The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
WARNING: THERE WILL PROBABLY BE SOME SPOILERS HERE. NOTHING TOO TELLING, BUT I THINK THE BOOK IS MORE EXCITING IF YOU START IT KNOWING ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.
This was a fantastic book. It had completely intriguing characters, and I couldn’t put it down. It’s hard to talk about this book without giving anything away… my best recommendation would be to just stop here and go read it, because it’s best when you know absolutely nothing about the book or characters before starting. The blurb on the book is vague for a reason.
Anyways, RIGHT HERE is where I’m throwing all caution to the wind and saying whatever comes to mind about the book. If you want something more spoiler-free, check Goodreads.
Tom is a master builder (and father) who dreams of one day building a cathedral.
Philip is a righteous monk who becomes prior of the Kingsbridge monastery, and just by doing so creates jealous enemies, namely Bishop Waleran.
Aliena is the daughter of a disgraced earl, and she also happened to turn down a young gentryman named William. She makes a vow to restore her brother, Richard, to earldom.
Jack is the child of Ellen, and they lived in the forest until she decides he needs to socialize more. Jack is incredibly intelligent, and good-hearted.
William is the gentryman who is obsessed with Aliena – can’t decide if he loves or hates her. Him and his family are ambitious creeps, and he is a horrible sadist.
Alfred is Tom’s son, who also loves Aliena. Alfred hates Jack because Jack’s smarter than he is.
Those are really the main players… their individual stories and how they all become intertwined because of the cathedral being built in Kingsbridge is engrossing. It’s very much a story about good versus evil, justice, love, religion, etc. The architecture talk got a little boring here and there, but it’s easy to just skim those paragraphs. I found myself rooting for my favorites and loathing the corrupt ones – if you’re a Harry Potter fan, imagine how much you hated Umbridge and multiply that by ten or fifteen and that’s how much I couldn’t stand the evil characters.
It’s too hard to say much more else – part of the reason this is considered an “epic” book is because of how many players and how intricate it is. The fact that it’s also almost 1000 pages long helps too :o)
Go read it. Really. The 1100’s may sound boring to you, but this was a fascinating world that sucked me right in. I couldn’t stop reading, and not even 4 hours after I finished it, I went and picked up the sequel, World Without End.
4.75 out of 5 stars