Why did it take me 20 years to pick up this book? My husband read it, a good friend told me for years I would like it. Well, I have no idea.
I am a fan of historic fiction and of large novels, so this was a double bonus. The building of a cathedral in 12th century England. There is so much in this book, the history of The Anarchy, the murder of Thomas Becket, the development of architecture from Roman to Gothic, the influence of the church, life of ordinary people as well as nobility during that time-period. Follett manages to describe all this as if it had happened yesterday and he was among these people. The stories or different people are interweaving during the decades, so you get to see "good old friends" (and sometimes not so good ones) again and again.
This book has got it all, politics, love, violence, revenge and - the most important - a great storyline.
And then, there is a wonderful follow-up: "World Without End".
From the back cover: "The spellbinding epic set in twelfth-century England, The Pillars of the Earth tells the story of the lives entwined in the building of the greatest Gothic cathedral the world has ever known—and a struggle between good and evil that will turn church against state, and brother against brother.
In a time of civil war, famine and religious strife, there rises a magnificent Cathedral in Kingsbridge. Against this backdrop, lives entwine: Tom, the master builder, Aliena, the noblewoman, Philip, the prior of Kingsbridge, Jack, the artist in stone and Ellen, the woman from the forest who casts a curse. At once, this is a sensuous and enduring love story and an epic that shines with the fierce spirit of a passionate age."