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A Column of Fire (Kingsbridge) Audio CD – Unabridged, September 12, 2017
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“Deeply researched . . . compelling . . . A Column of Fire is absorbing, painlessly educational, and a great deal of fun.”
—The Washington Post
“Follett’s historical epics, including this one, evoke the Romantic adventures of Alexandre Dumas. Derring-do and double-crosses . . . A Column of Fire burns bright throughout.”
—The Christian Science Monitor
“Full of adventure and suspense, A Column of Fire is an inspiring and thrilling portrait of one of Europe’s most perilous times in history.”
“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
“[Follett is a] master of the sweeping, readable epic.”
—The Philadelphia Inquirer
“English-history mavens will find much to savor in Follett’s third Kingsbridge novel.”
—AARP The Magazine
“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.”
“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.”
About the Author
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.
- Publisher : Penguin Audio; Unabridged edition (September 12, 2017)
- Language : English
- ISBN-10 : 0525497145
- ISBN-13 : 978-0525497141
- Item Weight : 1.2 pounds
- Dimensions : 5.1 x 2.2 x 6 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #462,405 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
"A timely novel highlighting the worth and delicate nature of Nature itself." -Delia Owens Learn more
Top reviews from the United States
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Two things first: Ken Follett gets back to Kingsbridge, his fictional town in England, for the third time, ten years after “World Without End” and 28 (!) years after “The Pillars of the Earth”. But it is not really a sequel. Yes, he makes a lot of references. But the plot is individual and you can read absolutely this book without even seeing the two others.
Second point: This is not a medieval novel, as some say. It plays in Modern History, right after the reformation by the German monk Martin Luther (these days exactly 500 years ago). It plays a little later in the 16th century when in England first the Catholics burnt the Protestants and then the Protestants burnt the Catholics on the stake. When France was devastated by terrible wars of religion. And when Spain reached the heyday of its power – and gave it away to an awakening England, powered by religious tolerance (kind of) and the beginning of democracy (kind of).
Main character is Ned Willard (I almost wrote Ned Flanders). He has a great future as a merchant. And because this is a Follett we would become of course an honest merchant with values that match perfectly our values in the 21st century. But there are evil villains, sexist and racist, very bad according to these our values and these guys giving him a hard time.
And that’s the problem with this Ken Follett like with (almost) every Ken Follett else: The good guys are almost perfect; the bad guys are just mean and without any good quality. Everything is black or white, good or evil. But experience told us that the world is gray and evil characters are more interesting if they are complicated.
If this is NOT your first Ken Follett novel you probably know what I mean. And if this is not your first Ken Follett novel you will also read this one. Because they are real page-turners. Because Follett is such a good writer that you never lose track, also there are so many persons and plots. This guy can write and he never stops thinking about his readers. Und you read this books because you can learn so much about history. Here as well: The most important events of the 16th century are described with many details. Yes, I love history. But with books like that everyone can experience the glamour of history. And after about 1150 pages you are sad that this is over. Not the common reaction to a history book.
You like that review? Than I am grateful for a vote. If not please leave a comment. Because to help other readers is the sole purpose of this review. And sorry for the English, not a native speaker (German).
Unfortunately, it was just really bad. The book had nothing to do with Kingsbridge, which was disappointing, but I could have gotten over that, IF the book had contained rich characters and plots like the first two books. Instead, this book featured super boring characters who meandered their way through 900 pages of ABSOLUTELY NO PLOT. Additionally, there were about five new people introduced per page, all with similar names (Francis, Henri), and you never knew if they were going to be major characters, or if they would never be mentioned again. I seriously started taking notes. I have about five handwritten pages of names....and I'd say about 10% turned out to be recurring characters. The other 90% had no impact on the plot.
Unlike Pillars & WWE (and most of follett's other wonderful books), I never cared about any of the characters, or knew what motivated them. I found myself constantly thinking "wait, why are they doing this?" Or "wait, when was the last time these two characters interacted with each other? It doesn't make sense that they're enemies!"
This was just a complete mess. I really looked forward to this book for months, and I hesitated to write this review until I was finished with the whole thing...hoping against hope that it would get better. It didn't. I'm so disappointed.
Top reviews from other countries
What I found rather irritating was the constant and abrupt switching from one story line in France, to a completely separate story line in Spain and then to Holland and back to France. It was like an episode of EastEnders or Dallas constantly flipping between characters and scenes. And there are quite a lot of characters in this book! I also found that what I was reading was a factual history lesson interspersed with fictional characters - the 'story telling' which made the previous books so enthralling, didn't really evolve, it was simply a flowery version of historic fact. If I had wanted to read a history book I would've bought something by Simon Sharma. I also became rather annoyed when some of the main characters, in whom readers had invested quite a lot in the 600+ pages, came to what seemed like premature ends, almost as if Ken Follet got bored writing about them and finished them off without any significance. If it was meant to provide 'shockers' it didn't work - in fact I was rather disgusted with one characters unjustied end that I just slapped the book shut with an irritated 'hmph'.
All that said, I quite enjoyed the book, but it just wasn't what was expected or indeed what it should have been. I did learn something about the history of Protestant and Catholic issues in 16th Century Europe.
If you enjoyed the first two, you will definitely enjoy this one.
Whereas Pillars is primarily a great story with strong characters which culminated in an actual historical event this reads like a docu-drama.
I hope he returns to form soon as this was predictable and disappointing.