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Publisher's Summary

International best-selling author Ken Follett has enthralled millions of fans with the first two books of his Kingsbridge series, The Pillars of the Earth and World Without End. The saga now continues with Follett's magnificent new epic, A Column of Fire.

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, high principles clash bloodily with friendship, loyalty, and love.

Ned Willard wants nothing more than to marry Margery Fitzgerald. But when the lovers find themselves on opposing sides of the religious divide sweeping across 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 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.

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 and is perfect both for longtime fans of the Kingsbridge series as well as listeners new to Ken Follett.

©2017 Ken Follett (P)2017 Penguin Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    17
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    5
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Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Sort by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Too Abridged

I did not notice that this was abridged. I always buy the unabridged. Had trouble following storyline. Feel like I wasted my credit.

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

not as good as others

I did not like the way it would switch characters and storylines immediately after each other.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Abridged? Ugh

Sorry you saw fit to sell an abridged version. Would have liked to have the whole story.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

I did not realize was an abridgement

was reading the book and decided to listen while driving really upset to find out this was an abridgement

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Disappointing

Would you try another book from Ken Follett and/or John Lee?

I was so disappointed in this book. I loved the Century Trilogy by Ken Follett. I am not a huge fan of his early books as I think his writing is often too simplistic, but was hoping this would be more like the Century Trilogy. For the duration of the entire book, I was dissatisfied. I frequently lost track of who was who, and I also didn't like the narrator - he sometimes reads in a sing-song voice like a child who is made to read out loud in class and can't wait to be done, pausing at the wrong times and rushing at others. I felt like there were often gaps in the story that were simply too large, jumping over entire decades at time.

And then the penny dropped when I finished the book and the Audible voiceover came, saying "thank you for listening to the ABRIDGED version of Column of Fire!" I have never once listened to an abridged version of a book in my life - why would you want fewer words from an author you like? - and it simply hadn't occurred to me that that was an option when purchasing the book. I can now see that it is marked on the cover, but I hate the fact that it came up first in search results without more of a warning that it's abridged. I would never have bought it.

I am certain I would have given more stars for the unabridged version. But I still didn't like the narrator. He tried to sound "old English" like they might have spoken in Elizabethan times, but as I said earlier, he just didn't perform very well compared to other Audio books I've heard. I would recommend you go with the actual book version on this one instead of Audible, it's bound to be more satisfying.

Would you be willing to try another one of John Lee’s performances?

No. Hated him.

Any additional comments?

the word "abridged" needs to be much more prominent in your listing. If it was for me, you wouldn't even sell any abridged books at all. We are here to listen to books that we don't have time reading, but if I wanted an abridged version, I'd simply read a review of it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

A Book Without End

Interesting in its history, but lacks the central character story that made the first two books in the series so compelling.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

love this book

It's a perfect read/listen.
very entertaining.
adventurous charming heartstopping
you can see the story through the words.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

I found it very boring

The narrator couldn't decide if he was English or American and I couldn't get into this story at all. I love History and Ken Follet but this wasn't a good one.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Excited, disappointed then happy ☺️

Being that I had previously heard/read other Ken Follet books I was excited to get this one. However, I was disappointed because I had a hard time keeping up with all the storylines and characters at first. I decided to stick with it a little longer and in typical Ken Follet fashion he made the intensive back stories and character development come together to keep you invested until the last page.

Lee does an excellent job narrating and giving voices to characters.

If you're a fan of historical fiction, then this is an excellent read!!!