Sedi Sedehi's Reviews > The Pillars of the Earth

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
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Feb 11, 10

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Read in January, 2010

Author: Ken Follett

Easy read, even though it is long. It is a good fiction book--not great.

This is a book dated in 12th century England depicting the life of various characters and how their fate brings them together. The book describes the life and ambitions of Prior Philip, a priest, who wants to build and run a cathedral; a mason, Tom, that aspires to become a master builder and architect the cathedral; Aliena, a daughter of an earl that makes a vow to her dying father that she will ensure her brother regains the earldom(the earl gets overthrown). There are also various other main characters ranging from nobles that try and overthrow the Earl (successfully), clerics, and knights.

What I liked:
I appreciated the politics that Follett depicts in his book; ranging from the politics to becoming Prior of a church, and trying to get funds to build a cathedral, to knights switching allegiances based on battles. He uses the normal ends (power, money) to illustrate how humans will do anything to justify the means. The authors description of the cities, villages and buildings of 12th century England was well done. It was easy to imagine what the surrounding were like, and how people lived during that time; bathing once every so often, how famine affected the villages, etc. The various character subplots were interesting, and how it eventually came together.

What I didn't like:
There is not a lot of depth to the character development outside of a couple of the protagonists. You get a good feeling of how Philip became a Prior, or how Aliena became the person she is, but none of the other characters were developed. They were either evil or good. The sex "scenes" were too over the top--gang rape, etc.

Recommended read. My summary doesn't do the book justice, but it is my attempt at 973 page read.

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