Sunday, June 5, 2016

Birthday Books of the Day: Ken Follett


Kenneth Martin Follett (1949- )
Fellow, The Welsh Academy
Fellow, The Royal Society of Arts

Stints as a Welsh journalist and a London small publishing house editor, and a need to repair his car, led Ken Follett to try writing his own fiction. After a few modest successes, Follett hit the jackpot with the thriller Eye of the Needle in 1978. In the 37 years since he has produced over thirty books, nearly all bestsellers, many made into movies or television miniseries. Follett’s overall sales exceed 350 million copies worldwide.

Most of Follett’s work falls under the headings of international thriller or historical fiction; he is on his third work about an English cathedral, the series he began with The Pillars of the Earth. That work alone has sold some 18 million copies. Follett’s taste for the grand sweep of people and history has most recently been on display in his Century Trilogy (2010-14), covering the lives and fortunes of five families across the 20th century.

Long active in politics of the New Labour stripe, Follett has also been a tireless advocate for reading and literacy programs.

Henry Bemis books is pleased to offer three Ken Follett first editions in honor of his birthday:

Follett, Ken, The Pillars of the Earth (William Morrow, stated 1st ed., 1st printing, 1989). ISBN 0-688-04659-2. Hardcover, unclipped dust jacket, slight chip at top right front. Text block very good; 957pp. Publishers Weekly raved,

"With this book, Follett risks all and comes out a clear winner, escaping the narrow genre of suspense thrillers to take credit for a historical novel of gripping readability, authentic atmosphere and detail and memorable characterization. Set in 12th-century England, the narrative concerns the building of a cathedral in the fictional town of Kingsbridge. The ambitions of three men merge, conflict and collide through four decades during which social and political upheaval and the internal politics of the church affect the progress of the cathedral and the fortunes of the protagonists. The insightful portrayals of an idealistic master builder, a pious, dogmatic but compassionate prior and an unscrupulous, ruthless bishop are balanced by those of a trio of independent, resourceful women (one of them quite loathesome) who can stand on their own as memorable characters in any genre. Beginning with a mystery that casts its shadow on ensuing events, the narrative is a seesaw of tension in which circumstances change with shocking but true-to-life unpredictability. Follett's impeccable pacing builds suspense in a balanced narrative that offers action, intrigue, violence and passion as well as the step-by-step description of an edifice rising in slow stages, its progress tied to the vicissitudes of fortune and the permutations of evolving architectural style. Follett's depiction of the precarious balance of power between monarchy and religion in the Middle Ages, and of the effects of social upheavals and the forces of nature (storms, famines) on political events; his ability to convey the fine points of architecture so that the cathedral becomes clearly visualized in the reader's mind; and above all, his portrayals of the enduring human emotions of ambition, greed, bravery, dedication, revenge and love, result in a highly engrossing narrative. Manipulating a complex plot in which the characters interact against a broad canvas of medieval life, Follett has written a novel that entertains, instructs and satisfies on a grand scale." HBB price: $75 obo.

follett pillars.jpg

Ken Follett and f-stop Fitzgerald, Pillars of the Almighty: A Celebration of Cathedrals (William Morrow, 1st ed., 1st printing 1994). ISBN 0-688-12812-2. Continuing themes established by Nightmares in the Sky six years earlier, photographer Fitzgerald continues his exploration of cathedral art and architecture. This time, he collaborates with Ken Follett, whose renowned novel, The Pillars of the Earth, portrays the centuries of labor required to erect a great stone monument to God. 128 pp. Hardcover, unclipped dust jacket, 10.25" x 11.25", very good condition. HBB price: $60 obo.

Follett, Ken, Code to Zero (Dutton, 1st ed., 1st printing, 2000). ISBN 0-525-94563-6. Page-turner about a rocket scientist in 1958, stricken by amnesia as America’s space program reaches a crisis. Hardcover, unclipped dustjacket, as new, 356 pp. HBB price: $35 obo.

Henry Bemis Books is one man’s attempt to bring more diversity and quality to a Charlotte-Mecklenburg market of devoted readers starved for choices. Our website is at Henry Bemis Books is also happy to entertain reasonable offers on items in inventory; for pricing on this or others items, kindly private message us. Shipping is always free; local buyers are welcome to drop by and pick up their purchases at our location off Peachtree Road in Northwest Charlotte if they like. ‪#KenFollett ‪#‎LiteraryBirthdays‬ ‪#‎Book‬oftheDay‪#‎RareBooks‬ ‪#‎HenryBemisBooks‬ ‪#‎Charlotte‬

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