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Ken Follett: The Pillars Of The Earth

Ice

New Member
September 2005 Book of the Month:

Book Description from Amazon.co.uk

A story of passion and idealism, which describes a group of men and women in the Middle Ages whose destinies are fatefully linked with the building of a cathedral. In a country torn by civil war, two generations struggle to rise above their primitive circumstances and create something beautiful.
 

sanyuja

New Member
I read this book long long back. All I can remember about this book is that it was too lengthy and I did not like it. I liked Follet's other books, but this is my least favourite book of his.
 

Gem

kickbox
Really Sanyuja? - I read this book when i was fifteen and completely fell in love with it. I enjoy all of Folletts work, and whilst this one may not have the suspense of his others it contains poignancy,anticipation and great characters that were at least to me so well fleshed out that I could see them so clearly in my mind.
 

Kaz

New Member
I agree with Sanyuja, I found this book ok, one thing is annoyed me with length of this book which I find to read it for ages. I am not interesting in how they building the church. But I enjoyed the adventures in it.
 

Rogue

New Member
I think The Pillars of Earth is one of the most tedious books I've read so far.

The length is really annoying and the plot is just ridiculous. As I've said before reading this book is like watching a medieval soap opera. It is so stuffed with cliches, that it becomes pretty predictable. There's the unrequited/ forbidden love theme, the "father - son - adopted son" conflict, the lost son drama etc. ...

But the thing that most repells me in this pathetic piece of fiction, is the submissive portrayal of women. No matter how well they start, they always turn out to be unbelievable weak and man-dependent in the end. Furthermore there are quiet a lot of unnecessary elaborate rape scenes.

I really thought that the girl with the knight brother would be the one female heroine in the story, but after leading a sucessfull enterprise she thinks it is her duty to marry a guy she hates so that her spoiled little brother can buy a shiny new horse.
Are you kidding me? No character could be so damned inconsistend that this would fit.

The daughter of the guy who builds the cathedral just vanished from the storyline and gets only mentioned a couple of times, although she still lives with the family.
The last plot turn with the red-haired lover of the "witch" gets prolonged for over a 1000 pages and really in the end my senses were so dulled that I really didn't care about it any more. For sure it was a dissapointment and didn't turn out to be the thing which justified finishing this book.

The moment the "witch" first appears you know that the wife has to die and fortunately she gets to it pretty quick. When they left the baby you knew that it would be found and saved.

In my opinion The Pillars of Earth sets a new all time low standard for bad fiction.
 

Gem

kickbox
wow Rogue you seem pretty solid in your dislike for the book. Before I address your comments I think i'd better pull out my copy and have a quick read through so that I can back my love for the book a little more vehemently :D
 

lies

New Member
ions said:
Oh, that´s good to know.

I read Pillars when I was 14 and while I don´t remember every little thing about this book, I remember I really liked it. Maybe I should read it again and see how it holds up now.
 

Ronny

Well-Known Member
This book is a bit harder to get my hands on than I thought. It looks as if I may have to buy it (at almost full price) if I want to read it.
 

ions

New Member
I had been trying to track it down for a couple months used but ended up giving in and buying it new just before September started. Finished the book in the wee hours this morning.
 

Tamsine

New Member
Pillars of the earth

I started reading it two days ago and I must say I am disppointed. I had heard so much about it and it regularly is listed among the most popular books of all times. It is OK, but not as enthralling as I expected. :confused: Well, to be honest, I've only read 120 Pages so far, so may be it is a bit early to give an opinion.
 

igbomb

New Member
Tamsine said:
I started reading it two days ago and I must say I am disppointed. I had heard so much about it and it regularly is listed among the most popular books of all times. It is OK, but not as enthralling as I expected. :confused: Well, to be honest, I've only read 120 Pages so far, so may be it is a bit early to give an opinion.

The first time I started reading it, I lost interest at about the same place you are at and started reading something else. Then I picked it up again in September and started from the beginning. Boy am I glad I did. I read through it in a few days and absolutely loved the book. Just stick with it, it gets a lot better. :)
 

Shade

New Member
I've been following this discussion because I know little about Ken Follett other than (a) his wife Barbara is a Labour MP in the UK, and (b) I once read an interview with him where he bemoaned the fact that he never gets considered for serious literary prizes.

So far it seems the only person who has posted detailed thoughts on the book hated it! Anyone want to disagree with Rogue and give reasons?
 

Stewart

Active Member
Shade said:
I know little about Ken Follett

Same here. You can get a sample of this book on the US Amazon here with the Search Inside feature. Not missing much, to be honest.

I once read an interview with him where he bemoaned the fact that he never gets considered for serious literary prizes.

That reminds me of the observation made earlier on this forum about Matthew Reilly moaning in his blog that he wasn't considered on a Young n Australian Novellist Award (or whatever it was) because his books weren't poetic, as if poetic language is what makes a work worthy of an award. No Matthew, you didn't get considered because your books are throwaway crap that say nothing other than that you have attention deficit disorder and no English skills.
 

Tamsine

New Member
igbomb said:
The first time I started reading it, I lost interest at about the same place you are at and started reading something else. Then I picked it up again in September and started from the beginning. Boy am I glad I did. I read through it in a few days and absolutely loved the book. Just stick with it, it gets a lot better. :)
Thank you for the advice. I hate giving up a book, anyway, and do that only if I truly hate it.
 

ions

New Member
I liked the book. Contrary to Rogue I found the characters actions believable except for one sex scene. Just seemed rushed. He could have drawn out the tension a little better and not rushed the plot.

I'm talking about the scene where Tom Builder and the chick screw the morning after Tom Builder's wife kicks the bucket. Too much too soon. Yeah they're intense in their feelings but c'mon. The man just finished throwing dirt on his dead wife and abandoned the child she died squirting out. Yeah, sounds like the perfect time for a quick romp with a stranger.

Prose was decent and easy. Not overly pretty but simple, clean and fast reading. The research put into it seemed accurate to my limited knowledge. I cared about the characters enough to stay interested all through the 900+ pages. My biggest complaint was that there was some repetition that I could have done without. Was like he was providing recaps in case I hadn't picked up the book for weeks between chapters. Unless you were likely to find the plot and setting interesting I wouldn't recommend it heartedly. No matter how much Follet complains that book shouldn't be up for literary rewards. It's good, but not award winning good.
 

pontalba

Well-Known Member
ions said:
While we're on the topic of this book I thought I would post this:



Found here.

Thanks so much for posting that link! I read Pillars many years ago, and actually re-read it for this discussion..........then Hurricane Katrina put out our lights, and the phone. See what happens when I actually Plan for a discussion! :eek:

Just got our phone service back day before yesterday. But we are among the more fortunate. Really. We were too far north to get flooded.

BTW, Pillars is one of my favorite of Follett's, along with Eye of the Needle.:)
 

angelmav

New Member
I enjoyed this book immensely, in fact I joined this forum because I was searching further information on this book and it led me here. Before I give my opinion let me preface my comments by saying I love the old cathedrals and it is one of my favorite things to explore (I am stationed in Germany so it gives me ample opporunity). That said I just completd the book and was captivated from start to finish. The images he creates are believable and draw you in, the characters seem real and considering the time period I feel he pushed the limits as far as making them both dynamic and believable. Again I see where some comment on the role of wome being sunserviant (well for the time they were) but he also makes them major players and equals, Aliena in fact is a character who is not only a better businessperson than the other male characters, she is a much more capable leader. The fact that woman were vulnarable is simple an accuracy of the period. The villans are not only well drawn, but he shows how they come to make their choices and what leads them down their own paths, again a rich tapestry that he has created that I dont feel some of the reviewers here have done justice. Its a very long read if your up for it and perhaps covers some aspects of the building process with a bit too much tediousness but in all I found it to be a great read and will read it again in the future.
 

pontalba

Well-Known Member
Its been several months since I read "Pillars" (for the 2nd time) so the details are again fading, but I did not find the architectural detail tedious at all! The whys and hows of building have always facinated me, so I appreciated that as a necessary thread of the story. The book was also historically correct as far as I am aware.

I am happy that a sequel is in the works as well!
 
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