New York Times Bestseller
The new must-read epic from master storyteller Ken Follett: more than a thriller, it’s an action-packed, globe-spanning drama set in the present day.
“A compelling story, and only too realistic.” —Lawrence H. Summers, former U.S. Treasury Secretary
“Every catastrophe begins with a little problem that doesn’t get fixed.” So says Pauline Green, president of the United States, in Follett’s nerve-racking drama of international tension.
A shrinking oasis in the Sahara Desert; a stolen US Army drone; an uninhabited Japanese island; and one country’s secret stash of deadly chemical poisons: all these play roles in a relentlessly escalating crisis.
Struggling to prevent the outbreak of world war are a young woman intelligence officer; a spy working undercover with jihadists; a brilliant Chinese spymaster; and Pauline herself, beleaguered by a populist rival for the next president election.
Never is an extraordinary novel, full of heroines and villains, false prophets and elite warriors, jaded politicians and opportunistic revolutionaries. It brims with cautionary wisdom for our times, and delivers a visceral, heart-pounding read that transports readers to the brink of the unimaginable.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
In superstar novelist Ken Follett’s what-if political thriller, the world races toward Armageddon. U.S. President Pauline Green is facing a complex web of conflicts between the world’s superpowers, which could escalate into a nuclear war. Meanwhile, a young widow from conflict-ridden Chad tries to escape to Europe with her child. Follett treats these two very different women with a documentarian’s eye for detail and a war reporter’s unflinching gaze. From the political grandstanding to a terrorist drug ring, a sense of urgency runs throughout Follett’s near-future world, where an everyday action like checking your phone can trigger international calamity. Never is so exciting—and so plausible—you won’t want to look away.
In this terrific international thriller from MWA Grand Master Follett (Eye of the Needle), President Pauline Green, a moderate Republican who's up for reelection, must contend for the nomination with far-right Sen. James Moore, whose macho talk appeals to many Republican voters. On the foreign policy front, Green wants to punish the Chinese for selling arms to terrorists, so she proposes a resolution against them in the United Nations. This is the first move in a political chess game between China and the U.S. that could lead to all-out war. At home, Green and her husband are having difficulties with their bright 14-year-old daughter, who's being disruptive in school. Meanwhile, in N'Djamena, the capital of Chad, CIA officer Tamara Levit is running Abdul John Haddad, a 25-year-old cigarette vendor, as a spy on the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara. These are just a few of the plotlines Follett lays out in detail and then slowly weaves together as the stakes and the suspense steadily rise. By the final pages all is made clear, and the shocked reader realizes that the story hasn't ended, it's just beginning. This is a powerful, commanding performance from one of the top writers in the genre.
A little slow starting out but then the paced quickened. It is not beyond the realm of possibility that this novel could someday become reality. So sad that would be.
Starts slowly; a bit fragmented but 2nd half picks up
Ken Follett has painted several characters in a fairly cartoonish manner making many of their actions and decisions illogical. Follett demonstrates an unexpectedly shallow understanding of American ideals, morality and politics. Because of its modern day setting and what we know of global politics and international relations, the story stretches our credulity to the breaking point. Despite this, there are some exciting segments of the novel, mostly those occurring on the North African continent, that will be informative and memorable for many readers.