Friday, January 15, 2010

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett- a book review

This book was given to me as a Christmas present last month. As many of you know my reading is almost always non fiction. I strive to understand history, important people and current events. Andy wanted me to take a break and read a fiction book and I did.
There are 973 pages to read. It is a fascinating book about events taking place in the 1200’s. The basic theme has to do with building cathedrals. That may sound boring but take my word, it isn’t. Mr. Follett spent years traveling Europe and visiting the many different cathedrals. He researched the different types of construction, and weaves the designs into the story.
We follow the lives of many different personalities. Some are good and some are bad. It doesn’t take long before you determine which is which. Tension builds almost on every page. I always try to absorb what I am reading and for that reason limit reading to finite periods of time. This was hard to do as I wanted to learn how each episode ends. Many times the ending was tragic. Other times it was as you would hope it to be. The drama continued to the last page.
Mr. Follett not only researched cathedrals, he also learned what it was like to live 700 years ago including the correct names of household and construction tools. The story takes place mainly in England. We learn about the strength of the church and the division of lands based on customs of the times. The fact that magnificent cathedrals could be built without modern day equipment is incredible. How it was done is explained very well.
It is not construction that is most important; it is the people we get to know and care about, with equal parts of joy and tragedy.
Up to the time of publishing Mr. Follett had 18 other books he had published. This one became one of Oprah’s Book Club selections. I am sure it can be found at the Public Library. Mine is available to be loaned, just ask.

Jack B. Walters
3961 N. Hillwood Circle
Tucson, AZ 85750
(520) 722-2958
January 15, 2010

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