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The Pillars of the Earth

Average Rating 4.5
( 2583 )
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(1642)

4 Star

(515)

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(229)

2 Star

(83)

1 Star

(114)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

45 out of 49 people found this review helpful.

An unforgiving, and at times brutal saga, of how the construction of a cathedral hinges on the lust, greed and ambitions of Kingsbridge people and the church, intermingled with the battle for the British throne.

Follett takes his readers on a surprising journey, exploring life in the 12th century village of Kingsbridge, a sleepy little town with a rundown church, an unimportant priory. Once the church burns to the ground, Kingsbridge becomes the unlikely stage for power struggl...
Follett takes his readers on a surprising journey, exploring life in the 12th century village of Kingsbridge, a sleepy little town with a rundown church, an unimportant priory. Once the church burns to the ground, Kingsbridge becomes the unlikely stage for power struggles between church and state, the church's internal battles, and a civil war to determine England's new monarch. The lives of the characters buoy helplessly upon the waves of these sweeping changes and conflicts, each one overcome with their own quests for survival. At the crux of it all is each character's desire either to build, or to frustrate the building of the Kingsbridge Cathedral. Follett's stuns his readers with what the characters are willing to do, to endure and to overcome in their race to manifest their own relentless ambitions, at any cost.

posted by LaRose2010 on June 24, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

33 out of 76 people found this review helpful.

Didnt' even finish

The book started well enough, but deeper into it, the narrative lapsed into a cycle of senseless brutality and sex that, as far as I could see, didn't do much to advance the story. If the story got better, I'll never know. While I understand the period was full of viole...
The book started well enough, but deeper into it, the narrative lapsed into a cycle of senseless brutality and sex that, as far as I could see, didn't do much to advance the story. If the story got better, I'll never know. While I understand the period was full of violence, I don't think I need to be beaten over the head with it page after page. I got the feeling the author was living out some kind of alternate life: vicarious violence? Not at all interested in the sequel.

posted by JSB_NWI on March 4, 2009

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  • Posted March 4, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Didnt' even finish

    The book started well enough, but deeper into it, the narrative lapsed into a cycle of senseless brutality and sex that, as far as I could see, didn't do much to advance the story. If the story got better, I'll never know. While I understand the period was full of violence, I don't think I need to be beaten over the head with it page after page. I got the feeling the author was living out some kind of alternate life: vicarious violence? Not at all interested in the sequel.

    33 out of 76 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2009

    It just wasn't very good.

    After having read the reviews, I thought the book wouldn't be that bad. Unfortunately, it was bad. Maybe for the people that don't read much it might have been an enjoyable book. But for the rest of us, it sucked. One of the biggest peeves I had, dealt with how the author threw in modern language and sayings into a historical novel. Obviously, the language couldn't have been historically accurate all the time but the author could have done a better job. At one point early in the book, one of the main male characters finds a woman to be attractive and says that she is "HOT." Um... What? Isn't this supposed to be set in the 12th century? Also, like another reviewer wrote, "...only a simpleton would write conflict after implausible conflict punctuated by detailed descriptions of cathedral making." After having read works from David McCullough and James Bradley, I found that this author just doesn't know what he is doing.

    22 out of 55 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 15, 2008

    Uninspired schlocky crap

    Only the casual reader could like this book. If you are truly an avid reader, and have progressed beyond Dean Koontz and James Patterson, you will recognize what a hack Follet is. His horrid prose is only rivaled by his amateurish storytelling abilities; only a simpleton would write conflict after implausible conflict punctuated by detailed descriptions of cathedral making. This book is patently ridiculous and I can't believe there is such a wellspring of support for it. Just proof positive that our nation is barely literate.

    10 out of 36 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 29, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Lame!!! Very bad book!!

    It's not worth the time. It's very long, the characters are stupidly predictable: the bad are evil persons without heart, the good are saints. The story is repetitive and the language is poor. I can't understand why many people like it, you can't identify with any of the characters; a good author would've make a better story in 500 pages instead of the boring 1300 pages of this book.

    7 out of 34 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2008

    * What an Aggravation

    At first I was just bored with this book, but the more I read, the more aggravated I became. The plot was simple and the characters were simple, simply stereotypical. I learned more about how to level a stone in building a cathedral than how real human beings act and think. Most of the scenes about sex and violence were gratuitous and vulgar. The characters were about as well developed as cartoons. After 456 pages of torture, I finally threw the book down and cheered at my release. What a waste of time!

    6 out of 29 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2008

    Shocked that people think this is great!

    This book was like reading a bad soap opera. It was predictable and trashy. I just don't get it......

    6 out of 25 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2008

    sophmoric

    I had to read this book for book club...what a yawner. No character development, no evocative description. It was all plot: and then this happened and then this happened and then this happened. As another member of my book club said, 'it was like trying to cross a river in cement shoes.'

    5 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2008

    Poorly Written Soap Opera!

    I read this book for a book club. This book is like a very poorly written soap opera. The obvious is restated repeatedly, insulting the reader's memory and intelligence. Several of the character's dialogue is frequently unbelievable and 'out of character' in order to explain something. I am very glad I checked this book out of the Library instead of purchasing. Our book club has chosen the next book as well, but I'll be skipping that one!

    3 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2008

    Pillars of the Earth

    This was a painful read for me. I am a believer in finishing a book, once started, however, this was quite possibly the most over-rated novel I have read to date. The vulgarity and constant degradation of women and children, consistent, throughout the book, made me want to shudder. No wait...DID make me shudder. I have no desire to read Mr. Follet's sequel, nor would I recommend this book to anyone. My bad, for picking up yet another book of Oprah's choice. No doubt, there are those who love and WILL love this book...I, am not one of them.

    3 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2008

    Pillars of the Earth

    Unforgettable? Why? When I first picked this book up, I put it down several times. Right at the offset, with the brutal beating of the five year old daughter 'Martha', I had a bad taste in my mouth. My girlfriend urged me on, promised that it would be the best book I have ever read. Well, the more I read, the more offended I became. The lewd and vulgar images that played across my mind with the most minute of details described, with almost a base pleasure left me wanting to vomit. I do not find that the repeated rape of women, the torture of babies, and the continuous repeating of these incidents by one if not other characters, the least bit entertaining. It almost makes me believe that the writer is playing out his most disgusting fantasies on page after page. The premise of the book is outright boring. The technical terms with describing the building of a cathedral for years on end. The constant let-downs. Page after page after page. This book was just plain torturous. I can not and will not recommend it. So, Unforgettable? yes, because those same images that were splayed across those pages, continue to play across my mind. His opinion of women and children must not be very high. Disgusting novel.

    3 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2008

    Wayyy Overrated

    I read this book on a reccomendation from multipal people and was disappoitned in their lack of taste in books. It was written in a very simple fashion that just goes on and on for near 1000 pages. I wanted to push all but a couple of the characters off a cliff, they were so unlikeable. The whole premise of this book is dull, a guy wants to build a cathederal and finally gets the opportunity to. Wow, fascinating 'note the sarcasm' I can usually finish a 1000 page book in a few days, this took my a few months because I kept having to put it down. Do yourself a favor and read something good. aka, not this.

    3 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 1, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    ugh

    I hated this book. Although, in all fairness, I only read 100 pages. I could not bring myself to go any further. The language is juvenile, the story not even believable. Set in the 12th century...hah! Not convincing by any means. I'm really surprised by all the praise.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 2, 2010

    Not worth reading

    I ordered this book after reading Edward Rutherfurd's "Sarum" because I was looking for another book on cathedral building in the Middle Ages. Sarum was inspiring and awesome; Pillars was not. Pillars was crude, unimaginative and somewhat repulsive. Perhaps the author should stick to thrillers. Don't waste time on this novel if you are looking for good literature that you can read again and again.

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 6, 2011

    Highly DO NOT recommend

    The description of this book does not represent the actual book. I love architecture and history so the idea of this book was very appealing, along with the great reviews. However, the rhetoric is subpar (a fifth-grader could have easily written this book) and I felt as I was reading a trashy romance novel netted with a humdrum adventure book. Don't waste your time and money.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 5, 2010

    Ugh

    I couldn't finish it! The writing is awful. The dialogue is lacking in maturity. I read until about pg 200 waiting for it to get better and I finally had enough of the characters!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2008

    Written for the movies

    Since this is the next book our book club will be discussing, I purchased and read it. Historical fiction is my favorite genre, but this was too heavy in the fiction. It has a fast paced storyline and not much else. The characters are barely developed and other than the murder of Thomas a Becket, there isn't much connection to real people. According to the author's web site, Kingsbridge doesn't exist and is a composite of Wells and Salisbury. We recently read Labyrinth by Mosse and the Historian by Kostova, and in my opinion, they are better examples of historical fiction.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2007

    Not his best!

    For the life of me I can't see what all the hype is about! I read this book when it first came out several years ago and found it dull, vulgar and overly long. With all his better works to choose from, I can't believe this was the one re-released!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2014

    Terrible story and writing

    I cannot believe anyone could get through this book. I tried to get interested in the story in the 200 pages I read and had to give up on reading the book because it did not hold my interest at all. The characters are not written well, their actions are not believable, the events are ridiculous, and the descriptive prose is terrible. A huge waste of time and money.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2013

    Horible

    Horible

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2013

    Ashstar

    So poop poo

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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