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The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

The Pillars of the Earth is over 1,000 pages long and at times feels more like an installment in the Game of Thrones series than historical fiction. Set in the 1100s during The Anarchy, when civil war in England led to widespread violence, lawlessness and instability, it's epic in scale, spanning decades, and yet despite this things often seem to happen remarkably quickly - it's quite a rollercoaster ride.

There are numerous different plot strands, all of which are connected, one way or another, to the building of a cathedral. To build Kingsbridge Cathedral is the burning ambition of Tom, a master builder, for whom the project not only represents employment for the rest of his working life and financial security for his family, but also the pinnacle of his achievement: to build a beautiful cathedral is all he's ever wanted to do. Philip, the Benedictine prior of Kingsbridge, wants to run a thriving monastery with a prosperous estate and the new cathedral will bring in much…

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