Ken Follett is in my opinion, one of the best authors the United Kingdom has ever produced. And this book, The Armor of Light, was long awaited by me. My love of the Kingsbridge series, starting with the brilliant Pillars of the Earth more than thirty years ago, has kept me intrigued through all five novels. Here is my book review The Armour of Light by Ken Follett.
Now aged 74, I only hope Follett has the stamina to write one or two more Kingsbridge books. The level of detail and research in all of his Kingsbridge novels is so incredible. The series starts in 997AD with The Evening and the Morning (which was a prequel released in 2020), followed by Pillars of the Earth set in the 12th century and the original novel. Each subsequent book is approximately 150 – 200 years later; World Without End set in the 14th Century, A Column of Fire set in Elizabethian England, and now The Armour of Light set late 1700’s to early 1800’s.
Book Review The Armour of Light by Ken Follett
In this latest brilliant novel we find ourselves in a changing society as the world, and England, enter the industrial age. With the invention of the Spinning Jenny in 1770, the wool industry and it’s workers will find themselves in a new era. Those who can keep up with the changing times will survive.
Change means violence, as those with power want more, and will do anything to keep in control of the industrial wealth. As the Napoleon War rages, we meet a cast of characters entwined whether they like it or not. Protestants and Methodists, wealthy and poor, men and women – all fighting for what they believe is right.
Like usual Follett places strong female characters against ruthless church, political and industry male leaders. Convicted of misdemeanor crimes, punishment for the poor could mean being shipped to Australia for years of hard labor…or death.
The survivors of this violent time, and the ashes of war, will rise up to be the early disciples of workers rights and labor rights and the future of the working class of England. Many will die before this long drawn out change in the system will benefit them, but their sacrifice will change the world forever.
The novel is not lacking in Follett’s usual love stories, villains, vanity and religious persecution. There is a tantalizing collection of under-stories to titilize as usual. It’s a wonderful book, and another in the genius collection.
Thanks for reading my book review The Armour of Light by Ken Follett. See last week’s book review The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher.
*****Five Stars for The Armour of Light by Ken Follett
My current read Absolution by Alice McDermott
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