20 December 2021

Review: Never by Ken Follett

Never by Ken Follett book cover

* Copy courtesy of Pan Macmillan *

Carpe Librum readers will know I'm a fan of Ken Follett's historical fiction Kingsbridge series which began with The Pillars of the Earth, but the author has also written many successful thrillers across his illustrious writing career. Never is his first contemporary novel in over a decade though, so naturally I was keen to check it out.

Never by Ken Follett is a political thriller about the beginning of World War III and a whopper of a book coming in at 815 pages. In a complex plot that doesn't blame any one country for the escalations, the narrative is populated by various characters located around the world. The actions of these characters inform the plot and the tension slowly builds as each person narrates their role in a much bigger series of events. Major powers are involved and the situation realistically begins to snowball out of control.

Never could be called an espionage thriller or a spy thriller, but it also serves as a timely warning that despite a leader's best intentions, international politics is a dangerous game. In typical Follett style, the author had me looking up new-to-me words throughout the novel, (bellicosity on page 5 and vituperation on page 145)* but not so often as to spoil the rhythm of the book.

I'm not a huge fan of political thrillers, but I always enjoy Ken Follett's deeply layered storytelling and detailed character arcs and put my complete trust in him from page one. Fortunately I was rewarded by the close of this expertly researched - yet very long book - with a surprisingly enjoyable ending. Highly recommended.

* Bellicosity is an inclination to fight or quarrel, a warlike or hostile manner or temperament. Vituperation is verbal abuse or language that is full of hate, or angry criticism.

You can seize this book at Booktopia.

My Rating:

Would you like to comment?

  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I have to admit I’ve never read anything by Follett

    1. You're welcome Shelleyrae, his books require commitment but are always rewarding in spite (or because?) of that. I hope you'll give one of his books a go one day.

  2. I felt like this was not written entirely by Follett. I lost count of the characters and times they "giggled". Also some pretty implausible sequences. Not up to his normal standards.

    1. That's a real shame and sorry you didn't enjoy it. I'm looking forward to his new one coming out, will you give it a go?


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