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A Column of Fire
Cover of A Column of Fire
A Column of Fire
The Pillars of the Earth Series, Book 3
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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER“Absorbing . . . impossible to resist.” —The Washington PostAs Europe erupts, can one young spy protect his queen? #1 New York...
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER“Absorbing . . . impossible to resist.” —The Washington PostAs Europe erupts, can one young spy protect his queen? #1 New York...
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  • #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

    “Absorbing . . . impossible to resist.” —The Washington Post

    As Europe erupts, can one young spy protect his queen? #1 New York Times bestselling author Ken Follett takes us deep into the treacherous world of powerful monarchs, intrigue, murder, and treason with his magnificent new epic, A Column of Fire. A thrilling read that makes the perfect gift for the holidays.

     
    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.

Excerpts-

  • From the cover Prologue

    We hanged him in front of Kingsbridge Cathedral. It is the usual place for executions. After all, if you can’t kill a man in front of God’s face you probably shouldn’t kill him at all.

    The sheriff brought him up from the dungeon below the guildhall, hands tied behind his back. He walked upright, his pale face defiant, fearless.

    The crowd jeered at him and cursed him. He seemed not to see them. But he saw me. Our eyes met, and in that momentary exchange of looks there was a lifetime.

    I was responsible for his death, and he knew it.

    I had been hunting him for decades. He was a bomber who would have killed half the rulers of our country, including most of the royal family, all in one act of bloodthirsty savagery—if I had not stopped him.

    I have spent my life tracking such would‑be murderers, and a lot of them have been executed—not just hanged but drawn and quartered, the more terrible death reserved for the worst offenders.

    Yes, I have done this many times: watched a man die knowing that I, more than anyone else, had brought him to his just but dreadful punishment. I did it for my country, which is dear to me; for my sovereign, whom I serve; and for something else, a principle, the belief that a person has the right to make up his own mind about God.

    He was the last of many men I sent to hell, but he made me think of the first . . .

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.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    July 17, 2017
    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.

  • AudioFile Magazine Narrator John Lee returns to Kingsbridge, the fictitious English city of Ken Follett's historical fiction epics based in the Middle Ages. Now in the shadow of Martin Luther's Reformation and Bloody Mary's persecution of heretics in the mid-sixteenth century, the Willard and Fitzgerald families find themselves on opposite sides of the struggle between Protestants and Catholics. Lee capably portrays a wide cast of characters--from the furiously righteous Rollo, who murders in the name of God, to the quietly confident French woman, Sylvie, who risks her life to distribute Bibles. But the most remarkable aspect of this intense historical novel is the narrative suspense created by Follett as disruption sweeps across Europe, and Lee's talent for crisp, rich narration does it justice. N.M.C. � AudioFile 2017, Portland, Maine

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The Pillars of the Earth Series, Book 3
Ken Follett
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