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“Absorbing, painlessly educational, and a great deal of fun.” —The Washington Post
International bestselling author Ken Follett has enthralled millions of readers with The Pillars of the Earth and World Without End, two stories of the Middle Ages set in the fictional city of Kingsbridge. The saga now continues with Follett’s magnificent new epic, A Column of Fire.
In 1558, the ancient stones of Kingsbridge Cathedral look down on a city torn apart by religious conflict. As power in England shifts precariously between Catholics and Protestants, royalty and commoners clash, testing friendship, loyalty, and love.
Ned Willard wants nothing more than to marry Margery Fitzgerald. But when the lovers find themselves on opposing sides of the religious conflict dividing the country, Ned goes to work for Princess Elizabeth. When she becomes queen, all Europe turns against England. The shrewd, determined young monarch sets up the country’s first secret service to give her early warning of assassination plots, rebellions, and invasion plans. Over a turbulent half century, the love between Ned and Margery seems doomed as extremism sparks violence from Edinburgh to Geneva. Elizabeth clings to her throne and her principles, protected by a small, dedicated group of resourceful spies and courageous secret agents.
The real enemies, then as now, are not the rival religions. The true battle pitches those who believe in tolerance and compromise against the tyrants who would impose their ideas on everyone else—no matter what the cost.
Set during one of the most turbulent and revolutionary times in history, A Column of Fire is one of Follett’s most exciting and ambitious works yet. It will delight longtime fans of the Kingsbridge series and is the perfect introduction for readers new to Ken Follett.
|Publisher:||Penguin Publishing Group|
|Series:||Kingsbridge Series , #3|
|Product dimensions:||5.90(w) x 9.50(h) x 1.80(d)|
About the Author
Ken Follett is one of the world’s best-loved authors, selling more than 160 million copies of his thirty books. Follett’s first bestseller was Eye of the Needle, a spy story set in the Second World War.
In 1989 The Pillars of the Earth was published and has since become Follett’s most popular novel. It reached number one on bestseller lists around the world and was an Oprah’s Book Club pick.
Its sequel, World Without End, proved equally popular and the Kingsbridge series has sold 38 million copies worldwide.
Follett lives in Hertfordshire, England, with his wife Barbara. Between them they have five children, six grandchildren, and three Labradors.
Date of Birth:June 5, 1949
Place of Birth:Cardiff, Wales
Education:B.A. in Philosophy, University College, London, 1970
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A wonderful conclusion to a magnificent series told from a very different perspective......thoughtful reflection of a lifetime. As I have lately been prone to self introspection, I thank you Mr. Follett...to the last!
Intellegent,thoufhtful,well researched,,book.took me 4 days and nights to read.Did not want to put it down. He is an amazing writer . I've read all his books was never bored or thrown off by poor phrasing or inaccurate settings. This book is WONDERFUL.
This book was hard to put down. Characters were well-defined. Really caught the spirit of the Elizabethan age.
Column of Fire by Ken Follet - Knightsbridge, #3 From people who think that: "...the essence of religion was submission to authority." p. 41 to "Her Majesty the Queen (Elizabeth I) believes that religion was given to us for consolation in this life and salvation in the next and that we may disagree about it but we should never let it be a cause of violence between one Englishman and another." p. 512 With these words, Ken Follet sets up the tone for his newest epic novel. After the death of Mary I in 1558, Elizabeth struggles to keep the power that she has gained after been crowned queen. Ned Willard, a Protestant from Knightsbridge is working hard to keep his queen in power. Ned was the son of Alice Willard, a successful merchant on Knightsbridge. He was in love with Margery Fitzgerald, a Catholic. Margery's family objected to their love -- because they had different religions and their families were rivals in town. Ned was forced to go work for Sir William Cecil after the Fitzgeralds ruined his family. In his new job, Ned has to assume the role of head of the first secret service to give Elizabeth early warnings of assassination plots, rebellions and invasion plans from the Catholic monarchs in Scotland, France, and Spain. Over a turbulent half-century -- 1558 - 1620 -- the love between Ned and Margery seems doomed as extremism sparks violence from Edinborough to Madrid and Paris. Elizabeth clings to her throne and her principles protected by a small, dedicated group of resourceful spies and courageous secret agents. The book is nothing more than the feud between Catholics and Protestants. From The Pope, King Felipe II of Spain, and Mary Stuart, queen of Scotland -- the powerful extremist Catholic monarchs -- to the Royals in France and Queen Elizabeth, the tolerant royals -- the book is nothing more than an attempt of the countries' nobles to gain power using religion as their excuse to plot, kill, and surround themselves with the ability to further their claim to riches and control of their respective countries. Beautifully narrated from the third person point of view, the characters are real -- they actually are three-dimensional and the plot is surprisingly good -- could barely put the book down. The writer is very smart as he uses his fictional characters: Ned Willard, Barney Willard, Margery Fitzgerald, Rollo Fitzgerald, and Pierre Aumand de Guise to narrate the story of the latter half of the sixteenth century and the beginning of the seventeenth century. Thanks to the perspectives of these fictional characters history become alive and you're inserted in one of the most turbulent and revolutionary times in history. As Ned reflects towards the end of the book: "...the three great women of the sixteenth century were now dead: Elizabeth, Queen Caterina of France, and Margherita of Parma, governor of the Netherlands. They had all tried to stop men killing one another over religion. Looking back, it seemed to him that their achievements had been pitifully limited. Evil men had always frustrated their efforts of the peacemakers. Bloody religious wars had raged for decades in France and the Netherlands. Only England had remained more or less at peace." p. 844 Although the book is the third in a series, it is a stand-alone book. I enjoyed it immensely and think it should be read by anyone who loves spy thrillers or history.
Keen Follett gives you everything you look for in an historic novel. Lots of action, plot complications, love interests, and insights into life in other times and places.
I'm already anticipating the next installment. I have read every book he has written, The Pillars of the Earth is by far my favorite book of all time and connecting with the "family" of Kingsbridge again has been a welcome reunion.