#BookReview Ken Follet - The Armour of Light (Kingsbridge #4)

The blurb.
Revolution is in the air
1792. A tyrannical government is determined to make England a mighty commercial empire. In France, Napoleon Bonaparte begins his rise to power, and with dissent rife, France’s neighbours are on high alert.

Kingsbridge is on the edge
Unprecedented industrial change sweeps the land, making the lives of the workers in Kingbridge’s prosperous cloth mills a misery. Rampant modernization and dangerous new machinery are rendering jobs obsolete and tearing families apart.

Tyranny is on the horizon
Now, as international conflict nears, a story of a small group of Kingsbridge people - including spinner Sal Clitheroe, weaver David Shoveller and Kit, Sal’s inventive and headstrong son - will come to define the struggle of a generation as they seek enlightenment and fight for a future free from oppression. . .

Taking the reader straight into the heart of history with the fifth novel in the ground-breaking Kingsbridge series, The Armour of Light is master storyteller Ken Follett’s most ambitious novel to date.

My review

Where to even begin. The books in The Kingsbridge series are probably my most favourite historical novels. And this 5th instalment, the 4th chronologically, delivers exactly like the others did.

Religion, corruption, abuse of power and the unfairness of the social classes are still prominent in 18th and early 19th century Kingsbridge. So even though the city itself is unrecognisable in many ways, very few things have changed if you're born into the lower working class, from when prior Philip built his cathedral. 'Change' however is in many ways the main theme of 'The Armour of Light'. With revolutions in the different industries and politics and a war, we see the world changing bit by bit through the course of this story.

Filled to the brim with historical detail that leaves me even more in awe of Ken Follet's historical knowledge and the incredible amount of research that must have gone in to writing this book. He mastered the feel, and the historical facts, of yet another time period in this massive read. From socio-economic to military and political topics, all of it is described and understood with an astonishing depth.

Another key element of Ken Follet's books for me is that his characters are never guaranteed a happy ending. Their successes, happiness, good fortune,... never comes easily and is often hard won after loss and hardship. It again contributes to how accurate and believable both the storylines and the characters are. This story too spans a lifetime of some of these characters, making you feel even more invested.


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