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Much Ado About Nothing...Really
am 5. Juli 2000
I read The Pillars of the Earth in a "Name of the Rose"-mood, meaning that I was doomed to feel disappointed about the value of the book. Ken Follet writes entertainingly but this time his novel is centered around a weak plot in a distant and faint dark ages landscape with few and pale and in some cases unplausible characters. The scope of Pillars of the Earth is over ambitious; it spans over more than 30 years and tries to capture a broad range of events and destinies, therefore its focus is seldom clear throughout the reading. The plot is straightforward with the classic many loose ends tying in at the end in a very predictable way; good always prevails, evil always gets hammered.
Overall, The Pillars of the Earth makes a fair, relaxed reading; a simple and straightforward subject about everyday life in a 12th century English monastic community with all pertinent ingredients: bigot monks, power hungry bishops, treacherous kings, ruthless landlords and a few good men caught in the middle. If you think you can read 980 pages about this and you are prepared to ignore some common sense breaches here and there, then I recommend the book.