The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

Book 20/30.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Let it be said about the Eras Tour, we’re tricksy. That’s what we are. We enjoy a good, healthy setlist hijinks.

That is what my ABSOLUTE FAVE Taylor Swift had to say about her current RECORD-BREAKING AF tour, but it could also be said about The Pillars of the Earth which, coincidentally, is Goodreads’ most popular book published in 1989, aka the year Taylor was born.

I added Pillars to my Goodreads Want to Read shelfshelf in 2016, bought it in 2022 but did not get around to reading it until April 2023 as I was verrrryyy intimidated by its size. Listen, there are tomes, there are TOMES and then there are T.O.M.E.S‼️ Pillars is one hell of a T.O.M.E‼️as it is a whopping ONE THOUSAND AND SEVENTY SIX PAGES (🤯😵😵‍💫) with the tiniest font and no spacing in between chapters. Turns out I had no reason to be wary though as it was a CAPTIVATING AF read full of twists, turns, trickery and treachery that deserved every single one of the 5 stars I gave it!

Pillars is essentially a story about the building of the fictional Kingsbridge cathedral in medieval England, and yes that does not sound the least bit interesting but trust me this was BEYOND INCREDIBLE!!! Around the site of the construction, Ken 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. We get drawn into this world of incredible and unforgettable characters that interact with Kingsbridge, its cathedral, and Prior Philip, and get to witness their loves, desires, ambitions, conflicts and heartbreaks play out over 51 years. There are good guys and bad guys in this story, and you realllllllyyyyyy rooted for and against them. My favourite characters were the aforementioned Prior Philip, Jack, Aliena and Ellen. Tom was alright but I fucking hated William Hamleigh and despised Waleran Bigod.

Follet wrote thrillers before embarking on Pillars and you can certainly tell as the intrigue and fast-paced action here have all the makings of a great thriller novel. The twists, turns, trickery and treachery in this book were so WILD I found myself reading several pages ahead to learn what happens next because I could not turn the pages fast enough, something I have only done with a handful of books before. Hence my Eras Tour reference at the beginning of this review.

It took me 16 days to read this and every minute spent reading gave new meaning to the phrase sweet sixteen. Upon finishing the book I took to my Instagram stories to gush about it, something I have never done before and, if nothing else, that should tell you how much I LOVED Pillars!!! There are love stories in here, as well as tales of ruthless ambition and betrayal and I lapped it all up like a starving animal. I slept past midnight on two back-to-back nights because I just could not stop reading and on the first night I downright lost track of time. One minute it was 10 p.m., next it was 11:30 p.m. and I was absolutely shocked at how those 90 minutes went by in the blink of an eye.

This was my second Follet read, the first being Night over Water that I read almost 20 years ago and quite enjoyed. Now I am looking forward to reading more of his books, starting with World Without End (the second book in the Kingsbridge trilogy) and Eye of the Needle (the novel that made Follet a star in publishing circles).

View all my reviews

** A guide to ratings **
1 star – did not like it
2 stars – it was okay
3 stars – liked it
4 stars – really liked it
5 stars – it was amazing

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