The Pillars of the Earth

Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Ken Follett

I was drawn to this book by the cool architectural drawing on the front cover and the fact that it was historical fiction—a genre that I love but had not read in a while. The story is set in the early eleven hundreds in England and centered on the conflicts between kings and the hierarchy of Catholic Church. The main character was Tom Builder, a skilled mason whose vision and dream was to build a grand cathedral. The book focuses on the strife and conflicts of his family and the influence of the leader of the town’s monastery. The author skillfully wove in a wide variety of characters including kings, bishops, knights, monks, earls, peasants and several generations of a common family over the course of the novel. I loved how the author bridged the gap between the classes through love stories, corruption and power struggles. Aside from excessive violent acts between men and women and gruesome battle casualty details, the book was interesting and led me to an appreciation of the era. I feel the author assumed the reader had knowledge of that time period (which I did not), so topics such as the organization of English rule and the Catholic Church, I felt, could have been better explained. On a side note, this book has been made into a mini-series that is being shown the Starz (cable channel) this week! Perfect timing!

Donna L., Administration

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