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The Pillars of the Earth

Narrated by: Richard E. Grant
Series: The Kingsbridge Novels, Book 1
Length: 10 hrs and 3 mins
Categories: Fiction, Historical
4.5 out of 5 stars (474 ratings)

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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

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Spellbinding but Unabridged?

First, the narrator Richard E. Grant is about as good as they get. For me that's a determining factor in purchasing a printed copy or audiobook. Pillars is a refreshing change from most historical novels, you'll be hanging on every word about life in the Middle Ages! Follett weaves humanity into his story and keeps us wondering what will happen next. I did not realize I had purchased the abridged version until I was near the end and wanted more! When I purchased the sequel, I realized what I had done. Now I'm wondering whether I missed something by not hearing the unabridged version or if I only liked it this much BECAUSE it was abridged. Either way, this version is wonderful. (If someone heard both versions, please write a review).

28 of 28 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Olivia
  • Athens, GA, USA
  • 01-28-08

Get the Unabridged

Great Book - but I missed a lot with the abridged - at times it felt as though the story would end at a chapter and then pick up many, many chapters later - a little disjointed. I listened to the unabridged version of the sequel and it was so much better. I would definitely not recommend this abridged version. Think about it - you are missing 28 hours worth of text. So you're not missing just description - you're actually missing a lot of the plot.

47 of 49 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Powerfull Story - 10 hour version

This is a quality story about people. Struggle, intrigue, politics, character - it has it all. One of Follet's best.
Not religious. I recommend it - you will not want to turn your car off.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Time Warped Me to Another World

I was somewhat skeptical after reading some reviews but my wife encouraged me tho give it a try. Absolutely loved it.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jennifer
  • New York, NY, United States
  • 07-31-10

Richard E. Grant is a Great Storyteller

Yes, Ken Follett wrote the novel but Richard E. Grant is the one who tells the story and he does so marvelously well, bringing characters and scenes to life in such an engaging way. He rivals the reader of the Harry Potter books for his ability to give each character their own voices. I could hardly bring myself to turn the novel off!

Am now off to look for the other books read by Richard E. Grant.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

My first audio book!!

Couldn't have picked a better first or enjoyed it more! I am totally hooked on audio books now, and recommend this one to anyone who likes a bit of history in their fiction. Quickest 10 hours I've ever spent

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Well read and written book

The story flowed well and captured my interest. the reader was wonderful and did an excellent job creating different voices for the various characters.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Dubi
  • New York, NY
  • 07-24-19

Severely Abridged

I didn't realize until I finished this audiobook that it is abridged -- severely abridged, by about 70%. I kept feeling like I was missing out on things as I listened, kept going back to see what I missed, but it wasn't there. Of course -- and this is obviously my own fault for misreading the description -- that's because it is so highly abridged.

The book is still awesome in every other way -- I will be getting the unabridged version and listening to it all. I believe that the parts that were cut out are primarily the history of the era, details of daily life in the 12th century, and the back stories of some of the characters. Not coincidentally, the exact areas that I am most interested in -- the main plot itself, which is all that left, is not really the primary draw in this book.

So if you want a quick listen to get a flavor for 12th century England, this is for you. If want the full immersive experience, get the unabridged version

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great Book. Really Sad tho.

Any additional comments?

It takes a while to get into this audiobook. It starts off really sad. In the middle it's really sad. Even near the end it's sad. But it's still a good book. Once I felt invested in the characters I really enjoyed it. Great plot twist and amazing description of architecture.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

I loved it!

I had read this book many years ago, but the Audible version is possibly even better.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful