I have read the novel which this mini-series is based on, yet I still enjoyed watching this. The film is fast paced and the intrigues are well woven. Set in the 12th century in Kingsbridge, England, the main plot is how Prior Philip wants to build a cathedral, but the plan is opposed strongly by the bishop, who wants to use the capital to build a castle for himself. Another important character is Jack, the master builder's foster son, who later will continue his father's work.
I think the series is well made, although I hope Aliena, Jack's mistress, could be played by another actress. Hayley Atwell has a modern face. Aliena is a modern girl - for her time-, but I think Atwell's face is still too modern. She reminds me of Claire Danes in Les Miserables (1998), whose face I also think is too modern. They are beautiful, but not the kind of beauty I imagine for girls in those eras.
After watching Don Camillo, the intrigues in this series scare me, however fictional they are. The priests in Pillars of The Earth are very corrupted that they are not afraid of God anymore, or worse - they think they will be blessed for what they are doing. Bishop Waleran, for example; he tortures himself in the name of Christ and prays to God to forgive all his sins and takes pity on him, yet all the time he continues to lie, hate his brothers - especially Prior Philip- and plans wicked things. The Communist mayor in Don Camillo is a thousand times much better and kinder than priests in this series.