A Column of Fire – Ken Follett

A Column of FireTo say that Margery was upset would have been an understatement. She was livid and angrily refused to marry Bart Shiring. Sure, he was the son of the Earl, but he was also was a stupid bore. She loved Ned Willard and he had returned to Kingsbridge after tending to his family’s business abroad for a year. She and Ned would run away and marry if necessary. But when the Bishop of Kingsbridge insists that it was God’s will for Margery to obey her parents, she consents and marries Bart. Devastated by the loss of his love and the loss of his family’ business, Ned leaves Kingsbridge and seeks employment in the service of the young Princess Elizabeth.

This is a broad, sweeping novel, Book III in the Pillars of the Earth series. But it is not a novel of Kingsbridge, and is very different from the first two, taking the reader from England to Spain to France, Holland, and the Caribbean. There are many well defined characters, all swirling around Ned Willard, who became part of Queen Elizabeth’s secret service. The focus is the religious conflict in many countries, struggles between Protestants and Catholics, between tolerance and repression. It’s a huge book with many story lines, but I found it a relatively quick read, since I couldn’t put it down. I didn’t like it as much as the Pillars of the Earth, but I liked it a lot. It’s a must read for Follett fans, and readers new to Follett will also enjoy this excellent historical novel.

eGalley review                                       Publication date 9.12.17

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