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A column of fire
2017
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Fiction/Biography Profile
Characters
Ned Willard (Male), Wants to marry Margery; works for Queen Elizabeth; develops the first secret service for the queen
Magery Fitzgerald (Female), Not the same religion as Ned keeps them from wedding
Genre
Fiction
Historical
Saga
Topics
Ancient civilizations
Religious conflict
Middle Ages
Friendship
Loyalty
Love
Assassination plots
Time Period
1558 -- 16th century
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Trade Reviews

  Library Journal Review

Follett returns to the fictional West Country town of Kingsbridge. It is 1558, and Mary Tudor is not long for this world. Her death unleashes a battle between Catholics and Protestants that dominates this novel, which is set primarily in England and France across five decades. Ned Willard, a moderate Protestant, battles the forces of religious extremism as he works as a spy for Queen Elizabeth I. John Rafter Lee brings a modulated, English-accented sensibility to this story. His character voices add extra vitality to the narration but don't overpower it. VERDICT Recommended for libraries with large historic fiction collections and listeners who like detailed historical narratives. ["Another masterly historical novel that will keep readers enthralled well past bedtime": LJ 7/17 starred review of the Viking hc.]-David -Faucheux, Lafayette, LA © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Publishers Weekly Review

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. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Summary
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER<br> <br> "Absorbing . . . impossible to resist." --The Washington Post <br> <br> 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. <br> <br> 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. <br> <br> 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.<br> <br> 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.<br> <br> 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.
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