The Pillars of the Earth books by Ken Follett are immersive and evocative works. These historical fiction novels create a grandiose world that is rich with numerous perspectives that span multiple generations throughout centuries.
The first book Follett wrote that takes place in the town of Kingsbridge, England was The Pillars of the Earth. While the name of the series is officially Kingsbridge, the first book has colloquially become a stand in for the series name as well.
If you enjoy historical fiction, this series is a classic that you should absolutely read.
The Pillars of the Earth Books in Order of Publication
There are two ways to read The Pillars of the Earth series. The first is the order in which Follett wrote and published the books, which is how millions of readers first explored Kingsbridge. This is the most straight-forward way to read the books and guarantees there won’t be any spoilers.
Each book does take place in a new era, however, so it is theoretically possible to read the books in any order. The Pillars of the Earth was written as a standalone and Follett only returned to this world two decades later.
It isn’t recommended to read the books in just any order though because of the aforementioned spoilers. As well as since following the same families through generations enhances your reading experience and adds nuance.
- The Pillars of the Earth (1989)
- World Without End (2007)
- A Column of Fire (2017)
- The Evening and the Morning (2020)
- The Armor of Light (2023)
Chronological Order of Kingsbridge Books
The second way you can read The Pillars of the Earth books is by following the chronological order. More than 30 years after Follett wrote the first Kingsbridge novel, he revisited the small English town with a prequel.
While you can read the series in this order for the first time, there is a magic in beginning the series with the book that garnered such fame and attention that put Follett’s name on the map.
However, if you do wish to read the series in chronological order, this reading order will have you begin in 997 CE during the Dark Ages as England faces attacks from the Welsh and the Vikings. The prequel will end where The Pillars of the Earth begins in the twelfth century as the construction of the Kingsbridge Cathedral begins.
The next book begins two centuries later as the Black Death rages on before A Column of Fire begins in 1558. Finally, the latest book in the series begins in 1770 as yet a new dawn is heralded for society.
- The Evening and the Morning
- The Pillars of the Earth
- World Without End
- A Column of Fire
- The Armor of Light
If you’d like to learn more about everything Follett has written, you can read our article about the Ken Follett Books in Order.