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Book Review : 'The Pillars of the Earth'

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User Rating 3 Star Rating (3 Reviews)


Book Review : 'The Pillars of the Earth'

Ken Follett

The Bottom Line

Thrill writer, Ken Follett, provides an intimate look into cathedral building in 12th century England, in his novel, The Pillars of the Earth. The story follows Prior Philip, a devout monk with a dream to build a great cathedral and his architect Tom along with the timeless struggle of good versus evil, ambition, lust and power.

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  • Intense story lines keep the reader wanting more.
  • Follett does a great job at setting the proper stage.
  • The book is divided into 6 manageable parts.


  • The book is 973 pages in paperback.
  • This books takes time to read - it is not one that should be read in bits and pieces.
  • The book is rather expensive because of the size - $20 for the paperback edition.


  • First published in 1989.
  • 973 pages in paperback.
  • Published by New American Library, a division of the Penguin Group.
  • Chosen by Oprah on November 14, 2007 as her 60th book club selection.

Guide Review - Book Review : 'The Pillars of the Earth'

I have to admit, I was a bit taken aback when I purchased The Pillars of the Earth. Not being an avid reader of thrill novels, I was not familiar with Ken Follett's work. However, because I am a huge follower of Oprah's Book Club and trust her judgment when it comes to recommendations, I decided to give the near 1000 page novel a try -- and to my surprise, was quickly pulled into the story of Philip and Tom, Tom and Ellen, Aliena and William.

It is evident through the novel, and researching Ken Follett's inspiration for writing a book out of his typical genre, that he has a tremendous love for the historic English cathedrals and the stories behind their erection. Follett does an amazing job of both presenting a realistic picture of the period and connecting the characters so closely, that the 2 threads are interwoven, instead of one outshining the other.

The imagery he portrays, even in the opening paragraph:

The small boys came early to the hanging. It was still dark when the first three or four of them sidled out of the hovels, quiet as cats in their felt boots. A thin layer of fresh snow covered the little town like a new coat of paint, and theirs were the first footprints to blemish its perfect surface.
makes this novel one that is hard to put down.

When Oprah selected The Pillars of the Earth she shared that "It's such a great read. It's like nothing I would ever read or had ever read before...I got to 800 pages and I slowed myself down because I didn't want it to end."

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  5. The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett - Book Review of The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett - An Oprah's Book Club Selection

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