[fifth book]

The fifth book in my 52 in 52 series is Ken Follett's The Pillars of the Earth.

Pillars revolves around the building of a cathedral at Kingsbridge in 12th century England. Central to the story are Philip, Tom, and Aliena. Philip is a monk at Kingsbridge, Tom is a master builder, and Aliena is the daughter of a local earl. Each character, along with every member of their families, has a secret and as the kinks in the cathedral design become clear so do the character's secret lives. They dance together and apart as the cathedral takes shape in the midst of civil war and famine.

Honestly this has to be one of the best books I've read in quite some time. While cathedral building is at the heart of the story, there's so much more involved here. There's murder, intrigue, romance, and heartbreak, royal intrigue, church politics, and family drama. There are characters you love, characters you hate, and characters that you just can't decide whether to love or hate. The story is immensely complex, yet simultaneously simple. Yes it's long. But it's not dense; Pillars is definitely still approachable. It's one of those books you just can't put down, no matter how badly you want to. I would wake up in the morning after reading and feel like I had actually been in 12th Century England, right alongside the characters that were felt like real people. If you only read one book, let it be this one.

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