A Game Of Cathedrals: The Pillars Of The Earth

Ken “Don’t Call Me Fallout” Follett is a bestselling author, perhaps best known for the Kingsbridge series, the third and final part of which is scheduled to release in 2017. Daedalic are working on a “game-adaption” of the first book in the series, The Pillars of the Earth [official site], which chronicles the development of Gothic architecture in the 12th century. If that sounds dry (it actually sounds great), fear not – there are plenty of killings and conspiracies.

Handsome. As to how it’ll work, and whether it’ll allow deviation from the events of the book or even introduce new characters in and around the fictional setting, I’m not entirely sure. The novels focus on the construction of a cathedral in a town called Kingsbridge but also take in the wider political and religious concerns of the time, including the life and death of Thomas Beckett. Daedalic promise this won’t just be a companion piece to the novel:

“This game will be more than just complementary media to the book and will instead retell the story in a new, interactive way. A team of about 20 people works to create a multi-platform adaption of this bestseller. The writers are also in contact and co-operation with the Follett Office and Ken Follett himself. Daedalic is the only studio at the time adapting such an epic reading-experience into an interactive format.”

I’ve read The Pillars of the Earth but never got round to the sequel. Maybe I should. If I could have digital adaptations of any historical fiction, right now I’d go for the Shardlake series, which are 16th century whodunnits, a bit like The Name of the Rose if it weren’t written by the preposterously erudite Umberto Eco. Or maybe Sharon Kay Penman’s somewhat overwrought Welsh Princes trilogy, which would probably just be Crusader Kings II.

The Pillars of the Earth is a long way off. Daedalic reckon it’ll be out around the same time that the final book in Follett’s trilogy is ready. 2017 then.


  1. Shar_ds says:

    You should indeed read World Without End, I actually enjoyed it more than the original.

    • Bobsy says:

      Eh, I thought it was a longer-winded rehash of the first book, revisiting all the same character tropes but switching them around a little. Stll, less time is spent thinking up contrivances to keep the two main characters apart until the very end, so there’s that.

    • Joshua Northey says:

      I think the first book is really good. I think I read it three times in my twenties when I had free time.

  2. Blastaz says:

    How can you mention this without pointing out the cracking tv adaptation staring Lovejoy?

    • mattevansc3 says:

      I’m a little confused now. I watched the TV series and thought it was your usual based on real people and events style show but Adam makes it sound like the the book is more Game of Thrones than The White Queen (The Cousin’s War).

      • Blastaz says:

        The Anarchy was real but pretty much every character in the novel was made up. It’s probably more Winter King than White Queen…

  3. andyhavens says:

    I loved “Pillars,” but the 2nd book was so much the same story that it felt like a remake rather than a sequel.

  4. prostetnik says:

    No, no, no, no, no.

    I loved the book to bits when I was young enough to not see through all the fairly cheap character tropes and plot devices, bounced hard off the second one because I was old enough to do, and this trailer just makes me cringe.

    I can still reread the first book, if only for nostalgia’s sake, but this artstyle and voice acting? Just no.


    • Rhodokasaurus says:

      Well, you heard the man, Daedlic. Literary success Pillars of the Earth is not any good. Scrap the project!

      • klops says:

        Well, literary success could mean just big sales. Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons were literary successes. They still were crap.

        Not that I know anyhting about Pillars of Earth.

        • Guvornator says:

          It’s a good book. Some of the characters are pish, though. The villain is utterly one dimensional , and the main character goes from from being distraught over his dead wife to shagging some woman he just met in the woods in about 3 pages. Of the first chapter.

        • alms says:

          I haven’t read either but some people whose judgment I used to trust told me it was pretty typical chart topping best selling tripe, which seems to agree with what the man up there was saying.

          Someone down there mentioned gratuitous sexual assaults, and usually gratuitous sex works pretty well for sales.

    • mrvandemar says:

      I really liked the art style. I have not read any of the books, maybe that makes a difference.

    • beforever says:

      I have to agree with a couple of the comments, although I realise this is about a game not book.

      I tried a couple of times to get into it, but honestly the guy writes like a five year old, the sentences remind me of Stevie from Malcolm in the Middle.

      “There was a man. He had red hair. He had a thing. Stuff happened.”

      It reads like a contest to see how many periods you can cram into 800 pages and still convey some sort of story.

  5. ainokmw says:

    I studied the Anarchy and the Reign of Stephen during my undergrad and graduate history work. A whole chapter of my undergrad thesis was on Matilda’s land grants.

    So I was excited about the popularity of Pillars of the Earth, because I think it’s a really fascinating piece of English history.

    But then I read it, and, yeah. My main issue with it is that Follett comes across as a little… rape fetish-y for me. He seems to really enjoy writing gratuitous sexual assault scenes.

    • Bobsy says:

      The gratuitousness of sex scenes is a common problem in historical fiction, not just Follett, and as y say, goes startlingly quickly into gratuitous rape scenes. It’s where Game of Thrones gets it from, of course.

    • Joshua Northey says:

      Well sexual assault was you know, a very common feature of human existence until extremely recently.

  6. klops says:

    They’ve used Pillars of Earth quite well in multiple medias/formats/whatevers. From book to tv series, board game and a computer game.

  7. FriendlyPsicopath says:

    Tom the builder hype!

  8. Premium User Badge

    Risingson says:

    Well, just to go against the general opinion, the book felt crap to me when I tried to read it for the first time. I even preferred the more straightforward pulpy approach of the six twins bestseller than this overbloated piece of trope after trope.

    But Ken Follett was never a constantly good writer, but a very smart one.

    • Premium User Badge

      Risingson says:

      BTW, it’s funny when I see the movie adaptations, of these best seller mediocre stories full of filler, and people complain that the book is better. Funny as I cannot stop laughing hard. “Angels and Demons” for example, was a perfect adaptation: embracing the pulp hard and going as ridiculous as the rule of awesome could allow.

  9. Shinryoma says:

    You guys know there’s also an excellent worker placement Pillars of the Earth board game as well. In my case, that’s how I knew about the book and TV series.