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.
The book is a series of linked melodramas written in the style of a modern thriller, with clear, easy-to-read, fast-moving language. The main theme of the book is the evolution of English society into a nation of laws rather than the capricious whims of the powerful. Clever, hard-working people who want to fulfill their dreams of building the cathedral are consistently opposed by the machinations of the local nobility. At first, I thought the book was going to be like a less-fantastical Game of Thrones, with multiple complex point-of-view characters that had layers of overlapping or equally compelling claims and goals. I was mistaken. The book instead began to feel like The Smurfs, with a depraved, rapey Gargamel constantly after the good guys in an almost episodic format.
Fortunately for me, I like The Smurfs. I enjoyed reading about the cleverness of the protagonists and their problem-solving using medieval technology. The unfamiliar historical time period provided a fascinating setting. And the characters themselves were rich and well-drawn, if a bit cartoony and at times driven by plot.
This is not a perfect book. Many books that I have given 4 stars to are much better-written, with more nuance and complexity and beautiful language. I gave this one 5 stars because I cared about the characters (at one point shedding tears), and I was entertained throughout. I had 5 stars worth of fun.
Rating: 5 stars.