Pillars of the Earth, Ken Follett

I just finished the book and thought, “Wouldn’t that be a good movie?”

Turns out there is a movie that aired on Starz pretty recently, and I’m thinking about buying it.

Anyone seen the movie or read the book?

I read it and really enjoyed it!

I think there has been some talk on this forum about the book previously…even some people talking about it being anti-catholic. Guess it does have some anti-catholic things going on, I just see it as the way things probably were back when bishops and archbishops could rule and own things.

Anyway, I think startz still shows the episodes. I don’t have starz and have thought about adding it to my directv account.

Donald Sutherland plays in the series. Oh, and I think it was a series that lasted a whole season. So not so much a movie.

I also read the sequel … I can’t remember the name right now…seems like it was about the desendants of Jack and Anna was it?

The sequel is called “World Without End.”

It takes place roughly 200 years after the end of POTE. Kingsbridge town is now a bustling minor city, free from the troubles of the first book, and has expanded beyond Jack Builder’s town walls. But a new threat has arisen: the black plague.

Because 200 years have passed, Tom, Jack, Aliena et al are long forgotten; however, there is a great new cast of characters, and new building projects.

It’s a huge book and some physical hideousness does take place, and some ecclesial conflict, but well worth the effort, IMNAAHO.

Happy Holidays and ICXC NIKA.

I like historical fiction but I am sorry I read this.

The repeated detailed descriptions of the violent sexual assaults committed by the main bad guy were vile and disgusting and in my opinion pornographic.

The characters and storyline were interesting and the history apparently accurate, but not worth it.

And, by the way, I am the one who started the thread about how much immorality was too much. This book was one of the reasons for that thread.

If you have netflix you can actually watch the series online.

I forgot about NetFlix! My sister in law has a subscription, so I won’t have to buy it after all! (unless it’s just that good :slight_smile: )

I think it could have been just as good a book without the rape details (and the romance-novel type sex scenes), but in a way they helped make the characters truely hateable, or respectable: i.e. how William vs Jack view women. Thankfully there were only a few of that type of scene in the book. It’s definitely not one I’d want just anyone reading, though.

I’ve read a lot of books, but to be honest I usually don’t finish the last chapter (I think the last book I read cover to cover was the Rapture of Canaan in the 8th grade). That’s something I’ve done since I was in middle school because I tend to think the endings are sorry and get mad at the authors, but this one actually worked out for me :slight_smile:

I personally love the book. Yes, the descriptions about the sexual assaults are quite graphic. The good thing about reading it in a book is that you can mostly skip these parts and still get the idea of what is going on. (With a TV show, even if you fast forward, you still see everything that’s happening.) I thought the book did a fairly good job of showing how being sneaky and trying to do things for your own personal benefit can backfire. It also shows how doing the right thing is not easy, but still worth doing in the end.

My biggest complaint about the TV series is that they changed major character traits. I realize that some editing must be done to convert a book to the TV screen, but these were more than just minor details that were changed. For example:

Possible Spoilers

The character of Prior Philip was changed quite a bit in my opinion. In the book he is portrayed as a monk who genuinely wants to do what is right by God. If something comes up that will work in his favor, he will take those opportunities, but he tries to discern if he’s really doing things for God’s glory or for his own interests. His character was the one I could relate best to in the book. I loved reading about how trial after trial, Philip really tried to follow God’s laws and do what is right. In the movie, Prior Philip is portrayed as an opportunistic monk who just happened to be clever enough to get his way most of the time. This made him just like everyone else in the story.

I bought the book a year ago because Oprah Winfrey raved that it was one of the best pieces of historical fiction she’d read. I enjoy period fiction with geneology, a story with multiple layers of characters that you can put a face to and want to learn more about. The problem with this book is that I can’t connect with the characters. I don’t find any of them to be very sympathetic or memorable. The best parts of the story are the description of the architecture, the geography, and the brutality of life in 1100-1200. The violence is cringe worthy, more realistic and thus more interesting than many romanticized novels with a historical theme. I just don’t like to be able to predict what’s coming next, and in this book I can. As far as an anti-Catholic theme, it’s fairly tame unless one is offended by the portrayal of politics and intrigue within the churh. If I enjoy a novel I’ll practically speed read through it, but I can put this one down and easily forget about it. I’m about 2/3 through (remember I bought it a year ago), but I don’t know if I’ll finish it.

:thumbsup: you’re right.

I did the same thing. A co-worker let me borrow it about 6 months ago and it took me 4 of those months to get through about half of it. In my case it’s a good thing, because my schedule is so hectic I need a book I can lay aside and come back to later. After I got through to about the last fourth of it I couldn’t put it down, though. (so strange, I usually skip the endings of books, but the end of this one is what kept me interested :shrug:)

Well, then maybe I’ll keep slogging through to the end. I did hear someone else say the end was good. I don’t think I’ll be buying the sequel though. Enough Mr. Follett!

I read somewhere on here that someone received a Kindle for Christmas. Oh Happy Day.:slight_smile:

I just rented the movie…thouroughly enjoyed the movie.


I got World Without End for Christmas and you just moved it up in the pile!

Thanks again!!!

I read this book awhile ago and really enjoyed it. The characters were finely drawn. Prior Phillip was my favorite also.
I did not know there was a movie but after reading SummerSmiles review of it, I won’t see it.
Why do movie makers always distort the story. Sigh!

I really enjoyed the first book. Was excited about the second book but was disapointed. I couldnt finish it The sex scenes were too graphic for me. I love historical fiction too.:frowning:

I realize that movie makers frequently have to make some changes to the sequence of events when they take a book and make it into a movie. Some things just aren’t as easy to put onto the movie screen as they are to make into a book. Some things would take too long to explain in a movie, so they’re left out. Some things can be left out and people will still get the “big picture.”

As long as they leave the basics of each character the same, I’m usually ok with other changes. But I felt that the changes made for the movie of Pillars of the Earth just messed with basic character traits too much. Some characters just weren’t themselves anymore; just a new character with an old name. Prior Phillip wasn’t the only character affected. (Ellen’s character was changed a bit to make her more “family friendly.”)

Enjoy the read-- I sure did!!!


I was wrong. I got Fall of Giants, not World Without End. I’ll have to get WWE though.

The first one is quite good and valuable for establishing a flavor for what life was like in those times. The Church is treated fairly, as having both good and bad members - just like in REAL life, then or today.

The second book reveals more of the authors secret axes being ground. (SPOILERS) Of course the HERO has an abortion, of course the bishop is always a villian, of course those considered evil by the church are always those of true character and virtue, blah, blah predictable blah.

Skip the second book.

No, it really isn’t good at all. Indeed, there should be a disclaimer that Follett only researched the architecture, since he seems to think serfs owed their rent individually, rather than as a village, and does not seem to have heard of guilds (which insured all their members against things like losing clients). Not to mention he reads a very post-Renaissance concept of national loyalty into feudal power struggles.

Way to go, Follett, your book about the mean nasty Middle Ages is a vicious indictment of the Reformation. I couldn’t stink that bad if I tried.

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