Hiatus (agh) wrote,

Ken Follett - Pillars of the Earth

This was an excellent tour de force about the building of a cathedral in 12th century England.  It follows the journey of the Kingsbridge Cathedral's start-and-stop-and-start construction over many years.  The people building it change, and there are villains, intrigues, and memorable heroes.

Framing the story is the question of successorship of the throne of England, and it's neat to see how Follett weaves the characters' fictional lives into actual history as behind-the-scenes players.

I found it a very edifying and satisfying read, as you get to learn a lot about the period, and about construction of cathedrals.  And it's an immersive read because the characters' motivations and knowledge are so deeply tied to the mindset of post-Norman England.  It's interesting to think about what master builders of that period new and didn't know about engineering a cathedral.

Ken Follett writes simply; he does not dazzle with his use of language or artistry, and the plot is engaging but methodical, kind of like a protracted Elton John melody.  He excels most due to his great characters. 
Tags: book review

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