The Pillars of the Earth

 interior drawings of a 12th century cathedral form dust jacket backgroundKen Follett, who set his three previous bestsellers during World War II, sets The Pillars of the Earth in medieval England.

The novel opens with the hanging of an innocent man. Watching in horror, a pregnant 15-year-old girl curses the monk, the priest, and the knights who hanged him.

Before Follett reveals the significance of that event, he spins a fascinating tale about centered around two men and two women.  One is master builder and an artist in stone; both want to build beautiful cathedrals.  One of the two women is a beautiful noblewoman, the other an outcast living in the forest.

Twelfth century England was not a pleasant place in which to live. For a half century, the country suffered as competitors vied for the throne.

Towns were burned, crops destroyed, women raped, people slaughtered, survivors forced into penury and starvation.

The clergy sought to protect their rights regardless of who won the throne, sometimes resorting to less than charitable means of promoting their claims.

The story is intricately plotted, fast-paced, and absolutely riveting.

Follet’s story ends with a king settled on the throne and the martyrdom of Thomas á Becket ensuring the church will remain a force in English politics for years to come.

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
Morrow. ©1989. 973 p.
1989 bestseller #8; my grade: A

©2019 Linda G. Aragoni

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Linda Aragoni

I make big ideas simple for learners. My program for turning teens and adults into competent writers is just eight sentences, 34 words.

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