Thursday, December 7, 2023

The Armor of Light by Ken Follett

The long-awaited sequel to A Column of Fire, The Armor of Light, heralds a new dawn for Kingsbridge, England, where progress clashes with tradition, class struggles push into every part of society, and war in Europe engulfs the entire continent and beyond.

The Spinning Jenny was invented in 1770, and with that, a new era of manufacturing and industry changed lives everywhere within a generation. A world filled with unrest wrestles for control over this new world order: A mother’s husband is killed in a work accident due to negligence; a young woman fights to fund her school for impoverished children; a well-intentioned young man unexpectedly inherits a failing business; one man ruthlessly protects his wealth no matter the cost, all the while war cries are heard from France, as Napoleon sets forth a violent master plan to become emperor of the world. As institutions are challenged and toppled in unprecedented fashion, ripples of change ricochet through our characters’ lives as they are left to reckon with the future and a world they must rebuild from the ashes of war.

Over thirty years ago, Ken Follett published his most popular novel, The Pillars of the Earth. Now, with this electrifying addition to the Kingsbridge series we are plunged into the battlefield between compassion and greed, love and hate, progress and tradition. It is through each character that we are given a new perspective to the seismic shifts that shook the world in nineteenth-century Europe.

Hardcover, 737 pages
Published September 26, 2023
 by Viking
3.5/5 stars

This is part of The Pillar of the Earth Series, I am not sure which one. Ever since the prequel came out I see different numbers on it. But suffice to say, each book is separated by a couple hundred years so truly they can work as a standalone .

It's 1770 in the now familiar Kingsbridge when this story begins.  It spans the beginning of the industrial age, Napoleons revolution all the way through to 1815. I wanted to love this book as much as I did Pillars and it’s prequel, The Evening and the Morning, two books I thoroughly enjoyed. They captured the  start of Kingsbridge with the historical aspects and gave an interesting account of what life was like. The Armor of Light, while it was rich in history, I found it slow moving with characters that didn’t really appeal to me like in the other two. At times the detailed descriptions of various machines, i.e. the Spinning Jenny were a bit long-winded

With a little help of the audiobook, via CloudLibrary I was able to finish this almost 800 page brick. The same reader as Pillars again did a great job with the narration.

All in all in entertaining read, not my favorite, but still it broadened my horizon as to the industrial age and England’s war with France.

This book was part of my 2023 reading off my shelf challenge.

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