Six Book Challenge: Book 1 – The Pillars of the Earth
As part of the Liverpool Literary Festival, I’ve been taking part in the Six Book Challenge. This annual event invites people to pick six reads (not just books but poems, magazines articles, even digital games can count) and record their reading in a diary. You can register for the Six Book Challenge at your local library, and they will give you a reading diary. Complete the diary and return to your local library where you will receive a certificate and be entered into a draw to win a trip to London. Every library also has a collection of Quick Read Books to help you complete the challenge.
OK, so Book 1 of my 6 Book challenge. Now, I’m normally a bit of a Sci-Fi/Fantasy girl in my reading habits, but I thought for this challenge that I’d try some genres and authors I hadn’t experienced before. So I left behind my well-thumbed collection of Guy Gavriel Kay novels and my hard-backed limited edition Lord of The Rings and headed into the unknown.
I was given Ken Follett’s ‘Pillars of the Earth’ as a Christmas present after I’d thoroughly enjoyed the TV series. Now, enjoying a book and enjoying the filmed version of the same book, in my experience, can be a bit tricky. I’ve usually read a book and then found it filmed at a later date, as happened to me with ‘The Silence of the Lambs’ – one of those rare examples where the film and the book are equally excellent. But this can always work out quite badly – the film can ruin the book for the reader and vice versa. So it was with some trepidation that I approached ‘The Pillars of the Earth.’
Whilst the subject matter of this book – the building of a cathedral in 12th Century England – may sound rather dry, the reality is that the book – like the TV series – is a highly enjoyable Medieval romp full of attractive heroes and heroines and ya-boo-hiss villains.
Follet’s writing style is at times a bit prosaic, but nevertheless manages to keep a decent pace considering the tale is set over several decades. Credit also goes to Follet for creating a broad range of characters who are richly drawn and, to different degrees, flawed but endlessly intriguing.
The ending of the book has a slightly rushed feel to it and some characters fade out of the tale without much thought, however, overall I would say that I was pretty pleased with the way The Pillars of the Earth ended. The book was significantly different from the TV series, so I was sufficiently in the dark about how the tale would spin out for the story to remain full of thrills and surprises.
Overall, I would rate ‘The Pillars of the Earth’ a rollicking good read. Now on to Book 2!