#286 ~ Pillars of the Earth

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

Published initially by: William Morrow

Audiobook published by: Penguin

Published initially: 1989

Audiobook published: 2007

Page Count: 978

Audiobook length: 41 hours

Genre: Historical Fiction

My Reading Format: Audiobook purchased with Audible.com credit

Narrated by: John Lee

Available Formats: Hardcover, paperback, eBook, audiobook

My Review

For whatever reason, I’ve been tending toward huge tomes when selecting the audiobooks I want to download with my monthly Audible.com credits. I’m not sure if it’s subconciously thinking I’ll get more for my money or if I know that there is no way in hell I’d ever get through the book the old fashioned way. Regardless, The Pillars of the Earth, which tells the story of the building of a fictional cathedral in Kingsbridge, fit the bill. I’ve never read any of Ken Follett’s work before and I was a touch skeptical. The story was set during midieval England and it was about building a cathedral. I wasn’t sure how interesting that could actually be.  I found there was no need for concern. I loved every minute of this story, even the parts that may have seemed long were it not for John Lee’s narration. I loved the good guys and I loved the villians that much more. I cannot stress enough the genious of John Lee’s narration.  It was sheer perfection.  It is a long story, but I think you’ll find it worth the investment. I was disappointed to discover that the sequel,World Without End, did not continue to tell the story of Aliena, Jack and Jonathon. It’s a good book and an even better audiobook.

Yes, I got my money’s worth.


  • At 2010.11.06 13:47, Just Mom said:

    I just finished World Without End on audio and loved it as well. I had heard that the books each stand alone but complement each other. John Lee narrates World Without End too. I do not think there is any way I would have managed this in print – there just aren’t enough hours in the day!

    • At 2010.11.06 14:18, Martha said:

      My husband and I listened to Pillars ages ago on a car trip and loved every minute of it. We used to end up sitting in the car long after we got to our destination just to hear what would happen next. I haven’t gotten to World Without End. But thanks to your review I think I’ll plan to listen on our Thanksgiving road trip.

      • At 2010.11.06 14:25, bermudaonion (Kathy) said:

        I’ve always been intimidated by Follett’s work, but a friend of mine raved over this book and now your review makes me think maybe I should give it a try.

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        • At 2010.11.06 15:52, Sandy said:

          This book is one of my all-time top books, probably because I was reading it (the old-fashioned way before kids) when I was in England. Total three-dimensional experience. I read World Without End just a few years ago on audio, and even though it doesn’t continue the story of the same characters, it IS about their descendants, and they are mentioned. You must listen! I’m so glad you like this.

          • At 2010.11.06 19:25, rhapsodyinbooks said:

            People keep telling me I’ll like this but I too have been intimidated by the bulk! But maybe listening instead of reading would be a good strategy!

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            • At 2010.11.06 21:13, Bibliophile By the Sea said:

              I LOVED this as an audio book and just listened to it a few months back. Glad u liked it as well. (His new book Fall of Giants is great as well).

              • At 2010.11.07 13:05, Willa said:

                I love “The Pillars of the Earth”. It is such a wonderful, beautiful book and I absolutely adored Aliena, she is such a strong character. Definitely my favourite piece of historical fiction.

                • At 2010.11.07 13:50, wall-to-wall books-wendy said:

                  My mom read this last year and she loved it! Just the shear size of it scares me!

                  • At 2010.11.07 14:51, Alyce said:

                    I have this book on my shelf, but also wonder when I’m ever going to get around to reading it. Listening to the audiobook sounds like the perfect alternative. I’ll have to keep it in mind.

                    • At 2010.11.07 23:37, Romantic Books said:

                      I have heard so much about this book, but for some reason never actually bought it or checked it out from the library. Thanks for your review! Think I am going to add it to my to-read list now!

                      • At 2010.11.08 16:10, SuziQoregon said:

                        I remember when I was recommending this book to family and friends back in the early 90’s they would ask “what is it about’. I had to say “it’s about building cathedrals, but forget I said that and just read it.”

                        This is still one of my all time favorite books (and The Hubster’s too). I’ve read it several times over the years and recently we watched the TV miniseries (Showtime?). I’ve read most of Follett’s books and he has written such a variety of subjects and genres. Most have been good, but a few misses along the way.

                        For some reason I still have not read World Without End and I’m not sure why. I want to, just haven’t picked it up and started. Now he’s got another epic series starting soon, so I really must get to it soon.

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                        • At 2010.11.08 23:57, Vasilly said:

                          This sounds like a book that would keep my attention! I’m going to see to add this to my TBR pile and see if my library has it.

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                          • At 2010.11.09 21:55, Lisa said:

                            41 hours? Oh my goodness, I know it’s a monster of a book but when you put in those terms, that’s a lot of reading! Still, I think I’m going to read it after the first of the year.

                            • At 2010.11.10 14:24, Heather J. said:

                              Oh yeah, I can identify – I’m always picking the VERY LONGEST books I can find when I use my Audible.com credits. 🙂

                              I’ve been wanting to get to this book since I watched the miniseries (which was great). Sounds like Audible is the way to go on this one!

                              • At 2010.11.11 17:30, Emily said:

                                This sounds good! My dad has started listening to audiobooks on the way to and from work, so I’ve found myself paying more attention to audiobook reviews than I did in the past. Wonder if he would like this one . . .

                                • At 2010.11.12 13:54, Fyrefly said:

                                  I’ve got this (unread) on my shelf, and it’s a chunkster! I think the size is intimidating me enough to keep from starting it. Good to hear that you liked it so much, though!

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                                  • At 2010.12.02 01:51, Stacybuckeye said:

                                    I read this one and it took me a long time. I cannot imagine listening to it!

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                                    • At 2011.04.06 07:02, #324 ~ Sea Change : literatehousewife.com said:

                                      […] Lee might as well be your tour guide. Last summer I spent several weeks with John Lee while reading Pillars of the Earth. I loved his narration and he made that tome move at a brisk and melodic pace. As soon as Sea […]

                                      (Required, will not be published)

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