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Pillars of the Earth

On the morning of October 4th I began reading Ken Follett’s “Pillars of the Earth.” From Monday to Friday I’d read as many pages as I could on my morning commute. Sometimes I would get a few pages in on the ride home; sometimes I would even read at home. However, most of it was done in the AM on the 501 Streetcar.

On the morning of December 6th I finished the 986th page, and the story of Kingsbridge Priory was complete. I know this may sound weird… but I was moved to tears when I realized my mornings in Kingsbridge were over. In 63 days I aged almost 50 years, I experienced a lifetime through the lives of others, and I added the greatest novel in modern literature to my library.

Throughout my 2+ month adventure many people would ask me what the book was about. I gave them the same explanation that was given to me: “It’s about a cathedral, and the people that build it.” – Their response was similar to the one I initially gave, “that sounds boring.” I agree, the premise doesn’t sound entertaining, but you can’t say it isn’t intriguing. What other novel has undertaken the task of explaining the construction of a 12th Century English-Catholic Cathedral? None!

Furthermore, what other novel tells the tales of Ellen, Prior Philip, Tom Builder, Aliena and her Jack? What other book is as honest about the beauty of Christianity’s complexity and the craftsmanship behind medieval masonry? What other book kept me grounded during these tough times, and inspired during those lonely days? The answer again is none, but its truth is more personal.

In meeting the cast of Pillars I was introduced to some of the greatest teachers/examples/friends/enemies I’ll ever have. I was pulled through the bloody battlegrounds of ‘politics;’ and I followed along in one the greatest romances ever written. The laughs, tears, and inspiration this book provides is something no questing reader should miss.

I am grateful to the author for writing this book. I am overwhelmed by the discoveries its story has lead me to. I’ve learned that a lifetime is experienced regardless of those days wherein we believe tomorrow will never come. I’ve learned to accept that pain and misunderstanding occur, and that some dreams take decades to realize. I read a book that I will never forget!

For those of you interested in experiencing this book for yourselves check out Chapters!

For the more visual crowd CBC is bringing the miniseries based on the book to primetime beginning Tuesday January 4th.


  • Anonymous

    Wow, great review my friend! I will be finishing the book up quite soon myself!

    • Anonymous

      I can’t believe this book was published in 1989! It has been continuing in popularity for over 20 years!!!

      Also, I will be spending the next several months reading both the sequel to this book “World Without End,” but that will be after I read “The Fall of Giants.” Ken Follett is a genius!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Christopher-Michael-Elliott/500513490 Christopher Michael Elliott

    Wow. Great piece my man. I know a gang of people who’ve read this, and they all rave about it. Very impressive. I love the pictures too!

  • Sabrina

    reading is great for our minds.
    keep it up !

  • KWgirl

    I haven’t read the book yet, it’s on my “to do” list. We watched the mini-series & fell in love with the people and their stories. After having the chance to see a number of amazing cathedrals in Europe, it staggers the imagination that real people built them. Many of these people never in their lifetime saw the completion of their cathedral. In a way I guess, I’m glad that I saw the mini series first, as I know the book is always better:) Loved the article.
    You’ll have to let us know how you enjoy his new book, “The Fall of Giants”.

    • Anonymous

      Thx Mom :)

      I definitely will let you know. If Dad says “Follett better not die before finishing it,” then I know it’s gotta be good. I also wanna read the sequel to Pillars. This book helped me a lot during my dark days, it is such a beautiful and moving story.

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