“After today, he thought, the world will never be quite the same.”
Originally published in 1989, The Pillars of the Earth written by Ken Follett has everything that a reader could ask for in a novel within its pages! Whilst it might not be the lightest of reads, what with its 1076 pages, Follett’s historical tale is a definite page turner that will have readers unable to put the book down!
The first in the Kingsbridge novel series, The Pillars of the Earth takes readers on a journey back in time to twelfth-century England in a six part telling of the building of the Kingsbridge Cathedral during a time of civil war. The novel itself begins with the hanging of a man who has been convicted of thievery and a curse being placed upon his condemners by his pregnant lover. From then, the plot only thickens as the search for the truth behind the ship which sank leaving the King without an heir begins, the secrets that the condemned man put to death are revealed and the lengths that people will go to for power are shown in this rollercoaster of a journey which readers will embark upon.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of The Pillars of the Earth are the themes which Follett incorporates into the telling of this story. The importance and hindrance of family bonds, loyalty, betrayal, love, and exploring the concepts of death and religion are all themes which are explored within this book’s pages. As well as the multiple themes, the narrative follows multiple characters such as Tom the Builder and his family, Prior Phillip, Jack Jackson and his mother Ellen, Aliena, and more. Each of these characters aid in bringing added depth to the story and what makes The Pillars of the Earth such an intriguing reach is not only reading about these individual characters and their tribulations but how they interact with each other and what becomes of the bonds which they form and the betrayals they face.
With the combination of the plot and the characters of Follett’s creation, The Pillars of the Earth is perhaps one of the best historical fiction novels to date. However, with that being said, if the novel seems too lengthy for you to find the time to get into then why not try listening to the audiobook (available on Audible) or giving the TV adaptation a watch, as it stars Fantastic Beasts‘s Eddie Redmayne and Agent Carter‘s Hayley Atwell! Why not give the trailer a watching by clicking here to view it on YouTube!
Additionally, please note that if you too have been intrigued and plan on reading The Pillars of the Earth for yourself, a word of caution must be advised. Graphic depictions of violence, sex scenes, rape, incest, and the effects of war, are all potentially triggering topics which do feature within the plot. So please take this into consideration before delving into the novel.