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The Pillars of the Earth series
Ken Follett

The Pillars of the Earth (The Pillars of the Earth #1)
Everything readers expect from Follett is here: intrigue, fast-paced action, and passionate romance. But what makes The Pillars of the Earth extraordinary is the time—the twelfth century; the place—feudal England; and the subject—the building of a glorious cathedral. Follett has re-created the crude, flamboyant England of the Middle Ages in every detail. The vast forests, the walled towns, the castles, and the monasteries become a familiar landscape. Against this richly imagined and intricately interwoven backdrop, filled with the ravages of war and the rhythms of daily life, the master storyteller draws the reader irresistibly into the intertwined lives of his characters—into their dreams, their labors, and their loves: Tom, the master builder; Aliena, the ravishingly beautiful noblewoman; Philip, the prior of Kingsbridge; Jack, the artist in stone; and Ellen, the woman of the forest who casts a terrifying curse. From humble stonemason to imperious monarch, each character is brought vividly to life. The building of the cathedral, with the almost eerie artistry of the unschooled stonemasons, is the center of the drama. Around the site of the construction, Follett weaves a story of betrayal, revenge, and love, which begins with the public hanging of an innocent man and ends with the humiliation of a king.
World Without End (The Pillars of the Earth #2)
World Without End takes place in the same town of Kingsbridge, two centuries after the townspeople finished building the exquisite Gothic cathedral that was at the heart of The Pillars of the Earth. The cathedral and the priory are again at the center of a web of love and hate, greed and pride, ambition and revenge, but this sequel stands on its own. This time, the men and women among an extraordinary cast of characters find themselves at a crossroad of new ideas -- about medicine, commerce, architecture, and justice. In a world where proponents of the old ways fiercely battle those with progressive minds, the intrigue and tension quickly reach a boiling point against the devastating backdrop of the greatest natural disaster ever to strike the human race: the Black Death.
A Column of Fire (The Pillars of the Earth #3)
The next novel in the Kingsbridge series, A Column of Fire is set during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. The plot follows lovers Will Willard and Margery Fitzgerald over a half century of political and religious turbulence. The two are on opposite sides of the conflict between the Protestants and the Catholics. Will also works for Queen Elizabeth, who has created the country’s first secret service to give her the information she needs to control England in the face of extremist violence.

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