I spent my train journeys to and from Preston this weekend completely immersed in Ken Follett's historical masterpiece the Pillars of the Earth.
Set in 12th century England during a time known as the Anarchy, Follett's epic, 900 pages in print and over 40 hours in audio, charts the building of a cathedral and the associated trials and tribulations of the people in the fictional town of Kingsbridge.
Pillars is: dramatic, shocking, brutal, heart rending, informative, moving and much more. Other than stories set against the backdrop of WW II, I have not read much historical fiction. I am astounded at the extent to which Pillars has grabbed my attention and refuses to let go.
For me the test of any book is the amount of time I spend thinking about it and whether or not the characters are believable. Pillars scores highly on both counts. The world Follett has conjured in my imagination seems like a very real place, one which I look forward to escaping to at every possible opportunity.