I’ve been hearing about this book for years now. I’ve always been mildly curious about it and have even tried to get through Bookcrossing at one time. To no avail. It was only when Ana recently mentioned she had it that I felt I couldn’t let this chance to read it pass. Well my heartfelt thanks to her who lend me the book, it is a fabulous reading!
In a time of civil war, famine and religious strife, there rises a magnificent Cathedral in Kingsbridge. Against this backdrop, lives entwine: Tom, the master builder, Aliena, the noblewoman, Philip, the prior of Kingsbridge, Jack, the artist in stone and Ellen, the woman from the forest who casts a curse. At once, this is a sensuous and enduring love story and an epic that shines with the fierce spirit of a passionate age.
This book is about XII century Britain and the people living in Kinsbridge where a dedicated Prior dreams of building a Cathedral and finds a builder who shares that dream. We follow the main characters through several decades, through good things and bad things, peace and war, love and misfortune… It's also about the power of the church vs the political power, how sometimes they are in league and how sometimes they threaten each other. The book opens with a mystery that will slowly bring the most important characters together but will only be explained in the end.
Follett manages to show us medieval life in it’s different aspects – religion, politics, economy… - without it being obvious and always maintaining the reader’s interest. I highly recommend it as one of the best books of historical fiction I’ve read this year!