narrated superbly by John Lee.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jacobus Johannesburg, South Africa 11-13-10
    Jacobus Johannesburg, South Africa 11-13-10 Member Since 2013

    When I drive, I read... uhm listen. I like SciFi, Fantasy, some Detective and Espionage novels and Religion. Now and then I will also listen to something else.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    842
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    223
    186
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    111
    6
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "At lomg last... the unabridged version"

    Ken Follett's The Pillars of the Earth is a book on intrigue, romance, strife and the building of a cathedral. Like War and Peace and some of the older classics you are confronted with more of the characters' lives than usual. However, you are not wondering about the main characters.

    Although a long listen, this book is worth it. The narrator, John Lee, was able to bring this monumental work of Follett sufficiently to life. He pulled you through the one or two places of boredom.

    For those who have or are watching the television series, the book and the series differs substantially. This leaves certain things unpredictable.

    The book comes highly recommended.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cheryl Cape Town South Africa 07-15-11
    Cheryl Cape Town South Africa 07-15-11 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    93
    9
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    "Wonderful Narration"

    A rich absorbing book with a spellbinding narration. I loved the change of pace and subtlety of the narrator.
    Another Ken Follett masterpiece!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sonja Hilton, South Africa 12-01-10
    Sonja Hilton, South Africa 12-01-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    35
    6
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "An epic tale!"

    I am a huge fan of Ken Follett so am somewhat biased, however on this occasion I think he deserves all the praise he gets. It is a long book with many characters in whose lives you become immersed. I never got bored or wished away a single word or sentence. The narration was excellent. It is an epic story and worth more than 1 credit!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Miss Annie Jones Holywell, United Kingdom 04-07-12
    Miss Annie Jones Holywell, United Kingdom 04-07-12

    Magpie

    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    15
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Modern tripe"
    What disappointed you about The Pillars of the Earth?

    The predictable one-dimensional characters, the predictable and unneccessary laciviousness, the lack of authenticity and the predictability.


    What could Ken Follett have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Not written it.


    Did John Lee do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    Yes, except his Welsh accent was all wrong (I'm from North Wales, we don't speak like extras from Gavin and Stacey, we don't call our fathers 'Da' - hate it when the whole of Wales is charicatured as South Wales - we're far more lyrical up here - Bryn Terfel, Rhys Ifans - listen to their accents).


    What character would you cut from The Pillars of the Earth?

    All but Aliona and Tom Builder.


    Any additional comments?

    I was so looking forward to listening to this, I love historical fiction, but there was nothing here which immersed me in the past, it was a modern story coincidentally set in 10th Century, with modern language, modern characters and modern sensibilities. It was beyond bad, really. I stuck with it until about three-quarters of the way through (admittedly, I increased the speed on my iPod to get through it more quickly) but the nastiness of the characters, the predictable way they acted, the vicarious pleasure Mr Follet seemed to take in the depravity shown towards women, it angered me and made my skin crawl. I abandoned the listen without regret.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Toni 07-31-13
    Toni 07-31-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    11
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Engrossing"
    What did you like about this audiobook?

    The listener becomes completely immersed in this world of cathedrals and their building, life challenges, politics and love.


    Does the author present information in a way that is interesting and insightful, and if so, how does he achieve this?

    The way in which historical information and the storyline were woven together.


    What did you find wrong about the narrator's performance?

    Nothing. John Lee is fabulous.


    Do you have any additional comments?

    This book was thoroughly enjoyable. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul Wahroonga, Australia 09-21-11
    Paul Wahroonga, Australia 09-21-11 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Sensational"

    I read the physical copy of World without End first sometime ago .... this was even better - SENSATIONAL .... I'm even shouting at the kids in a Welsh accent ;-)

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Geoff Napier, New Zealand 12-13-10
    Geoff Napier, New Zealand 12-13-10 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    30
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    21
    13
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    "Repetitious"

    It has taken me years to get around to this book. I actually quite enjoyed it although at 41 hours Mr Follett has made it twice as long as it needed to be. Many of the themes were repetitious and similar life stories seemed to apply to quite a few of the characters. I have always liked John Lee as a narrator. He saved the book for me.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Liz
    Poole, United Kingdom
    12/14/10
    Overall
    "Wonderful"

    I saw some of the recent TV series and decided to get the book. I am not disappointed. It is marvellous. right from the start you are drawn into the lives of the characters and the author tells such a wonderful story as well as the historical background of the time. I shall be so disappointed when it ends.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Barry
    Dublin, Ireland
    7/9/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great historical novel - England in 12th Century"
    What made the experience of listening to The Pillars of the Earth the most enjoyable?

    Great story - interaction between church, royalty, peasants, labourers, landlords. Lots to follow and plenty of surprises.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Rivalry within the church and between church and state. Brought alive the roles played by priors, knights, priests.


    Which character – as performed by John Lee – was your favourite?

    Prior Philip.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Listened to over 4 weeks.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • MISS
    Coleshill, United Kingdom
    6/18/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A saga with heroism, evil & passion.. exhausting!"

    Having seen this on TV, I downloaded the sequel first some time ago and listened to that. In turn that led me to Mr Follett's series of sagas in the 20th century. Decided to go back and listen to this one as enjoyed the rest and rate John Lee's narration very highly.

    I did find some of this story difficult to listen to; it is true to how you imagine the period of time to be, i.e. brutal and dark. Did put the audible app on high speed through some passages as they were just too dark, but on the whole found it an absorbing, interesting and twisting tale that keeps speed throughout. Even seeing it in advance did not spoil it!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Maria
    United Kingdom
    6/13/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fabulous!"

    I wasn't sure what to expect and there were some mixed reviews but I absolutely loved this audiobook. The story is intriguing. It follows the lives of some strong characters whose lives intertwine as time passes. The central theme you return to is, of course, the cathedral. It is well read and easy to listen to. Highly recommended whether you love architecture or not!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • David
    St albans, United Kingdom
    6/11/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Epic - could not stop listening"

    A fantastic medieval epic. Although lengthy, I sped through this book in no time. The characters, plot and naration are all first class, painting a vivid picture of life and death, lots of death, in the 1100s. Highly recommend this book.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • mrs
    sawtry, United Kingdom
    6/1/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "good Holiday read"

    This book was not what i thought it was going to be like. For a good holiday read just download to audible and soak up the sun whilst listening to this epic tale, relax and enjoy.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Hazel
    Busserolles, France
    4/21/13
    Overall
    "Everything interesting, Absolutely Gripping"

    Such a good read, A really good historical novel, well researched with a gripping tale of intertwined family in times of religious and political turmoil...A must read if you like things Historic!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Julia
    Burgo de Osma, Spain
    4/15/13
    Overall
    "ENGAGING TALE"

    Despite what "real" and professional critics may say, this is an egaging book. Some say characters lack depth, that plots are too easy... Ken Follet gives you what he's always done so well: entertainment, interesting and easy reading books. The plot is rich in turns, characters relate to each other, and what is best, you enjoy the reading. Altough this is a long book, you'll regret its end... some times, second parts are very welcome.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • bhavna
    Middlesex, United Kingdom
    7/9/12
    Overall
    "Very Good Book"

    Very Nice book. Good narration. wonderful book. excellent book. feeling like reading again and again

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Ms
    Southend on sea, United Kingdom
    11/2/11
    Overall
    "Robotic Reading"

    I got 5 minutes in and gave up, I couldn't listen to the reader any more. Read with very little inflection I felt it sounded very robotic and was doing nothing to bring this brilliant book to life.

    0 of 1 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.