The Armour of Light: Ken Follett returns to Kingsbridge

Posted by Speakeasy News > Friday 27 October 2023 > What's On

34 years after the beginning of the saga, British author Ken Follett returns to Kingsbridge, an imaginary town in the south of England, with a fifth installment, The Armour of Light. With this book, Follett completes a period of more than 800 years, from the end of the Dark Ages to the time of the Battle of Waterloo.

The Kingsbridge Series: A Legacy of Brilliance
Follett's Kingsbridge series has long been hailed as a hallmark of historical fiction. It all began in 1989 with The Pillars of the Earth, a sweeping saga set in 12th century England. This novel introduced readers to the town of Kingsbridge and its inhabitants, weaving together personal, political, and social struggles against a backdrop of historical significance. The success of The Pillars of the Earth paved the way for subsequent novels, each set in a different era of Kingsbridge's history.

The Kingsbridge Series includes the following books:

  • The Pillars of the Earth (1989): This is the first book in the series, and it is set in the 12th century during the construction of a cathedral. It follows various characters and their struggles and ambitions.
  • World Without End (2007): Is set in Kingsbridge in the 14th century, two centuries after the events of the first book. It explores the lives and challenges of new generations of characters in the same town.
  • A Column of Fire (2017): Is set in the 16th century and deals with the religious and political conflicts of the time, including the reign of Queen Elizabeth I and the Protestant-Catholic divide.
  • The Evening and the Morning (2020): This prequel is set in the Dark Ages and explores the origins of the town of Kingsbridge. It follows the stories of a Saxon noblewoman, a boatbuilder, and a monk.

A World in Flux
The Armour of Light transports us to the late 18th and early 19th centuries, a time of unprecedented change and upheaval. The Industrial Revolution is in full swing, bringing with it a wave of technological advancements and societal transformations. As new machinery replaces traditional methods of production, the lives of workers in Kingsbridge's cloth mills are thrown into turmoil. Unemployment rises, families are torn apart, and discontent simmers beneath the surface. Meanwhile, across the English Channel, Napoleon Bonaparte is on the rise, igniting fears and tensions among neighboring nations.


Born on June 5, 1949, in Cardiff, Wales, Ken Follett has a successful and prolific writing career spanning several decades. Follett's novels are known for their meticulous historical research, intricate plots, and well-developed characters. Ken Follett is a versatile author who has written a wide range of books spanning various genres. Beyond his historical fiction, Ken Follett has also ventured into espionage thrillers, adventure novels, and contemporary works.


Follett's Signature Blend of History and Fiction
One of Follett's greatest strengths as a writer is his ability to seamlessly blend historical accuracy with compelling storytelling. The Armour of Light is no exception. Through meticulous research and vivid descriptions, Follett brings to life the sights, sounds, and struggles of the era. From the bustling streets of Kingsbridge to the battlefields of Europe, readers are transported to a world teetering on the precipice of change. With a keen eye for detail and a knack for crafting authentic characters, Follett immerses readers in a bygone era, offering a window into the past like no other.

For fans of historical fiction, The Armour of Light is an absolute must-read. Ken Follett's masterful storytelling and meticulous attention to detail make this novel a true tour de force. From its immersive setting to its intriguing characters, every aspect of the book is carefully crafted to transport readers to a world on the cusp of transformation. As the Industrial Revolution collides with political upheaval, the lives of Kingsbridge's residents intertwine in a web of love, conflict, and redemption. Brace yourself for an unforgettable journey through history with The Armour of Light.

If we add the 3 books of the Century Trilogy, which spans the 20th century, Follett takes us on a journey through over a thousand years of English history!


As well as being a gripping read, The Armour of Light could provide extra inspiration if you are teaching the Industrial Revolution or Napoleonic Wars chapters of History 1re - DNL Sections européennes.