War Horses and Stone Masons

Knights _276_506918127

Wow! I just finished reading Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth. WOW because the book is just short of a thousand pages long, and wow because the story is amazing, entertaining, and spell binding. Follett claims to be an atheist, but his book is mainly about the Catholic Church in England in the years 1123-1174. Of course when one writes a story about a period that far removed from us it can be false, and sound real. I believe this story to be based on real life in the 1100’s.

This epic is based on one man’s dream to build a cathedral. I visited cathedrals in Munich, London, and Montreal, and was totally awe-struck by the immensity of the buildings. How in the hell did they ever build this building in an age before modern machines? Pillars of the Earth explains how it was done in a fictional story that takes place over a period of fifty-one years. That is how long it takes to make a cathedral using manual labor.

The story line contains so many, characters, plots, and lives I found myself living in the period as an observer. If this story were made into a movie it would require ten or more two-hour episodes to tell, and I will watch every chapter.

Pillars_276_506918127.jpeg

I love history and this is an era of history when Knights, and Kings, and Earls ruled the civilized world of Europe. Today’s kids and parents will go into shock when they learn that girls a young as fourteen were given into marriage, or that couples found having sex before marriage were given penance to live apart for a year before they could be married in the church. They would learn that life for the privileged was far different from the life of someone who did not have money to live on. The 1100’s gave meaning to the term “street people.” Common folk lived in homes of one or two rooms with little to no furnishings. Families slept in one room, and kids learned about sex by watching the action around them. Food was simple; usually dry bread and watered down beer. Workers were paid a penny a day. Families lived on six pennies a week. Kids worked. Royalty, lived much better, but a family of 2017 lives much better than did the royalty of 1117.

I rate this story at five stars, but it is equal to reading four normal books.

3 Responses

  1. You would love Jack Whyte’s Camulod Chronicles series post Roman Britian. I read every one. It’s like the author actually lived during the time as even the tiniest simple routines of daily living are included as the stories come to life.

    • Thanks for the tip, I’m adding it to my reading list.

    • Thanks for the recommendation. I loved Skystone. You are right, Whyte’s attention to detail makes this story come alive.

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