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Archive: Other Books > Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett - 4 Stars

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message 1: by Regina Lindsey (new)

Regina Lindsey | 1005 comments Following three generation of three families in the 12th century in England during the civil war that raged between the reigns of Kings Henry I and II, pitting the cousins Stephen and Maud in a contest for the throne, the novel opens at the end of Henry I's reign and concludes 40 years later, after the murder of Archbishop Thomas Beckett. It is a time when the politics within the church is as precarious as that in the royal court and in which cathedrals symbolize power as much as the scepter.

This book has everything I would normally hate in a book beginning with a "love at first sight" scenario, harlequinesque love scenes, and an incredibly predictable plot. Yet, in the end, I couldn't put it down. This was the book Follett always wanted to write and it shows. He is adept at weaving a tale even if at times his writing seems stilted. The characters were well drawn. I particularly enjoyed the development of prior Phillip. Follett resists the temptation to create an archetype in him even though some of the other characters are. Rather than the corrupt religious leader of the community, Phillip is a flawed man who honestly believes in the tenets of his faith and strives to live in a way that reflects as much. It was just a downright enjoyable read.

However, I did get frustrated with plot elements that seemed to have no purpose other than simply delaying the story's conclusion.


message 2: by Anita (new)

Anita Pomerantz | 6305 comments I liked this one as well, but not enough to read the sequel. It was enjoyable while reading it though!


message 3: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 195 comments Anita wrote: "I liked this one as well, but not enough to read the sequel. It was enjoyable while reading it though!"
I had the same feeling, I couldn't read the sequel. I did see the second TV series however and I felt that was good enough.


message 4: by Regina Lindsey (new)

Regina Lindsey | 1005 comments I agree with you both. I have no plans to read the sequel. I've had people on me to read this forever and the Shelfagories gave me the push to read it. In the end, I'm glad I read it but I would just classify it as an enjoyable read. If we could do half stars I would say it is really a 3-1/2 for me.


message 5: by Kristel (new)

Kristel (kristelh) | 696 comments I liked this one a lot. I was inspired to read other books about cathedrals in England after reading it. I have the sequel on my shelf and my daughter always tells me I really need to read it.


message 6: by Ladyslott (new)

Ladyslott | 1880 comments I loved the book, and I couldn't believe how mcu I could love a book about building a church. I did read the sequel, but it was just ok.

HBO did a series based on the book, and it was quite good. It was the first time I saw Eddie Redmayne (Jack) and thought he was quite good in the role and remember saying to my daughter that he was going to be famous one day. And now he's up for his second Oscar after winning last year.


message 7: by Ellen (new)

Ellen | 2097 comments I didn't read the book but I agree the HBO series was well done.


message 8: by Sara (new)

Sara (mootastic1) | 770 comments Kristel wrote: "I liked this one a lot. I was inspired to read other books about cathedrals in England after reading it. I have the sequel on my shelf and my daughter always tells me I really need to read it."

I actually thought Sarum: The Novel of England was a much better epic novel about an English cathedral than Pillars, but I am in the minority regarding my opinion of this book. I have never had a desire to read more Follett, but have read several more by Rutherfurd.


message 9: by Kristel (new)

Kristel (kristelh) | 696 comments Sara wrote: "Kristel wrote: "I liked this one a lot. I was inspired to read other books about cathedrals in England after reading it. I have the sequel on my shelf and my daughter always tells me I really need ..."
I will have to check that one out. I've not read Rutherford yet.


message 10: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 195 comments I found Sarum to be a bit stark.


message 11: by Karin (last edited Feb 25, 2016 12:20PM) (new)

Karin | 6931 comments I liked Pillars of the earth; I read it when it was a Book of the Month selection the year I had a membership there.

I couldn't make it through the sequel, although I gave it a good, long try.


message 12: by JoLene (new)

JoLene (trvl2mtns) | 1532 comments I've tried to read this book twice and have never finished it. I didn't hate it, but I think I got distracted by other things. Generally, I find Follett books read-able but I bit light on the historical research.

I also saw the mini-series and remember Redmayne from that as well. Good prediction Linda! Haven't see The Danish Girl but his performance in The Theory of Everything was incredible. And he seems like such a nice person when I've seen him interviewed.


message 13: by Karin (new)

Karin | 6931 comments JoLene wrote: "I've tried to read this book twice and have never finished it. I didn't hate it, but I think I got distracted by other things. Generally, I find Follett books read-able but I bit light on the histo..."

I've only seen Redmayne in the movie of the musical Les Mis. At first I thought him a poor choice for Marius in that he didn't strike me as someone a young girl would fall in love with on site, but when the movie got to the song "Empty Chairs and Empty Tables" and I heard him sing (he can actually sing) and really saw him act, I was duly impressed. Too bad the casting choice for Cossette wasn't as good ( NOT the singer or the actress for that role).


message 14: by Regina Lindsey (new)

Regina Lindsey | 1005 comments Linda S wrote: "I loved the book, and I couldn't believe how mcu I could love a book about building a church. I did read the sequel, but it was just ok.

HBO did a series based on the book, and it was quite good. ..."


I wondered how the series turned out. I could see how it would translate nicely.


message 15: by Regina Lindsey (new)

Regina Lindsey | 1005 comments JoLene wrote: "I've tried to read this book twice and have never finished it. I didn't hate it, but I think I got distracted by other things. Generally, I find Follett books read-able but I bit light on the histo..."

I really wanted to see The Danish Girl when it was out but never got around to it. I think it is out now on iTunes. Maybe I can watch it now.


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