Follett’s Epic Tale: ‘Weapons of Light’ Illuminates England’s Transformation

It comes out on Tuesday, September 26, simultaneously worldwide (published in Italy by Mondadori), Ken Follett’s latest novel, “Weapons of Light.” Ken Follett, one of the world’s most widely read and beloved bestselling authors, with 36 books published and over 188 million copies sold, resides in Hertfordshire, England, with his wife Barbara. In “Weapons of Light,” Follett takes readers on a journey between 1792 and 1824, an era of significant changes where progress collided with the traditions of the old rural world, and a despotic government aimed to transform England into a powerful trading empire.

In Kingsbridge, industrialization rapidly transformed the city, causing the majority of the population, who relied on textile manufacturing as their primary source of income, to fall into poverty. A group of interconnected families sees their lives upended by the advent of machinery, while the war with neighboring France under Napoleon Bonaparte rages on, culminating in the Battle of Waterloo. Bread riots, strikes, and resistance against forced conscription into the army ensue. The story introduces a courageous spinner, a brilliant young boy, a young idealist who establishes a school for underprivileged children, a fabric merchant drowning in his father’s debts, an unfaithful wife, a rebellious worker, an enterprising craftsman, an inept bishop, and a wealthy, unscrupulous entrepreneur, among others.

Ken Follett has been known for creating charismatic heroines and heroes throughout his career, and in “Weapons of Light,” these characters grapple with evil and perverse figures while striving for a future free from oppression, all set against a backdrop of meticulously researched historical details.

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