The Pillars of the Earth (The Pillars of the Earth #1)

By Ken Follett; Published In 1989
Genres: Historical, Fiction
But the lesson of Abraham's story is that God demands the best we have to offer, that which is most precious to us.

Culture clash is terrific drama

Don't look so sad," she said. Her eyes were full of tears.
"I can't help it," he said. "I am sad."
"I'm sorry I've made you so unhappy."
"Don't be sorry for that. Be sorry that you made me so happy. That's what hurts, woman. That you made me so happy.

Hard work should be rewarded by good food.

Having faith in God did not mean sitting back and doing nothing. It meant believing you would find success if you did your best honestly and energetically.

He had been granted his life's wish-but conditionally.

He had seen - clever, clever boy that he was - that she could not be won by wooing; and he had approached her sidelong, as a friend rather than a lover, meeting her in the woods and telling her stories and making her love him without her noticing.

His aim was the glory of God, but the glory of Philip pleased him too.

How terrible, Jack thought, to be old and know that your life has been wasted.

Hunger is the best seasoning.

I imagined it. I wrote it. But I guess I never thought I'd see it.

In both cases, weakness and scruples had defeated strength and ruthlessness.

It's like knowing your way through the forest. You don't keep the whole forest in your mind, but wherever you are, you know where to go next.

It was an odd thing to do, to stand in a street in the hope of seeing someone who hardly knew him, but he did not want to move.

I’ve worked with volunteers before,” he began. “It’s important not to… not to treat them like servants. We may feel that they are laboring to obtain a heavenly reward, and should therefore work harder than they would for money; but they don’t necessarily take that attitude. They feel they’re working for nothing, and doing a great kindness to us thereby; and if we seem ungrateful they will work slowly and make mistakes. It will be best to rule them with a light touch.

Knotty theological questions are the least worrying of problems to me. Why? Because they will be resolved in the hereafter, and meanwhile they can be safely shelved.

Nevertheless, the book gave Jack a feeling he had never had before, that the past was like a story, in which one thing led to another, and the world was not a boundless mystery, but a finite thing that could be comprehended.

Proportion is the heart of beauty.

She looked at his young face, so full of concern and tenderness; and she remembered why she had run away from everyone else and sought solitude here. She yearned to kiss him, and she saw the answering longing in his eyes. Every fiber of her body told her to throw herself into his arms, but she knew what she had to do. She wanted to say, I love you like a thunderstorm, like a lion, like a helpless rage; but instead she said: "I think I'm going to marry Alfred.

She loved him because he had brought her back to life. She had been like a caterpillar in a cocoon, and he had drawn her out and shown her that she was a butterfly.

She wanted to say 'I love you like a thunderstorm, like a lion, like a helpless rage'...

She was unique: there was something abnormal about her, and it was that abnormal something that made her magnetic.

The duck swallows the worm, the fox kills the duck, the men shoot the fox, and the devil hunts the men.

The most expensive part of building is the mistakes.

There was a long moment of silence. Philip was holding his breath. When Remigius looked up again, his face was wet with tears. "Yes , please, Father," he said. "I want to come home."

Philip felt a glow of joy. "Come on, then," he said. "Get on my horse."

Remigius looked flabbergasted.

Jonathan said: "Father! What are you doing?"
Philip said to Remigius: "Go on, do as I say."
Jonathan was horified, "but Ftaher, how will you travel?"
"I'll walk," Philip said happily. "One of us must."
"Let Remigius walk!" Jonathan said in a tone of outrage.
"Let him ride," Philip said, "He's pleased God today."
"What about you? Haven't you pleased God more than Remigius?"
"Jesus said there's more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people," Philip countered. "Don't you remember the parable of the prodigal son? When he came home, his father killed the fatted calf. The angels are rejoicing over Remigius's tears. The least I can do is give him my horse.

To someone standing in the nave, looking down the length of the church toward the east, the round window would seem like a huge sun exploding into innumerable shards of gorgeous color.

What you’re doing is wrong,” he said. “I mean evil. To give up happiness like this is like throwing jewels into the ocean. It’s far worse than any sin.

When things are simple, fewer mistakes are made. The most expensive part of a building is the mistakes.

When you're thinking, please remember this: excessive pride is a familiar sin, but a man may just as easily frustrate the will of God through excessive humility.

You never know," Jack said speculatively. "There may come a time when savages like William Hamleigh aren't in power; when the laws protect the ordinary people instead of enslaving them; when the king makes peace instead of war. Think of that - a time when towns in England don't need walls!