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A Novel
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New York Times BestsellerThe 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...
New York Times BestsellerThe 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...
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Description-

  • 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.

Excerpts-

  • From the cover

    Chapter 1

     

    Seen from a plane, the car would have looked like a slow beetle creeping across an endless beach, the sun glinting off its polished black armor. In fact it was doing thirty miles per hour, the maximum safe speed on a road that had unexpected potholes and cracks. No one wanted to get a flat tire in the Sahara Desert.

     

    The road led north from N'Djamena, capital city of Chad, through the desert toward Lake Chad, the biggest oasis in the Sahara. The landscape was a long, flat vista of sand and rock with a few pale yellow dried-up bushes and a random scatter of large and small stones, everything the same shade of mid-tan, as bleak as a moonscape.

     

    The desert was unnervingly like outer space, Tamara Levit thought, with the car as a rocket ship. If anything went wrong with her space suit she could die. The comparison was fanciful and made her smile. All the same she glanced into the back of the car, where there were two reassuringly large plastic demijohns of water, enough to keep them all alive in an emergency until help arrived, probably.

     

    The car was American. It was designed for difficult terrain, with high clearance and low gearing. It had tinted windows, and Tamara was wearing sunglasses, but even so the light glared off the concrete road and hurt her eyes.

     

    All four people in the car wore shades. The driver, Ali, was a local man, born and raised here in Chad. In the city he wore blue jeans and a T-shirt, but today he had on a floor-length robe called a galabiya, with a loose cotton scarf wound around his head, traditional clothing for protection from the merciless sun.

     

    Next to Ali in the front was an American soldier, Corporal Peter Ackerman. The rifle held loosely across his knees was a US Army standard-issue short-barreled lightweight carbine. He was about twenty years old, one of those young men who seemed to overflow with chirpy friendliness. To Tamara, who was almost thirty, he seemed ridiculously young to be carrying a lethal weapon. But he had no lack of confidence-one time he had even had the cheek to ask her for a date. "I like you, Pete, but you're much too young for me," she had said.

     

    Beside Tamara in the rear seat was Tabdar "Tab" Sadoul, an attachŽ at the European Union mission in N'Djamena. Tab's glossy mid-brown hair was fashionably long, but otherwise he looked like an off-duty business executive, in khakis and a sky-blue button-down shirt, the sleeves rolled to show brown wrists.

     

    She was attached to the American embassy in N'Djamena, and she wore her regular working clothes, a long-sleeved dress over trousers, with her dark hair tucked into a headscarf. It was a practical outfit that offended no one, and with her brown eyes and olive skin she did not even look like a foreigner. In a high-crime country such as Chad it was safer not to stand out, especially for a woman.

     

    She was keeping an eye on the odometer. They had been on the road a couple of hours but now they were close to their destination. Tamara was tense about the meeting ahead. A lot hung on it, including her own career.

     

    "Our cover story is a fact-finding mission," she said. "Do you know much about the lake?"

     

    "Enough, I think," Tab said. "The Chari River rises in central Africa, runs eight hundred and seventy miles, and stops here. Lake Chad sustains several million people in four countries: Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon, and Chad. They're small farmers, graziers, and fishermen. Their favorite fish is the Nile perch, which can grow to six feet long and four hundred...

About the Author-

  • Ken Follett is one of the world's best-loved authors, selling more than 170 million copies of his thirty-two 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 sequels, World Without End and A Column of Fire, proved equally popular, and the Kingsbridge series has sold more than forty million copies worldwide. Follett lives in Hertfordshire, England, with his wife, Barbara. Between them they have five children, six grandchildren, and two Labradors.

    January LaVoy is a stage, television, and voice actress. She performed on Broadway in Enron and on television in One Life to Live, All My Children, Law & Order, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Law & Order: SVU, and Guiding Light.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from September 6, 2021
    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.

  • AudioFile Magazine January LaVoy narrates this epic novel encompassing characters of various nationalities, ethnicities, social standings, politics, and motives. LaVoy performs each character with an identifiable voice, keeping listeners engaged and attuned. This cautionary tale strikes on a visceral level as global misunderstandings snowball into the threat of a nuclear war. As the intensity escalates, LaVoy's performance rises to the challenge. Follett skillfully weaves four interconnected plotlines: the first female U.S. president juggles global disasters and domestic rivals, a Chinese official combats militaristic leaders, intelligence operatives track drug-smuggling terrorists, and a young widow fights human traffickers. LaVoy's well-crafted narration lifts this powerful novel off the pages. Listeners will be riveted as the unimaginable becomes possible, and LaVoy's narration becomes unpausable. M.M.W. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award � AudioFile 2021, Portland, Maine

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