Top 10+ Ken Follett Books for Fans and New Readers Alike (Updated)
Ken Follett, a master of historical and thriller fiction, has captivated readers worldwide with his intricately woven narratives and richly detailed historical settings.
Born on June 5, 1949, in Cardiff, Wales, Follett burst onto the literary scene with his first bestseller, Eye of the Needle, a spy story set in the Second World War. His remarkable ability to blend historical accuracy with riveting storytelling has made him a favorite among readers of all ages.
Over the years, Follett has demonstrated a remarkable versatility, delving into various periods of history with the same fervor and attention to detail. Whether it's the medieval backdrop of The Pillars of the Earth or the twentieth-century landscapes of Fall of Giants, Follett's books offer a captivating journey through different eras. In this article, we will explore some of Ken Follett's most outstanding works, each a testament to his skill as a storyteller and his profound understanding of the human spirit set against the backdrop of history.
If you are curious about his work, check out this list of the best Ken Follett books! Whether you are a fan or a new reader, you will certainly enjoy these fantastic works.
What Are The Best Ken Follett Books?
(Check out also the Upcoming Ken Follett Books)
The Armor of Light (Kingsbridge Book 5), by Ken Follett
This book, set in a time where the Spinning Jenny revolutionized everything, brings a raw, unfiltered look at how industrial changes impacted people's lives.
The story weaves through the lives of several characters, each grappling with their own struggles in this new era. There's a mother dealing with the loss of her husband due to a workplace accident, a poignant reminder of the often-overlooked dangers of early industrial work. A young woman's fight to fund a school for poor children struck a chord with me, highlighting the gap between the haves and have-nots, something that's still relevant today.
One aspect of the book that stood out was the contrast between the characters' personal battles and the larger historical events unfolding around them. The backdrop of Napoleon's rise and the ensuing chaos adds a sense of urgency and tension to the narrative. Follett does a good job balancing these elements, ensuring that the historical context doesn't overshadow the individual stories.
What really worked for me was the theme of resilience and rebuilding. Watching these characters navigate a world torn apart by war and societal changes, and yet finding ways to adapt and thrive, was both inspiring and thought-provoking.
The Evening and the Morning, by Ken Follett
The war is constantly brewing in England. Even though the dreading Dark Ages came to an end, the country is still struggling in its battle between the Welsh on its west side, and the Vikings on its east side. Every person in power is bending justice to suit their will, and the ordinary people cannot do anything about it. Chaos is the only thing running around, and the absence of law is only making it worse.
During these tough times, three people will meet and change each other’s lives. Without even knowing it, they will soon work together to face a challenging journey filled with the contrasting elements of life.
The Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett
This book is the sequel to The Evening and the Morning, and it perfectly highlights Follet’s genius. The story revolves around the lives of Philip (a resourceful monk who plans to build the world’s greatest Gothic cathedral), Tom (a mason who eventually becomes Phillip’s architect), and Lady Aliena (a beautiful woman who is constantly haunted by a dark secret).
If you are a fan of historical novels, Follett is one of the best writers you will find. Discover secrets, witness intense scenarios, and dive into an unknown adventure by ordering this amazing book today.
Fall of Giants, by Ken Follett
This book is one of Follet’s best works and you can clearly see a pattern here. If you will notice from the previous books, he likes to write stories where different characters are involved. He does this by making each character a key instrument in the story, rather than using them as side characters only. This factor improves the story by piquing the readers’ interest, and it gives them the sense that they should read on to witness what is going to happen with them next.
Fall of Giants focuses on the stories of five families, all of which are then entangled to fulfill their roles later on in the story. It features the experience of an adolescent Welsh boy as he enters the dark mining pits, the turning point of a law student when they get rejected by the love of their life and finds a new career, the uncovering of mysteries caused by a housekeeper to their aristocrat masters, and the separation of two Russian brothers as their plan to emigrate in America falls out of place. After you have finished this book, your outlook on this century will forever change.
Jackdaws, by Ken Follett
Felicity Clariet (a.k.a Flick) is faced with a serious dilemma. D-Day is quickly approaching, and even though they try to ignore it, the Germans are clearly working on something that will prove to be a massive threat. Being one of the senior agents in a well-picked team of Special Operations Executive (SOE), Flick has worked her way up to become one of the most reliable forces in France. She has a clear idea that the Germans’ way to power is the communication lines, and Flick has to secure the largest telephone system in Europe within a matter of days before it’s too late.
However, plans are not always foolproof, and after executing a full frontal assault on the enemy lines with her husband, Flick just experienced her worst nightmare. Her group is shattered, her husband is missing deep in the enemy’s territory, and her credibility is shaken thanks to her failed attempt. Now, Flick only has one chance left to redeem herself, and her new plan will involve an all-woman crew that she will train herself (a.k.a the Jackdaws).
Place Called Freedom, by Ken Follett
Mack McAsh did not expect his life to turn out this way, entrapped in a lifetime sentence of working in the unforgiving coal mines. All he ever wanted was to escape and to never look back, and that is exactly what he’s going to do with the help of his one and only ally, Lizzie Hallim. Lizzie is a beautiful highborn lady, but despite the “perfect” life she is in, she is still trapped in her personal version of hell.
Featuring the busy streets of the historical London, the infernal struggles within a slaveholder ship, and a sprawling plantation in Virginia, Place Called Freedom is one of Ken Follett’s best works that focuses on the one thing that everyone seems to look for during the setting – a firm grasp on freedom. If you are looking for an intense historical drama, this is one of the best books you could find.
Eye of the Needle, by Ken Follett
Henry Faber is probably the deadliest German spy you will ever encounter. Commonly known as “The Needle”, his weapon of choice is a stiletto, stabbing his enemies while digging deeper into the enemy's trenches. His priority is to protect his legacy, and while a vicious manhunt starts to operate because of him, his job just became more and more interesting.
The British Intelligence has already executed a lot of German spies, but they still cannot catch The Needle. However, when fate brought him to the presence of a vulnerable English beauty, the vicious hand of this spy seemed to let loose. Now, he must work to sway the loyalty of this woman to assure his freedom, and possibly win the on-going war between the Nazis and the Brits.
Hornet Flight, by Ken Follett
The war is still far from over, and England is slowly declining with each day that passes. For whatever reason, the Germans can anticipate the attacks of the British RAF, shooting them down in the most degrading ways possible. The on-going battle is worsening over time, and without enough information and support, the British will have a much harder time fighting the well informed enemy.
Meanwhile, over a humble Danish island in the North Sea, Harald Olufsen discreetly takes a hidden shortcut and finds out something astonishing. He does not know what the German-occupied place has to offer, but he certainly knows that he should tell someone about it. After a few peeks, he finds out what the secret is, and he is now burdened by the responsibility of delivering the message to England. However, the only way to get there is by flying his old Hornet Moth plane, and the odds of that happening are near impossible.
Notre-Dame: A Short History of the Meaning of Cathedrals, by Ken Follett
After learning about the fire that almost engulfed the Notre Dame cathedral, Follett was inspired to write this book about its history. The entire work features the cathedral’s history, from the day it was built to its specific influences throughout history. He then discusses the relevance of the Notre Dame cathedral’s design, and how it is the on-going inspiration for other cathedrals all over the world.
He then proceeds to talk about how Notre Dame inspired him to write one of his most well-known novels – The Pillars of the Earth. If you are a fan of history and the amazing structural design of churches, this is absolutely one of the must-reads you should have. It could also help you discover some things that would pique your curious mind.
Whiteout, by Ken Follett
When a canister containing some sort of deadly virus went missing, everything seemed like hell just broke loose. A lab technician started to bleed out of the eyes, and being the security director of a well-known medical research facility in Scotland, it is Toni Gallo’s job to figure out everything that is going on. She is used to common health risks and issues, but this one seems to be her nightmare that just came to life.
As a blizzard whips out on a chilling Christmas Eve, Toni and several other people venture into a remote house. All of them could either benefit or lose from the newly developed drug that could eradicate the virus. As the storm brews on, all of their desperate secrets start to come out, developing unexpected twists and turns that turn out to be deadlier than the virus itself.
Never underestimate the power of books. They can help shape your imagination, establish a productive mindset, and they could even help you discover some things that might be missing from your current mindset. With the help of the best Ken Follet’s books you find in this article, you will find a whole new world that would fit your standards. Just choose your preferred written work and just watch how it will blow your mind!
If you are looking for more thrillers, check out our favorite thriller books of all time.
My profession is online marketing and development (10+ years experience), check my latest mobile app called Upcoming or my Chrome extensions for ChatGPT. But my real passion is reading books both fiction and non-fiction. I have several favorite authors like James Redfield or Daniel Keyes. If I read a book I always want to find the best part of it, every book has its unique value.