#1 New York Times Bestseller
An Amazon Best Book of 2020
A thrilling and addictive new novel--a prequel to The Pillars of the Earth--set in England at the dawn of a new era: the Middle Ages
"Just as transporting as [The Pillars of the Earth] . . . A most welcome addition to the Kingsbridge series." --The Washington Post
It is 997 CE, the end of the Dark Ages. England is facing attacks from the Welsh in the west and the Vikings in the east. Those in power bend justice according to their will, regardless of ordinary people and often in conflict with the king. Without a clear rule of law, chaos reigns.
In these turbulent times, three characters find their lives intertwined. A young boatbuilder's life is turned upside down when the only home he's ever known is raided by Vikings, forcing him and his family to move and start their lives anew in a small hamlet where he does not fit in. . . . A Norman noblewoman marries for love, following her husband across the sea to a new land, but the customs of her husband's homeland are shockingly different, and as she begins to realize that everyone around her is engaged in a constant, brutal battle for power, it becomes clear that a single misstep could be catastrophic. . . . A monk dreams of transforming his humble abbey into a center of learning that will be admired throughout Europe. And each in turn comes into dangerous conflict with a clever and ruthless bishop who will do anything to increase his wealth and power.
Thirty years ago, Ken Follett published his most popular novel, The Pillars of the Earth. Now, Follett's masterful new prequel The Evening and the Morning takes us on an epic journey into a historical past rich with ambition and rivalry, death and birth, love and hate, that will end where The Pillars of the Earth begins.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Love, sex, politics, and war all collide in one action-packed historical epic set in the turbulent England of the Dark Ages. Edgar is a poor boatbuilder who finds that cruel acts of fate keep putting his principles to the test. Aldred is a monk with a scandalous secret—he’s desperately in love with a local noblewoman. Ragna is that noblewoman, who’s arrived from Normandy to a very disappointing new life. Author Ken Follett wrote this ambitious tale of three intersecting lives as the prequel to his landmark novel The Pillars of the Earth—but you don’t need to have read that book to get swept up in this epic portrait of a time when wealth and power were gained through murder and marriage, and digging a canal was the height of technology. As the story careens from bloodshed and brutality to heart-melting romance, the constant life-or-death stakes made us burn through this epic at lightning speed. We felt completely transported to this rugged time and place, where mere survival is always foremost on everyone’s mind.
Follett delivers a lackluster prequel to his Kingsbridge series. The structure will feel familiar to series devotees; it centers on the intertwined stories of three people: a man who is good with his hands, an attractive noblewoman, and a cleric. This time, the action spans 997 1007 CE, and the leads are Edgar, Ragna, and Aldred, whose lives intersect multiple times despite their disparate backgrounds. Edgar, the teenage son of a boatbuilder, is planning to run off with a married woman until a Viking attack on his village in the west of England leaves her dead; that tragedy leads to his family's move to Dreng's Ferry, the future Kingsbridge, and to his developing career as a builder. At Dreng's Ferry, he reunites with Ragna, a Norman woman he'd met years earlier, who has married Wilf, the royal official overseeing the area. Ragna, smart, independent, and beautiful, is trapped in an unfulfilling marriage. The "miraculously handsome" Brother Aldred, a scholar, finds himself confronted with corruption in the church, personified in Wilf's cartoonishly evil brother, Wynstan, a bishop. The prose is often stilted and overwrought ("This was the funeral of his hopes"), and the plot elements are derivative of Follett's past work, adding up to an epic full of romance tropes rather than a reimagined time and place. This is only for series completists.
The evening and morning
I enjoyed this book so much, I'm going to go back and read Pillars of the Earth again!
A Master Storyteller
After hungrily devouring The Pillars of the Earth and it’s sequels, I was afraid I would never find another novel I enjoyed as much. Thank you, Mr. Follett, for writing The Evening and the Morning! I sincerely hope there is another Kingsbridge novel in the near future! I yearn for more!!
Stunning and All-Encompassing
I’d been waiting for this novel since Follett announced its release - three years ago. I has no doubt in my mind it would be as masterful as the rest of the series. I finished it in a week. Now I’m sad it’s over. Incredible!!!!!