I’ve had a ton of time this week when I’ve had to be away from the desk with nothing to do, and in that time, plus a bit of evening reading, I read the brick known as The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. What a week!
I had read a book by Ken Follett years ago, but Pillars of the Earth really made him a household name, at least around our household. It’s a big, solid, book that spans fifty years and nine hundred and eighty three pages and in that time I became very attached to the main characters. Mr. Follett paints a picture of a gritty, dirty England during the civil war of the 1100s, (from just before the reign of Stephen I until just after it), where the King had relatively little power and much of England was effectively controlled by the various lords of the country. The book is the story of the struggle between one of these lords, William, a Bishop, and the Prior of Kingsbridge, a fictional town in England. The book is graphic at times – if you don’t like violence then this may not be for you, but that’s not the whole story, it’s just a small part of it and it gives the story a dirty realism that wouldn’t be there without it.
I really enjoyed The Pillars of the Earth and was slightly disappointed when it ended. After nearly a thousand pages and fifty years it’s easy to get attached to characters. I’m excited to read the sequel, A World Without End, but I might take a bit of a break before attacking it – it’s also a brick.