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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » The Pillars of the Earth

   
Author Topic: The Pillars of the Earth
whatsup7196
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Newbie here. Same scenario as most of the past newbies: longtime lurker, first time poster.

Years back I inherited a copy of Ken Follett's Pillars of the Earth from my father. Since I was a young teen and it came from my father, I immediately set it on my bookshelf to collect dust (being 900 and something-odd pages didn't make it any more inviting). I left it at my parents’ house when I moved away a few years later.

Since then I've heard about it numerous times as a classic, and I just found it on a bookshelf at work. I'm interested, but I don't want to invest myself in such a long book without some recommendations.

You all seem to have something to say on most topics, does anybody care to lend me a hand and let me know what they think about this book?

Thanks!

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socal_chic
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Sorry, I don't know anything about that book but welcome to Hatrack!! [Wave]
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Tante Shvester
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Welcome, Watsup! [Wave]

Never read it, but there are some reviews for you at the Amazon site.

No one seems wishy-washy about it. Based on the reviews, you either love it or hate it.

Doesn't seem to be quite my cup of tea, though.

(I'm new, too. I just jumped aboard last month)

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King of Men
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** Very minor spoilers **


It is certainly Follett's best work, by a large margin. The research is, as far as I can tell, impeccable. The villains are highly plausible, motivated by entirely human lust for power, ruthlessness, and jealousy. The character of Jack seems just a little too perfect, but otherwise the good guys are quite reasonable. A measure of how much you get to care about the characters is that even I cheer when the cathedral is finally built. (Though not as loud as for the fate of William, the scum.) I mean, here are people wasting their lives and wealth on a building for an evil purpose, while people starve in a civil war; yet because they are so well written, you want them to succeed. That's writing, that is.

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whatsup7196
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Thanks for the nice welcome socal and Tante.

I did look at the Amazon reviews, but I never trust them. It always worries me when I read those reviews because they do vary so widely and anybody can post them. I know the same is true of asking the opinion here, but at least I know you guys all share a common interest, OSC's writing! Which makes you a much more reliable source to gather thoughts from. So thanks so far and keep'em coming!

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whatsup7196
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And with that review from King of Men I will open the cover and start reading!
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Tante Shvester
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Enjoy!

What is the 7196? Is this your 9th birthday?

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jeniwren
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Whatsup, I've read it many times -- the only one of Ken Follet's on my shelf. It's a wonderful book and well worth reading.
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whatsup7196
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Well Tante, I tried "whatsup1" through "whatsup7195" and was informed they were already taken. Strange...

But seriously, they are just random numbers that I've used forever now, so it's habit.

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Destineer
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Anyone see the TV series based off this book?

Just watched the first episode. Great cast, but I'm not sure if they even have enough time to act. The plot is laid on so fast and furious, it's almost like they're speaking the lines at a breathless pace. Not sure what to think yet, one way or another.

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Bella Bee
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I'm watching it now, since they just finished showing the sequel series on TV here. 'Pillars' looks more high budget and better thought out than the sequel, so I'm quite enjoying it.
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Destineer
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Wow, two episodes in and I think I'm through. Way too much is happening way too fast. The show is all plot and nothing else. I basically don't know or care about these people.
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Teshi
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Ugh, I *hate* this book.

:E

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Valentine014
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quote:
Originally posted by Destineer:
Wow, two episodes in and I think I'm through. Way too much is happening way too fast. The show is all plot and nothing else. I basically don't know or care about these people.

I totally disagree with the moving too fast thing. Is that in relation to the book? I do agree with the not caring for those people at all. That did not change for me through the entire show.
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Destineer
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No, never read the book. I just thought they didn't give things time to percolate.

Example (SPOILERS):

Tom's wife dies about midway into the first episode. Fairly early in the second episode, he's already hooking up with the witch/former nun. They just don't give the romance between those two any time to build up.

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Bella Bee
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The sequel is like that too. At one point, a character told a huge, epic secret to his brother.

The brother just goes 'Oh yeah, someone already told me that.' So we never saw him find out and this big secret they sold us on turned out to be pretty common knowledge.

Also the fact that at least fifteen or twenty years passed, plague, fire and famine, and not one character even changed their hairstyle, let alone ageing appropriately.

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Tammy
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I loved this book. Didn't really care for the movie, but that's usually the way it is with me.
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King of Men
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quote:
Tom's wife dies about midway into the first episode. Fairly early in the second episode, he's already hooking up with the witch/former nun. They just don't give the romance between those two any time to build up.
I can see where it would come across badly on the screen, but in the book we see Tom's internal thought process, which is basically that he's half starved, half mad with grief, and about 90% convinced he's died and gone to heaven. He's not engaging in romance, he's just rolling with the punches. One day your pig gets stolen, the next your wife dies, the third some madwoman hikes up her skirt and half rapes you - whatever, man. Later on he thinks to himself that, in fact, it would have been good if he'd gotten some time to grieve for his wife.
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Destineer
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Sounds like a difference between the book and the series. In the series, they don't hook up until after he's already working on the cathedral. But the time on screen between his wife's death and the start of work on the new cathedral is like 30-40 minutes.
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