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The Pillars of the Earth Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett Click for printable size audiobook cover
4.00000444327932 out of 54.00000444327932 out of 54.00000444327932 out of 54.00000444327932 out of 54.00000444327932 out of 5 4.00 (225,057 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Ken Follett Narrator: John Lee Publisher: Penguin Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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The Pillars of the Earth, a sweeping historical novel, takes the listener to 12th century England where forces royal and religious manipulate the balance of power to lean in their favor. Originally published in 1989, The Pillars of the Earth gained recent popularity after debuting as an HBO mini-series.

Set between the sinking of the White Ship and the murder of Sir Thomas Becket, the book's central character is Tom Builder, a man with a vision to build a Gothic-style cathedral at the Kingsbridge priory. Tom meets the independent Ellen, who some in Kingsbridge believe is a witch and her gifted son, Jack. Jack's brilliance for architecture becomes a fire point between him and Tom's possessive son, Alfred. The power struggle between King Stephen, Empress Matilda and her brother, Robert the Earl of Gloucester tugs at the story's passionate characters, bidding them to do their royal will, no matter the costs.

"Pillars of the Earth" reaches full dramatic swing at the Battle of Lincoln and ends with plot twists that will leave the listener satisfied but wondering what will happening in the best-selling sequel, "World Without End." Ken Follett is a Welsh author who has sold more than 100 million copies of his books. Four of his books, including "Pillars of the Earth," have landed him at #1 of the New York Times best seller list. "World Without End" also held that coveted spot. Follett began his career as a journalist and has dabbled in politics since the late 1970s.

British actor John Lee narrates "Pillars of the Earth." Besides working as a professional narrator, Lee is a producer and screenwriter.

A spellbinding epic set in twelfth-century England, The Pillars of the Earth tells the story of the lives entwined in the building of the greatest Gothic cathedral the world has ever known—and a struggle between good and evil that will turn church against state and brother against brother.

Ken Follett, internationally acclaimed master of split-second suspense, reaches beyond the expected to achieve his most brilliant and remarkable novel.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Fast-paced, engaging—an enjoyable historical thriller, well told.”

    Chicago Tribune

  • “A towering tale…a ripping read…there’s murder, arson, treachery, torture, love, and lust.”

    New York Daily News

  • “Wonderful…will hold you, fascinate you, surround you.”

    Chicago Sun-Times

  • “Enormous and brilliant...A great epic tale.”


  • “Follett has written a novel that entertains, instructs, and satisfies on a grand scale.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Arguably the best work of an author known for spy thrillers, this is historical fiction at its finest...Follett’s poignant characters blossom with Lee’s reading...After forty-one hours of listening, readers will yearn for more.


  • “An extraordinary epic…a monumental masterpiece…A towering triumph from a major talent.”


  • “[Full of] historical detail...This will appeal...to lovers of exciting adventure stories.”

    Library Journal

  • An Oprah’s Book Club Selection in 2007
  • A USA Today Bestseller
  • A Publishers Weekly Bestseller
  • An Amazon Best Book of the Month, September2010
  • A #1 New York Times Bestseller

Listener Reviews

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Review by Mark | 2/16/2014

    " Great story, though the a bit tedious towards the end with the same characters going after each other....AGAIN. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Review by Heather | 2/10/2014

    " I loved this book. While it is long it held my attention the whole way through. I'd definitely recommend it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Review by Holly Gee | 2/5/2014

    " I love this book so much I have read it almost a dozen times. I will read it again. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Review by Jan Thigpen | 1/26/2014

    " This book grabbed me & did not let go! "

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About the Author
Author Ken Follett

Ken Follett burst into the book world with Eye of the Needle, an award-winning thriller and international bestseller. After several more successful thrillers, he surprised everyone with The Pillars of the Earth and its long-awaited sequel, World without End, a national and international bestseller. Follett’s magnificent historical epic, the Century trilogy, opened with the bestselling Fall of Giants. He lives in England with his wife, Barbara.

About the Narrator

John Lee, a stage actor and writer and a coproducer of feature films, has narrated more than one hundred audiobooks of every conceivable genre, earning some three dozen Earphones Awards and the prestigious Audie Award.