The saga that has enthralled the millions of readers of The Pillars of the Earth and World Without End now continues with Ken Follett's magnificent, gripping A Column of Fire.
Christmas 1558, and young Ned Willard returns home to Kingsbridge to find his world has changed.
The ancient stones of Kingsbridge Cathedral look down on a city torn by religious hatred. Europe is in turmoil as high principles clash bloodily with friendship, loyalty and love, and Ned soon finds himself on the opposite side from the girl he longs to marry, Margery Fitzgerald.
Then Elizabeth Tudor becomes queen and all of 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.
Elizabeth knows that alluring, headstrong Mary Queen of Scots lies in wait in Paris. Part of a brutally ambitious French family, Mary has been proclaimed the rightful ruler of England, with her own supporters scheming to get rid of the new queen.
Over a turbulent half-century, the love between Ned and Margery seems doomed, as extremism sparks violence from Edinburgh to Geneva. With Elizabeth clinging precariously to her throne and her principles, protected by a small, dedicated group of resourceful spies and courageous secret agents, it becomes clear that 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 the cost.
PRAISE FOR A COLUMN OF FIRE
"Absorbing . . . impossible to resist." Washington Post
"Fans of Follett's epic sagas The Pillars of the Earth and World Without End, set in the Middle Ages in the fictional city of Kingsbridge, will be thrilled by this latest installment." New York Post
"An immersive journey through the tumultuous world of 16th century Europe and some of the bloodiest religious wars in history. Follett's sprawling novel is a fine mix of heart-pounding drama and erudite historicism." Publisher's Weekly
"A fiery tale set in the latter half of the sixteenth century . . . As always, Follett excels in historical detailing, transporting readers back in time with another meaty historical blockbuster." Booklist
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
The third instalment of Ken Follett’s Kingsbridge series is set in the mid–16th century, when religious tensions threaten to ruin a small English town. Young Ned Willard is so riled up by the battles between Protestants and Catholics that he sets off to work for Elizabeth Tudor, who promises tolerance should she ascend to England’s throne. Follett’s rich, labyrinthine novel entwines England’s domestic and international tumult with Ned’s personal trials, creating a vivid picture of Elizabethan-era history that shows how the seismic changes of the Reformation affected everyday lives.
Treasonous plots, family rifts, and international political intrigue abound in the third installment of Follett's (Pillars of the Earth) Kingsbridge series of historical dramas. In the middle of 16th-century England, Kingsbridge Cathedral stands above a town divided by religious conflict. Queen "Bloody Mary" Tudor is killing Protestants. When 18-year-old nobleman Ned Willard loses his sweetheart Margery and his family's importing business to Margery's upward-climbing Catholic family after the queen condemns them for being pro-Protestant, he decides to join Protestant Princess Elizabeth Tudor's secret service. Ned and Margery's love for each other sustains itself despite decades and miles apart, but can it survive their ideological differences? This sweeping epic delivers suspense, history, and romance in equally satisfying, if sometimes heavy-handed, measures. Follett makes use of multiple winding plotlines and optimistic characters equipped to see any battle through to the end. The novel is an immersive journey through the tumultuous world of 16th-century Europe and some of the bloodiest religious wars in history. Follett's sprawling novel is a fine mix of heart-pounding drama and erudite historicism.
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