So this was a 1000 page doorstopper, and apparently the first of a trilogy. And you know what? Bring it on.
Set in England during those dicey years before the Plantagenet crew really took hold, it’s basically the story of the building of a cathedral. But the thing about building a cathedral, especially in these early days? It’s a community endeavor headed by Some Guy (Tom Builder to start with in this case) but it must be a feat of sustained passion for the whole community. Plus sometimes the building falls apart. And sometimes the next door evil lord steals your quarry and all your building crew. Not to mention war, famine, natural disasters, etc. And you can get it mostly done before you notice it seems a little, ehrm, rickety. Welp, back to the drawing board. Which is quite literally a board with some sort of basic outline on it.
The degree of difficulty was insane, too. Stone blocks were cut and shaped by hand, which required an extremely good eye for that sort of thing. Fortunately some builders had run across Euclid’s basic geometry principles. And as a former Geometry teacher, that did my heart so much good. Yes, kids, you may not ever use this in real life, but some people do! And they create these marvels that we can still only wonder it to this day.
So there was also much plot, and quite a cast of characters, some historically famous and others not, and some especially well done female protagonists (not royal nor trading off their looks), which is rather rare in this genre. So if you are into treachery and backstabbing, unexpected loyalties, and a lot of architectural detail, not to mention a sweeping tale, settle back and enjoy!