21 March, 2014

Book Review - Pillars of the Earth

From Goodreads:The spellbinding epic set in twelfth-century England, The Pillars of the Earth tells the story of the lives entwined in the building of the greatest Gothic cathedral the world has ever known—and a struggle between good and evil that will turn church against state, and brother against brother.

Thoughts: Hmmm, that Goodreads description isn't much for a book that runs to almost 1000 pages! The Pillars of the Earth tells the tale of Tom Builder and his family, Prior Philip, a monk who commissions Tom to build a cathedral and Aliena, daughter of a deposed Earl who has promised her father to return her brother to his rightful place. The lives of these people and their family, friends and enemies intertwine, their lives going through highs and lows as King Stephen and Maud fight over the throne.
I loved this.  A bit of history, a bit of intrigue, a bit of evil, a bit of good, a bit of romance - everything needed to make a good epic story. It was well written and the characters multi dimensional and believable. As one review I read said
"None of them were 100% good or bad, just like in real life. Some priests were holy, others evil; some were rich people with big hearts, others with small minds and evil intentions; some poor farmers were judgemental, w/narrow-minded attitudes, others opened their doors to strangers." (DeLaina on Goodreads)(In fact her whole review of the book is excellent - highly recommend it!)
I would recommend this to anyone who loves a good epic story - yes it's long, but it's not a difficult read. Follett keeps the action moving along quite nicely and just when you wish he would stop rabbiting on about how to build a cathedral, he does! Personally it's given me a bit of desire to go back and re-read some of Sharon Kay Penman's excellent historical fiction.