For over ten years,I balked at the idea of reading this book. Its sheer size put me off, despite many recommendations by library users returning it. “You’ll love it”, they’d say. Eventually I did read it and I did love it. Who would have thought that a book about building a cathedral in medieval England could be so absorbing?
The plot has many twists and turns, there are lots of characters, but the underlying theme of good versus evil, drives the story, like an engine. From the first page we are hooked, Follett makes it impossible to turn aside from a poor family, cold, hungry and wandering in the woods.
After that you are on a rollercoaster of a tale with ups, downs, murder, mayhem, rape, treachery, revenge and saintliness and goodness. All of human life is literally there and I defy you to not get sucked in.
Though the cathedral is the focus of the activity in the novel, it is the strength of the characters that you remember, their resilience and humanity and you are cheering for the “good guys “, all the way.
Follett wrote two more in this series, but for sheer vitality and spectacular story telling this one is hard to beat. Forget the boxed sets, put a long weekend aside and immerse yourself in the Medieval world, and the fictional location of Kingsbridge.
You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.