Young Ned Willard is coming home to Kingsbridge at Christmas as A Column of Fire opens. The year 1558 will turn Ned’s life upside-down and change Europe for ever.
The ancient stones of Kingsbridge Cathedral look down on a city torn by religious hatred. High principles clash bloodily with friendship, loyalty and love. Ned finds himself on the opposite side from the girl he longs to marry, Margery Fitzgerald.
When Elizabeth Tudor 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.
Waiting in Paris is the alluring, headstrong Mary Queen of Scots, part of a brutally ambitious French family. Proclaimed the rightful ruler of England, she has her own supporters scheming to get rid of Elizabeth.
Ned Willard hunts the slippery, enigmatic Jean Langlais, not knowing that the false name hides a childhood classmate who knows him all too well.
Over a turbulent half-century, the love between Ned and Margery seems doomed, as extremism sparks violence from Edinburgh to Geneva. Elizabeth clings precariously to her throne and her principles, protected by a small, dedicated group of resourceful spies and courageous secret agents.
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.
Cast of characters
Research and background
Watch Ken Follett visiting research locations and discussing the background to A Column of Fire.
United States, Brazil (Coluna de Fogo), Canada, Denmark (Den Evige Ild), Germany (Das fundament der Ewigkeit), Hungary, Italy (La Colonna di Fuoco), Poland (Slup Ognia), Portugal, Spain (Una Columna de Fuego), Sweden (Den Ewige Elden) and The Netherlands (Het Eeuwige Vuur) – Tuesday 12th September 2017
France and French Canada (Une Colonne de Feu) – Thursday 14th September 2017
United Kingdom – Thursday 21st September 2017
Finland – Tuesday 17th October 2017
Publication dates in other countries will be added as they are confirmed.
Ken will be at book signings in the United States, United Kingdom, Portugal, France, Spain, Germany and Austria.