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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.

Critic Reviews

"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 Ratings

Overall

  • 4.6 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    14,789
  • 4 Stars
    4,276
  • 3 Stars
    1,182
  • 2 Stars
    395
  • 1 Stars
    350

Performance

  • 4.7 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    10,155
  • 4 Stars
    2,039
  • 3 Stars
    392
  • 2 Stars
    92
  • 1 Stars
    101

Story

  • 4.6 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    9,378
  • 4 Stars
    2,410
  • 3 Stars
    657
  • 2 Stars
    205
  • 1 Stars
    179
Sort by:
  • Overall

Wonderful visit

Follett gives us a wonderful visit in a most interesting period of history. It's long, captivating, entertaining - and leaves us wanting more. Loved it.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Tony B.
  • Shelburne, VT USA
  • 05-03-08

A Stunning Achievement

Without qualification, this is one of the best books I have ever experienced. There were moments during the reading of this book when I was moved to near tears. The sheer sweep of this novel, spanning a lifetime full of events and characters, is its greatest asset in my view. It is incredibly realistic and believable; the fact that the good guy doesn't always win or even seem to be winning lead to moments of despair that make the eventual outcome satisfying.

I downloaded this book in the fanfare surrounding the recent publication of the sequel, "World Without End". For certain I will download the sequel as well, after I've fully enjoyed the resolution of this story in my own mind.

The reader of this story was excellent. To complete 40-some hours of reading without other voices or musical accompanyment, all the while maintaining a very good quality and ease of listening, is commendable.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Well Done

This is the first fiction book I have ever listened to and it was amazing. What an exciting story with real life principles. This book will make you appreciate how good we have it as well as understand the underlying needs and motivation of human nature. Be prepared for a long journey, but well worth it.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Jack
  • Sandwich, MA, USA
  • 04-26-08

Follett did well!

GO FOR IT!

Its long, but it'll keep your attention.

If not anything else -- you'll learn a bunch about 12th-Century England and with that might earn yourself some CEUs(Continue Education Units) in Structural Engineering...









1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Enjoyable epic

The characters in this epic become familiar friends and foes to accompany the listener on the road. Very enjoyable.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Better than I could have imagined

I never thought a book running 40+ hours in length could hold my attention for the entire time. But I was pleasantly surprised that Pillars did just that. It was a fascinating "read" and I was amazed at how each new character interested me as much or more than the one before. I was entertained and, at the same time, educated about Early England and I found myself Googling people, places and events after the book was finished. I highly recommend Pillars as both the the author and narrator are truly gifted.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Harold
  • Moraga, CA, USA
  • 04-18-08

phenomenal

Relive the history of twelfth century England. Be patient and the descriptive opens up to worlds of complex, and simple beings, in a time of history when life was both beautifully simple, yet ignorantly cruel. Wonderfully written by Ken Follett and brilliantly narrated by John Lee. Without a doubt, one of the contemporary masterpieces of our time.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Ryan
  • Volo, IL, USA
  • 04-17-08

excellent

Loved this book and the guy who read it. Just amazing. Im not good at writing these reviews, but I wanted to tell everyone that this book is excellent from top to bottom.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Never a dull moment

I am currently starting part 4 of this book, and I never want it to end. For anyone who thinks it would be boring to listen to a book about the building of cathedrals, I highly recommend giving this powerful book a try...you won't be sorry!

  • Overall

Ugh!

This was the worst book I ever read/listened to! I couldn't bring myself to endure more than 2 hours, it was like Deliverance meets The Name of the Rose. I was physically nauseated after 2 hours. I can not fathom the allure of this book, I feel it was sorely misrepresented by it's rave reviews; I wish I could purge it from my memory! Please consider yourself warned, good luck making a better selection.

3 of 6 people found this review helpful