Ken Follett’s The Pillars of the Earth is a sweeping saga of 12th century history, love, church rivalries, and war. Everything you’d expect to find in a medieval intrigue. The book spans an entire generation, telling the story of the political upheaval of Queen Maud and King Steven but without court drama and war being the centerpiece. Instead, it focuses on the fictional town of Kingsbridge and the monks who run the priory and the builders who build the new cathedral.
Books like these always seem to focus on too many characters, leaving me confused about who’s who and which side someone is one. (Then again, when earls switched sides as often as they did in the 12th century, it’s probably natural to be confused.) Follett did a really good job of focusing on a very small group of characters and really developing every single one into someone I understood and knew.
I love love love historical fiction, and while this is a good book, there was a little bit too much fiction for my taste and not enough history. While the true story of of Maud and Steven was told, it was only the background of a completely made up story. Which is fine if that’s what you like but I prefer more history in my historical fiction.
Yay for crossing off #15 in my Unread Library!