So far all the books I’ve written about and/or have recommended have been in the genre of spiritual or self-help. Today’s book is “The Pillars of the Earth” by Ken Follett. It was originally published in 1989, but I did not read it until around 2005, maybe 2006. I had heard about it for years, and as a matter of fact, it is one of my cousin’s favorite books. Still, in spite of high praise, from various people, the subject just didn’t interest me. Or so I thought. I literally read the book in 3 days, and it is 1000 pages long. I was sick and in bed and had nothing else to do, so I read. I loved it from the first sentence, which is, “In a broad valley, at the foot of a sloping hill, beside a clear bubbling stream, Tom was building a house.” Why this sentence hooked me, I can’t say. It did though, and I tore through the book. I LOVED it!
According to Amazon, the dust jacket notes: “Ken Follett is known worldwide as the master of split-second suspense, but his most beloved and bestselling book tells the magnificent tale of a twelfth-century monk driven to do the seemingly impossible: build the greatest Gothic cathedral the world has ever known. Everything readers expect from Follett is here: intrigue, fast-paced action, and passionate romance. But what makes The Pillars of the Earth extraordinary is the time – the twelfth century; the place – feudal England; and the subject – the building of a glorious cathedral. The author has re-created the crude, flamboyant England of the Middle Ages in every detail. The forests, the walled towns, the castles, and the monasteries become a familiar landscape. Against this richly imagined and intricately interwoven backdrop, filled with the ravages of war and the rhythms of daily life, the master storyteller draws the reader irresistibly into the intertwined lives of his characters – into their dreams, their labors, and their loves: Tom, the master builder; Aliena, the ravishingly beautiful noblewoman; Philip, the prior of Kingsbridge; Jack, the artist in stone and Ellen, the woman of the forest who casts a terrifying curse. From humble stonemason to imperious monarch, each character is brought vividly to life. The building of the cathedral, with the almost eerie artistry of the unschooled stonemasons, is the center of the drama. Around the site of the construction, Follett weaves a story of betrayal, revenge, and love, which begins with the public hanging of an innocent man and ends with the humiliation of a king. At once a sensuous and endearing love story and an epic that shines with the fierce spirit of a passionate age, The Pillars of the Earth is without a doubt Ken Follett’s masterpiece.”
And as if this wonderful book was not enough, the follow-up book called “World Without End” came out in 2007. Because I loved “The Pillars of the Earth” so much, I was a little afraid I would be disappointed by the new book. I am happy to say that was not the case. This time around, though, I chose to listen to it instead of reading it.
Again from Amazon – “In this “epic” (The Denver Post) sequel to “The Pillars of the Earth,” it is now two centuries after the townspeople of Kingsbridge have finished building its exquisite Gothic cathedral. And on a cold November day, four children slip into the forest and witness a killing—an event that will braid their lives together by ambition, love, greed, and revenge….”
I highly recommend these books. Even if you think the subject matter is of no interest to you (as I did), Ken Follett writes in such a way that draws one in and doesn’t let go until the very last word.