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Book Review: A Column of Fire By Ken Follett

I finally completed this last book in the set; it was another monster novel, 916 pages. This book took me longer than usual; it was a bit of a strange read. I started it twice; I could not get into the story. The first time, I stopped at page 50.

After a couple of weeks, I started it again from the beginning, and it still took me a few months. I could not read for hours like the other three novels. Part of this, I think, were my expectations of the book. The first three novels all took place around the town of Kingsbridge. The first three books all followed a similar storyline; planning and scheming between the local town’s clergy with the country’s corrupt biships, power struggles, a skilled builder, and one strong, brilliant woman that ends with the builder and the strong woman getting married.

This story became more global; Kingsbridge’s town played a minor backdrop. Kingsbridge was the start of the story, but it quickly branched out to Europe, primarily England, France, and Spain. The themes were similar to the other story’s but the focus here was the struggle between Catholicism and Protestantism.

This story took on more of a slat between the struggle for both faiths to co-exist at the time. Europe at that time had a significant issue with tolerance for both religions to co-exist. Also, the power struggles between the monarchies of those three major countries of Europe.

I did feel some storylines were a bit unnecessary; they almost seemed like fillers. The characters were so minor and had practically no part in the overall story it appeared to me the characters were not necessary. What I thought of as fillers mainly took place in the first 40% of the novel. Once I moved past this, perhaps around pages 350-400, the story became more intriguing and enjoyable. That is why I think the novel’s start was a bit unexpected from the first three novels, and I did not expect that. This novel at the beginning seemed more like an independent novel than a story continuation, and that threw me off.

The author left one loose end, maybe intentional, but you can decide if you read the story like other couples in the three novels that end up together; something similar happens here, but it is a great twist. I observed two things: this is not a spoiler alert; I thought this would lead to the King James Bible. The other is the Pilgrims to the new world. I thought that was a great way to end this historical fiction novel series.

I did enjoy the novel, not quite as much as the others, but it was a good story and worth the read. One other point to note and not related to the novel. I saw in the news, the story “The Evening and the Morning” is being developed for a TV series. I think it would be pretty cool to create all four books into a major series like Game of Thrones.

One thought on “Book Review: A Column of Fire By Ken Follett

  1. As always good info. I know I will never read this series too long, I will wait until it becomes a made for tv special


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