The Pillars of the Earth follows the lives of Tom Builder & his family, Lady Aliena, Prior Philip, Jack Jackson, William Hamleigh & many others in Medeival England. You witness Civil War, heartless Earls, corrupt bishops, famine, the building of a cathedral, endurance, renewed hope, & love.
Even though I'd heard how amazing this book was, I always pushed it aside for something else, partly because I wasn't sure I cared to read about the building of a cathedral, but even more so because of its near 1,000 pages (32 discs on audio!). This book was going to be a commitment! But man, am I glad I took the time for this big boy. This book pulled me in dramatically from the very start. Follett's ability to bring the characters to life was incredible! I came to a point in the book (a couple points, really) when I felt like I'd been punched in the gut & actually mourned for the characters. At other times, I laughed out loud & rejoiced with them. It shocked me to feel so involved in their fictional lives!
This book alternated between different narrators. In some books this is frustrating b/c certain characters' stories are never as interesting as others'. I didn't find that to be the case in Pillars. I would get so involved with one narration, & then it would switch to another's perspective. I would hate seeing some narrations end, but would quickly get caught up in the new one. There was hardly an uninteresting moment throughout the book. The story completely captivated me!
I also appreciated the research Follett did in writing this, not only about that time in history, the culture, land, laws, . . . but also the actual construction of the cathedral. I found it fascinating!
This is one of the best written books I've read, & I consider it a new favorite. I highly recommend it!
"Having faith in God did not mean sitting back and doing nothing. It meant believing you would find success if you did your best honestly and energetically."
~ Ken Follett, The Pillars of the Earth