Apple's free 12 Days of Christmas giveaway continues with the Ken Follett novel The Pillars of the Earth.
The best selling author describes the novel as "my most popular book," which is set in a time of civil war, famine and religious strife in Kingsbridge. "Against this backdrop, lives entwine: Tom, the master builder, Aliena, the noblewoman, Philip, the prior of Kingsbridge, Jack, the artist in stone and Ellen, the woman from the forest who casts a curse. At once, this is a sensuous and enduring love story and an epic that shines with the fierce spirit of a passionate age," the book's blurb notes.
The first edition of The Pillars of the Earth was published by William Morrow, New York in 1989. In 1999 a special collector’s edition of The Pillars of the Earth was published by Penguin Puttnam to mark the 10th anniversary of the original edition. To date, The Pillars of the Earth has been published in 30 languages.
"It still sells about 100 000 copies a year in paperback in the US, it was number one in the UK and Italy and it was on the German best seller list for six years. It’s overwhelmingly the book that readers talk to me about when I meet them in bookshops. It’s becoming a cult," insists Follett, who is billed as one of the world’s best-loved novelists, with over 130 million copies of his books sold worldwide.
Follett adds: "When I started talking about the idea, some of my friends were quite shocked. They said, "you know, you’ve had a lot of success with these thrillers, are you sure you want to write about building a church?'
"However, those of my friends who are writers saw immediately how the building of the church would be the spine of the story and the focus for the lives of all the characters. I knew it had to be a long book. It took at least thirty years to build a cathedral and most took longer because they would run out of money, or be attacked or invaded. So the story covers the entire lives of the main characters."
The Pillars of the Earth is free until midnight tonight.
Update: The link from the official Apple 12 Days app is showing £8.99 - those wanting to download the book free need to go to the iTunes Store, click on the 12 Days banner and do so from there.
Update 2: Twitter users report the link from the official Apple 12 Days app now appears to be fixed.
The 12 Days of Christmas promotion runs until 6 January - with each gift only available for 24 hours.
You can download each via your iDevice or your computer and Apple notes: "To access these gifts, the Region Format setting on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch needs to match your iTunes Store account."
The official Apple 'iTunes - 12 Days of Christmas' is compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation), iPod touch (5th generation) and iPad and requires iOS 5.0 or later.
Check back here everyday to see what you could be downloading free.