Review: The Pillars of the Earth

The Pillars of the Earth (The Kingsbridge Series, #1)The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This wasn’t my first audio book, but it was my first long novel consumed as an audio book. That is still something I am getting used to, but I have to say that listening to this wonderful story unfold through the talented voice of John Lee brought a certain company in the car and around the house as I ploughed on through the tome.

The story is, of course, marvellously created by Ken Follett. Such is to be expected from a master storyteller of his calibre. The story of the building of the cathedral at Kingsbridge, England, is set against the background of the civil war between King Stephen and Empress Maude and covers not just a few years but the period from 1135 through to 1174 – the length of time that it took to build a cathedral.

The cathedral and its building is not the only subject of the novel. Along with the building of the cathedral goes the building of a society in which it is located, and this larger story, told in the lives of those intimately connected with Kingsbridge, unfolds in a way that highlights the grand sweep of those turbulent times.

It is a fascinating narrative, featuring well-developed characters who are likeable despite or because of their flaws. Follett truly deserves his reputation as a narrator of stories.

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