Ken Follett books in order
Kenneth Martin Follett, CBE, is a Welsh New York Times Best Selling author of thrillers and historical novels.
Born in Cardiff, he studied philosophy at the University College London where he graduated with honours in 1970.
Ken first began his career as a reporter with his hometown newspaper, the South Wales Echo, before joining the London Evening News.
He would later work for Everest Books, a publishing house in London, before eventually serving as its Deputy Managing Director.
His books, which have been published in 33 languages, have sold more than 160 million copies in 80 countries.
A number of Ken’s novels have been adapted into films; key among them being On Wings of Eagles (1986), The Pillars of the Earth (2010) and World Without End (2012).
Genres: Historical Fiction, Non-fiction, Thriller
- The Modigliani Scandal (1976)
- Paper Money (1977)
- Eye of the Needle (1978)
- Triple (1979)
- The Key to Rebecca (1980)
- The Man from St Petersburg (1982)
- Lie Down with Lions (1985)
- Night Over Water (1991)
- A Dangerous Fortune (1993)
- A Place Called Freedom (1995)
- The Third Twin (1996)
- The Hammer of Eden (1998)
- Code to Zero (2000)
- Jackdaws (2001)
- Hornet Flight (2002)
- Whiteout (2004)
- Never (2021)
- On Wings of Eagles (1983)
- Notre-Dame (2019)
The Century Trilogy
- Fall of Giants (2010)
- Winter of the World (2012)
- Edge of Eternity (2014)
The Kingsbridge Series
- The Evening and the Morning (2020)
- The Pillars of the Earth (1989)
- World Without End (2007)
- A Column of Fire (2017)
- The Armor of Light (2023)
Detailed book overview
The story begins with three people; a driven youthful art historian in Paris; a renowned London dealer; and a gallery owner who is not only frustrated by a financial quagmire but also with his discontented wife.
Trouble brews when the three individuals learn of an undiscovered Modigliani; one that ignites a fierce no holds barred battle for possession.
Meanwhile, an aggrieved young painter desperate for revenge performs a masterful act of forgery, while an idealistic actress carries out a Robin Hood type of enterprise.
The lives of masterpiece hunters, forgers and thieves is set for an explosive collision.
A politician wakes up with a beautiful girl. A criminal addresses his team. A tycoon has breakfasts with a Bank official.
Soon enough, three stories of an attempted suicide, a hijack, and a takeover bid take center stage.
They seem unrelated at first, until Evening Post reporters start asking the tough questions.
Why is a Jamaican bank in trouble?
Who was behind the Rolls-Royce seen near the raid?
What is the identity of the man with gunshot wounds?
As the day goes on, new developments emerge—as do new questions.
And they all have to do with paper money.
The year is 1944, just weeks before D-Day.
The Allies are concealing their plans for invasion with a bogus fleet of ships and planes.
Their devious ploy could however be repelled if an enemy agent found out. Hitler’s prize agent code-named “The Needle,” however does just that!
The Needle is an incredibly intelligent German aristocrat; a master spy with a history of violence in his veins, and assuredly the object of the most desperate manhunt in history.
But despite his sharp-witted nature, he hasn’t planned for a storm-battered island, and a young and English woman who lives there.
Director: Richard Marquand
Cast: Donald Sutherland, Kate Nelligan, Ian Bannen, Christopher Cazenove, Stephen MacKenna, Philip Martin Brown
As Egypt draws even closer to designing their own nuclear bomb, Israel’s best agent from the Mossad’s is given an impractical mission.
His task is to beat the Arabs in the race for nuclear dominance by locating and stealing two hundred tons of uranium.
This will certainly shift the balance of power in the global scene.
Nat, Israel’s hero otherwise known as ‘The Pirate’, is to mastermind the bold nuclear exploit. On his pursuit is Rostov of KGB and Yassif of Egyptian intelligence.
The Mossad, the KGB, the Egyptians, and Fedayeen terrorists will play out the final in which the failure could translate into a nuclear holocaust.
It’s the summer of 1942 in North Africa, and it looks as though Rommel cannot be beaten.
The secret behind his success is in one Alex Wolff, an experienced spy, and a deadly code buried deep in the pages of du Maurier’s novel, Rebecca.
Upon overcoming the fiery heat of the Sahara, Wolff sneaks his way to Cairo to steal British military plans.
Major Vandam, hot on his heels, however makes an arrangement with Elene—a young beautiful yet vulnerable Jewish girl—to lure him into range.
When Rommel’s army edges even closer to victory, the chase continues across the desert to a shocking and explosive faceoff.
Director: David Hemmings
Cast: Cliff Robertson, David Soul, Season Hubley, Lina Raymond, Anthony Quayle, David Hemmings, Robert Culp, Robert Swales, Charlie Condou, Ellis Dale, Raymond Young, Richard Gibson
The year is 1914.
A man named Felik comes to London to commit a murder that would forever change history.
Being the skilled manipulator that he is, he has several weapons at his disposal.
Many forces however rise against him; chief among them being the entire English police, a sharp and powerful lord, and the youthful Winston Churchill himself.
Going against such overwhelming odds is enough to stop any man in his tracks.
But this isn’t just any man. This is the man from St. Petersburg.
The legendary Valley of Five Lions lies in the Afghan mountains.
Two young aid workers and an American go to it.
Ellis, the American, is to deliver a message to Masud; the legendary guerrilla leader who is wanted either wanted dead or alive by the Russians.
The other man is Jean-Pierre—a Frenchman.
The two men are on opposite sides of the Cold War. In the eye of the needle is a woman torn between them.
Together, the three form a triangle of passion and deception.
When a woman comes across a betrayal in the worst form, it gives rise to an epic chase racing from terrorist bombs in Paris to the heartbreaking violence of Afghanistan.
Director: Jim Goddard
Cast: Timothy Dalton, Marg Helgenberger, Nigel Havers, Jürgen Prochnow, Kabir Bedi, Omar Sharif, Laura Perramond, Eve Polycarpou, Nadim Sawalha, Stephen Greif, Ron Berglas, Philippe Leroy
The year is 1939, and England is at war with Nazi Germany.
In Southampton, a group of wealthy individuals is about to board the renowned Pan Am Clipper, the most luxurious airliner in the world, as it heads for New York in its last flight to neutral America.
On board is an English aristocrat, a German scientist, a murderer under escort, a youthful wife trying to run away from her husband, and an endearing thief. The plane is basically carrying the cream of society and the very dregs of humanity.
As they go over the vast Atlantic, tensions will reach boiling point before eventually exploding in a dramatic whirlwind of violence, intrigue, and treachery.
And for the next thirty hours, there will be no escaping the palace on wings.
The year is 1866.
A schoolboy dies after drowning under mysterious circumstances.
Hugh Pilaster and his older cousin Edward, the dissipated heir to a banking fortune, and Micky Miranda, the son of a ruthless South American landowner, are there during the incident.
Augusta Pilaster, a crafty matriarch, Solly Greenbourne, a rich heir, and a slum girl by the name Maisie Robinson are caught in the ensuing turbulence.
Set in Victorian England, this is the story of how a terrible secret behind the death of one young boy will lead to three generations of deceit.
Director: Christian Schwochow
Cast: Dominic Thorburn, Laura de Boer, Jeanette Hain, Thorsten Merten, Axel Milberg, Rolf Hoppe, Yvonne Catterfeld, Albrecht Schuch, Daniel Sträßer
It’s the winter of 1767.
Mack McAsh may have been born a slave but his courage to speak against equal rights and justice, and his ability to stick to what he believes in, is unmatched.
Lizzie Hallim, an independent and defiant woman, is engaged to Jay Jamisson—the merciless son of the landlord and heir to the exploitative mining empire.
Their paths cross when Lizzie sees a naked figure emerging from the icy water; with Lizzie helping him to escape from slavery.
When Mack challenges the powerful Jamisson family, he finds himself falsely sentenced to death.
Rescued from hangman, he is shipped to America where his fight for freedom continues.
Having gained access to a restricted FBI database, genetic researcher Jeanie Ferrami locates identical twins born to different mothers. One of the twins is a law student while the other is a convicted murderer.
Shaken by the strange discovery, she’s ready to go to whatever extremes to unearth the truth. That’s until she is caught right at the centre of a scandal that threatens to destroy her career.
Determined to clear her name, Jeannie buries herself into a maze of secret evidence. But the more she digs into it, the more she unearths a disturbing, far-reaching conspiracy surrounding genetic experiments; one that incriminates some of the most powerful names in America.
After falling in love with the good twin, how sure can she be that he is different from his evil twin?
Director: Tom McLoughlin
Cast: Kelly McGillis, Jason Gedrick, Larry Hagman, Regina Taylor, Lisa Vidal, Marion Ross, Kenneth Welsh, Linda Sorensen, Tom Butler, Ralph Waite, Hal Holbrook
When it comes to the things that Californians fear the most, a full-scale earthquake is right up there.
A group of radical eco-terrorists has discovered a way of setting off a terrible earthquake of devastating proportions. In their possession is a seismic vibrator that can be used to threaten an earthquake—as a way of furthering their own agenda.
The FBI certainly doesn’t but the idea, while the Governor wants the problem to go away.
Agent Judy Maddox on the other hand isn’t taking any chances, and believes that the threat is real.
As she races to stop a petty criminal turned cult leader turned homicidal genius, she knows that the deaths have only just began.
Once a weak vibration in the earth’s crust is triggered, things can only get worse.
And it’s only just 48 hours away!
The year is 1958. Luke Lucas wakes up only to find himself lying on the ground in a railway station; not knowing how he got there or even what his name is.
That’s until his attention is drawn by a newspaper report about a satellite launch.
In a desperate bid to match the Soviet Sputnik, America is on the verge of launching its first satellite with the hope of regaining their bragging rights in the space race.
As Luke tries to uncover the mystery behind his lost memory, he comes to learn that his fate is intertwined with that of the pad 26B at Cape Canaveral.
Slowly, he begins to learn devastating secrets about his wife, his best friend and the woman he once loved more than anything else.
D-Day is approaching and the Germans still have no idea where or when it will be. All they know is that it will be soon.
Felicity “Flick” Clariet, a senior Special Operations Executive (SOE) agent responsible for sabotage, has risen to become among Britain’s most reliable operatives in Northern France.
When her group is however destroyed and her Resistance-leader husband goes missing and her superiors start doubting her, Flick’s confidence takes a massive hit.
She is however presented with one final chance at to undertake the mission, but her chances of success borer on the impossible.
Assembling an inexperienced all-female team code-named the Jackdaws, they will attempt to penetrate the exchange right under the under the noses of the Germans. But the Germans are prepared for them now more than ever.
Will the Jackdaws suceeed?
The year is 1941.
England continuously sends bombers across the Channel, but the Lufwaffe somehow manages to shoot them down all down, effortlessly. Hitler seems to be winning the war.
Meanwhile, on a small Danish island across the North Sea, a gifted eighteen-year-old passionate about engineering stumbles upon a secret German installation. Harald Olufsen may not know what it is, but he is convinced that he has to tell someone.
Harald’s discovery could switch the odds in favor of England, but it will come with terrible repercussions to those he holds dear.
He is determined to deliver word to England but his only way of getting there is an old destroyed Hornet Moth biplane in an abandoned church.
Another problem is that he doesn’t know how to fly.
The mission reeks of disaster.
Several people converge on a remote family house on Christmas Eve as a snowstorm whips out of the north.
Stanley Oxenford, the research company’s director, isn’t the only one hoping that the drug he is developing to fight the virus will work. His grown children, who have visited for the festive season, are already licking their lips at the money it will bring.
Forced to step down from the police department with a tainted image, Toni Gallo is determine to do everything in her power to protect the drug.
A local ambitious television reporter on the other hand is willing to bend the facts in order to tell the story, while a destructive trio of thugs is plotting to steal it for a client.
But as the storm worsens, so does the nightmare.
When two elite intelligence officers fall in love while chasing after a deadly gang of drug-smuggling terrorists in the Sahara Desert, they risk losing their lives and their careers.
Meanwhile, a stunning youthful widow faces off with human traffickers while illegally making her way to Europe.
In China, an ambitious high-ranking government official battles against the older Communist government hawks; individuals who could plunge China and North Korea to an irredeemable place.
In the U.S, Pauline Green, the nation’s first woman president, is faced with a myriad of problems.
But what happens when the world’s superpowers are entangled in a complicated web of alliances with seemingly no escape?
Will anybody avert the inevitable?
H. Ross Perot is a devoted businessman who took matters into his own hands when two of his employees were taken hostage in a heavily guarded prison facility in Iran.
His team was made up of a group of volunteers from the executive ranks of his corporation; all carefully selected and trained by a retired Green Beret officer.
They would go on to put their own lives on the line in order to free the imprisoned Americans.
This is the inspiring real-life story of a Green Beret colonel who came out of retirement to lead a secret raid; computer executives who were transformed into a crack commando team, and a determined Texas industrialist who simply couldn’t leave behind two Americans in an Iranian jail.
Today, the team is back to living their normal lives.
For a moment however, they lived a legend!
Director: Andrew V. McLaglen
Cast: Louis Giambalvo, Jim Metzler, Lawrence Pressman, Esai Morales, Martin Doyle, Robert Wightman, Cyril O'Reilly, Bob Delegall
Two days after fire ravaged Notre Dame, international bestselling author Ken Follett flew to the French capital for a discussion about cathedrals on the TV programme La Grande Librairie.
However, it’s while having breakfast with his French publisher the following morning that the proposal to write a short book about Notre Dame came about.
In this short fascinating book, Ken Follett describes what he went through when he learned about the fire, and talks extensively about the cathedral, from its construction to the pivotal role it has played in history.
Proceeds from this book will go to the charity La Fondation du Patrimoine.
The Century Trilogy
One boy is introduced to a man’s world at the age of thirteen.
One American law student fails to find love but secures an unexpected new career in the White House, for President Woodrow Wilson.
Whilst working for the aristocratic Fitzherberts, a housekeeper takes a decisive step well above her station. Lady Maud Fitzherbert on the other hand does the irredeemable mistake of falling in love with a German spy.
Two orphaned Russian brothers take utterly different paths when their plan of moving to America is thwarted by war, conscription, and revolution.
Fall of Giants tells the story of how the fate of five families becomes inexplicably interweaved as they move through the tumultuous First World War, the Russian Revolution, and the fight for women’s suffrage.
Carla von Ulrich, who is half German and half English, finds her life overwhelmed by the Nazi tide up until she dares to commit one courageous deed that will come with its fair share of heartbreak.
Woody and Chuck Dewar, two American brothers who both hold a secret, take divergent paths to momentous events. One of the events is in Washington while the other is in the bloody jungles of the Pacific.
In the desperation of the Spanish Civil War, English student Lloyd Williams learns that he must rebel against Communism just as much as Fascism.
Daisy Peshkov, an ambitious social climber, cherishes nothing more than popularity until the devastation of war completely turns her life around. Volodya, her cousin, carves out a position in Soviet intelligence; one that will not only affect this war but, the war to come too.
This is the story of how five connected families go through the Third Reich, World War II, and the beginning of the Cold War.
Rebecca Hoffmann, an East German teacher, reacts impulsively having discovered that the Stasi has been spying on her for years. Her actions will affect her family for the rest of their lives
George Jakes, a mixed-race man, forgoes a corporate law career to join Robert F. Kennedy’s Justice Department. His is a story of civil rights battles and personal battles.
Cameron Dewar, the grandson of a senator, endeavors to commit both official and unofficial espionage for a worthy cause, only to learn of just how dangerous the world can get.
With the United States and the Soviet Union on the verge of nuclear war, Dimka Dvorkin, a youthful assistant to Nikita Khrushchev, becomes an agent both for good and evil.
Tanya, his twin sister, is however on a role that will take her right into the annals of history.
This is the story of how five families go through the civil rights movement, assassinations, mass political movements, the Berlin Wall, the Cuban Missile Crisis and presidential impeachment.
The Kingsbridge Series
The year is 997 CE.
England is being attacked by the Welsh and the Vikings.
With no clear rule of law, mayhem erupts.
In the midst of the tempestuous times however emerge three characters whose lives become interweaved.
A young boatbuilder struggles to fit in after moving to a tiny hamlet following attacks on his home by Vikings; a Norman noblewoman is shocked by the cultures of her husband's homeland where everyone around her is on a vicious struggle for power; and a monk aspires to turn his humble monastery into a hub of learning.
This engrossing tale of ambition and rivalry, and love and hate, ends where The Pillars of the Earth (1989) begins.
This first installation of The Kingsbridge Series marks the dawn of a classic historical masterpiece set in the fictional city of Kingsbridge.
It tells the story of three individuals; Philip, Tom and Aliena.
Philip, prior of Kingsbridge, is a gifted and dedicated monk who has the ambition of building the greatest Gothic cathedral the world has ever seen.
In order to that, he will need Tom—a mason who ends up becoming his architect. He is a man divided in his soul.
Aliena on the other hand is a stunning and evasive woman who harbors a secret of shame.
Therein begins a struggle between good and evil; one that will pit the church against the state, and brother against brother.
Director: Sergio Mimica-Gezzan
Cast: Ian McShane, Rufus Sewell, Matthew Macfadyen, Eddie Redmayne, Hayley Atwell, Sarah Parish, Natalia Wörner, Anatole Taubman, John Pielmeier, Robert Bathurst, Clive Wood, Sam Claflin, Liam Garrigan, David Oakes, Götz Otto, Tony Curran, Donald Sutherland
The sequel, World Without End, is set two hundred years after the townspeople completed the construction of the magnificent Gothic cathedral.
Four children, a thief, a bully, a boy genius and a girl who dreams of pursuing medicine, slip away from the cathedral city of Kingsbridge; only to witness the killing of two men in the forest.
Their adult life will be intertwined with ambition, love, greed and revenge.
One of the boys will traverse the world but still return home, while the other will be a strong but corrupt nobleman. One girl will go against the might of the medieval church, while the other will desperately chase after an impossible love.
Through it all, they will continuously be haunted by the inexplicable killing witnessed during that unfortunate day in their childhood.
Director: Michael Caton-Jones
Cast: Cynthia Nixon, Miranda Richardson, Ben Chaplin, Peter Firth, Charlotte Riley, Tom Weston-Jones
“Will one young spy protect his queen as Europe erupts?”
The year is 1558. The ancient stones of Kingsbridge Cathedral are against the backdrop of a city destroyed by religious conflict.
Ned Willard wants to marry Margery Fitzgerald but when the two lovers are drawn to opposing sides of the religious conflict, Ned goes to work for Princess Elizabeth Tudor.
When Elizabeth finally becomes Queen of England, the whole of Europe plots against her.
Despite several assassination attempts, Elizabeth clings to her throne.
A skilled group of spies and secret agents is thus formed to ensure the Queen’s safety.
This marks the birth of the British secret service that would ultimately give rise to James Bond.
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.