Book Review: The Pillars of the Earth – Ken Follett


Set in the turbulent times of twelfth-century England when civil war, famine, religious strife and battles over royal succession tore lives and families apart, The Pillars of the Earth tells the story of the building of a magnificent cathedral.

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett is a historical novel set in 12th century England. It follows the lives of various characters as they are involved in the building of Kingsbridge Cathedral. The novel spans many years, beginning with the construction and ends with the completion of the building. This is the first historical novel by Ken Follett, who is otherwise knows for his books in the thriller genre.

The story is told through the viewpoint of all the main characters and the reader can get easily confused if they do not concentrate on the book. Once you get engrossed you will feel like you are a part of the book. You see Kingsbridge grow around you, you feel the pain and suffering of the characters. He writes so beautifully, and in such detail that you fall in love with the cathedral. You can close your eyes and see the minutest details, the carvings on the walls, the glow of the sun shining through the large windows.

A look at some of the main characters:

1) Prior Philip – Prior Philip is the prior of Kingsbridge Cathedral. He is a strong God fearing man who wants to build up Kingsbridge to it’s former glory.

2) Tom Builder – Tom is the Master Builder who takes up the responsibility to build the cathedral under Prior Philip.

3) Jack Jackson – The stepson of Tom Builder, He takes over the construction after his step father.

There are a host of other characters, both main and supporting. Each with their own personality and their own involvement in the building of the cathedral.

Coming to the appearance of the novel, my edition is gold on black with the illustration of the cathedral in gold. This grabs the attention of the buyer when you surf through books in the book store. The Pillars of the Earth has a total of 1076 pages excluding the introduction. This isn’t a book you can rush through. It took me three weeks to finish the entire novel.

I wouldn’t recommend this as a first book for somebody who wants to start reading as it may be too heavy for them. But if you are an avid reader, then go ahead!!! This is an amazing book and it is sure to keep you intrigued till the end.

After some research, I found that this book has a miniseries and a board game that is based on the book. The first chapter of the sequel “World without End” is also included at the end of the book. I definitely know which book I want next.


2 thoughts on “Book Review: The Pillars of the Earth – Ken Follett

  1. This book is certainly one of the best in historical fiction genre. Ken follett has done an amazong job here. This gripping page turner produces some maginificient scenes.
    Though sometimes, he went carried out with the description of cathedral but thats okay as long as it is in line with the story.

    Do watch the mini series if you haven’t . It is brilliantly portrayed and entertaining too.
    Happy reading 🙂

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