The Pillars of the Earth
Book Author: Ken Follett
Summary reviewed by:
Bachelor of Arts (BA), University Of California, Santa Barbara 2019
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The Pillars of the Earth: Summary
You'll feel the earth shake beneath your feet with the very first page of 'The Pillars of the Earth', a majestic and enveloping journey back to 12th century England. Amidst the tumultuous backdrop of political and religious strife, this epic narrative takes root in the town of Kingsbridge, an inconspicuous hamlet of lofty dreams.
'The Pillars of the Earth' explores the intertwined lives of several unforgettable characters bound by a shared ambition: the construction of a grand cathedral, a heavenly beacon in an otherwise harsh and desolate world. From the stoic master builder Tom Builder to the uncompromising Prior Philip, each individual grapples with love, betrayal, ambition, and their own survival, while treading the dangerous political landscape where the power of the crown and the church constantly collide.
The cathedral's soaring aspirations become a mirror for the human spirit, reflecting both our loftiest dreams and basest instincts. Brace yourself for an immersive plunge into a world where morality becomes as malleable as the limestone of the cathedral itself, and where the power of faith and love are tested against the merciless hammer of time
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The Pillars of the Earth
Date Published: January 1, 1989
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The Pillars of the Earth: Genres
The Pillars of the Earth: Main Characters
Tom Builder: A pragmatic yet dream-filled master builder with a strong moral compass, showcased in his determination to care for his family and to build the grand cathedral.
Prior Philip: A devout and driven clergyman who values integrity and justice, exemplified in his efforts to reform the church and ensure the cathedral’s completion.
Jack: Tom’s talented and rebellious stepson, whose love for architecture and Aliena drives him to complete the cathedral.
Aliena: A noblewoman brought low, but resilient and fiercely independent, shown in her successful cloth business and her enduring love for Jack.
The Pillars of the Earth: Themes
Ambition and Achievement: Shown through the characters’ determination to build the cathedral, despite immense challenges.
Power and Corruption: Explored through the ongoing power struggle between the church and the monarchy.
Love and Sacrifice: Exemplified in the relationships between characters, particularly Tom’s love for his family and Jack’s love for Aliena.
Faith and Morality: Examined through Prior Philip’s unswerving faith and his attempts to reform the church, despite pervasive corruption.
Resilience in the Face of Adversity: Demonstrated by every character’s journey, particularly Aliena’s rise from fallen nobility to successful businesswoman.