Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Column of Fire (Kingsbridge, #3)” as Want to Read:
A Column of Fire (Kingsbridge, #3)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A Column of Fire

(Kingsbridge #3)

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  48,337 ratings  ·  4,235 reviews
The best-selling author turns his eye to one of the most turbulent times in European history in this third installment of the magnificent Kingsbridge series. Deconstructing a half-century of revolution and religion, at its heart is an epic story of love, family and tolerance.

Young Will Willard is coming home to Kingsbridge at Christmas as A Column of Fire opens. The year 1
Audible Audio
Published September 19th 2017 by Macmillan Digital Audio (first published September 12th 2017)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A Column of Fire, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Anjuli Clayden Some people (like myself) have been sent early proof copies to read and review as well. I received mine back in Feb, though it's not due for release…moreSome people (like myself) have been sent early proof copies to read and review as well. I received mine back in Feb, though it's not due for release in the UK until Sept. (less)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.22  · 
Rating details
 ·  48,337 ratings  ·  4,235 reviews

Sort order
Emily May
I've had a whole month and 900+ pages to think about it-- and I just didn't enjoy A Column of Fire as much as The Pillars of the Earth and World Without End.

I think I know why, and I'll get to that in a second, but I'd first like to say that this isn't a bad book. I happily read right through to the end without feeling like it was a chore to finish. Some of Follett's tried and tested formula is present here - namely, a central starcrossed romance and despicable villains - which keeps the pages
Sean Barrs the Bookdragon
I didn’t want to write this review, I’ve been weighing it up for a few days, but this book is so far removed from the previous two books that a negative review is unavoidable. A Column of Fire is way too short and way too predictable, which is a sort of odd comment to make about a book over 750 pages long with a huge cast of characters. But let me explain.

Ken Follet is at his best when he writes massive historical yarns. He mixes the political and social issues of the age with the lives of some
Aug 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My love affair with Follett goes as far back as 13 years, when I was first enraptured by Eye of the Needle.

Since then, you've tucked me into bed several nights with your fabulous stories of espionage, romance, historical fiction, and oh so much more.

This series makes me sigh as It wraps around me much like a caterpillar In a cocoon. It is fabulously rich in character and plot development and leaves me longing for the next big book you write -especially during the 16th century.
I loved The Pilla
Oct 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ken Follett again took a lengthy hiatus before penning this third novel in the series, which is reflected in the writing and shall be discussed below. Kingsbridge, with its cathedral and mighty bridge, again proves to be the initial backdrop of this thoroughly researched tome, set in the 16th century. The great community emerges in the opening pages of the novel, where the reader encounters Ned Willard, returning after a period away. As the snow falls, causing the great Cathedral to disappear, t ...more
Dana Ilie
Aug 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Yet again another masterpiece.....

Ken Follett follows The Pillars of the Earth and World Without End with a tale of espionage, political intrigue and extreme faith during a time of never-ending religious conflict. Full of adventure and suspense, A Column of Fire is an inspiring and thrilling portrait of one of Europe’s most perilous times in history.

It is a journey not only through place but also through a dazzling number of key historical events. Beginning in 1558 and continuing through to 16
I've reviewed ~575 books in the last few years and don't often give out 5 stars. I can be a bit stingy as I want the book to just completely knock me over. Ken Follett is one of few authors who consistently impress, excite, and satisfy this thirst. The Pillars of the Earth came very close. World Without End hit the mark and is one of my top 5 all-time favorite books. In the third book in the Kingsbridge series, A Column of Fire, I am again thoroughly exhilarated and awarding 5 stars. I do think ...more
OM@%*+?!G!!!!!! Okay, please don't hate me for doing this in the review box, but just found out there's a third book in the "TPOTE" series and I'M DYING!!!!!!!!!! Book one was and still is such a love/hate for so many and I'm most definitely one of the diehard lovers of the first book, have the second and can't wait to read it and now A THIRD BOOK?!?!?!?! Just a little excited :-O I'm being a total book nerd and about to jump out of my skin!! Must get my hands on this ASAP!!!! I can't wait need ...more
Oct 25, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It seems the consensus among Kingsbridge fans is that A Column of Fire is their least favourite. I agree.

Forgive my corniness, but A Column of Fire just didn't have the flame the previous two books in the series had.

Ken Follett, one of the best-selling authors in history, has never been considered as a spectacular writer. This holds true again in this latest novel. Follett writes quick-paced scenes. His sentences remain as stilted as ever. His words are rigid, and perhaps this evens gives a ce
May 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was asked to review this by Nudge and was thrilled 28 years ago I read the first book - Pillars of the Earth on holiday and was blown away. 18 years later saw the author then bring out the long awaited World without End and 10 years later I am sitting here with the third instalment. The book although a long time coming is worth the wait. I was given one of a limited edition numbered book proof of 1240.

This is a spy story with Elizabeth the first reigning in the sixteenth century. As ever Ken F
Sep 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I did it, or should I say Ken Follett did it? He managed to in nine hundred and six pages, to continue the story he started two books ago with The Pillars of the Earth and World Without End. Amazing to me is that Mr Follett not only wrote this many pages, but also so aptly filled those pages with a story that was hard to put down. If you loved the first two books in this series, you are going to be in love once again.

In this novel, the year is 1558 and religious strife is tearing the country, it
Maria Espadinha
Nov 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Se Isto é Religião?!

Esta obra recordou-me (e já vão entender porquê) um excerto duma cantiga de Chico Buarque que soa mais ou menos assim:

"...mesmo quando minhas mãos estão empenhadas em torturar, trucidar, matar...meu coração fecha os olhos e sinceramente, chora!..."

Será religião queimar em fogueiras, torturar e massacrar?!...

Aonde é que estão a paz e o amor pelo próximo que toda a religião apregoa?!...

Foram múltiplas as guerras a que os caciques religiosos se entregaram. Esses anjos negros far
Simona Bartolotta

“Sometimes Ned felt he lived in a rotten world.”

I haven't read World Without End yet, but according what I've gathered from the reviews I've seen and my experience with the wonderful The Pillars of the Earth, A Column of Fire seems to be significantly different from both its predecessors. The most heard complaints are, as far as I know, the weakness of the romance and the lack of depth when it comes to the characters, most likely due to A Column of Fire having a much wider scope than the
Diane S ☔
I was very familiar with this time period, the religious wars in France and England, the Spanish Inquisition. So much bloodshed, killing in the name of the Lord. A huge cast of characters, no character list provided, took quite a while to remember who was who, this is a very lengthy tome. A fantastic portraying of the history of this time period. Yet, for me frustrating as well. In his effort to cover so much ground, in different areas, he sacrificed character development, and made the various t ...more
Sep 17, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'm a huge fan of Pillars of the Earth and World Without End. After only two chapters of this book I am hugely disappointed. It is difficult to believe that Ken Follet wrote this book. The language is juvenile and the vernacular is very modern and western. I'll continue reading and hope for some improvement.
'A Column of Fire' by Ken Follett. I loved 'Pillars of the Earth' and 'World Without End' so I had high hopes for this book but I think I was put off by the fact that I had read a lot of historical books about this period so it was rather boring to me. I did engage with a couple of the characters and found parts of the book interesting.
Feb 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Αρκετά ωραίο αλλά δεν είναι σαν τα δύο προηγούμενα. Προσπάθησε πολύ χωρίς να του βγαίνει αβίαστα...
Clif Hostetler
Sep 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Reformation was a time when religion was front and center in national, social and personal identity. It was so important that it was common practice to kill those who held incorrect beliefs. The concept of tolerance was generally an abhorrent thought because it suggested that correct religious belief wasn't absolutely important and true. This book is a historical novel about a time when toleration of religious diversity was beginning to take hold during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. But tr ...more
Mar 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: edelweiss, historical
I'm giving this four stars because in comparison to many other historical fiction books, it certainly deserves that many stars at least. In comparison to Follett's other Kingsbridge novels, sadly, I'd only give it three stars.

There is something magical about The Pillars of the Earth and World Without End. In those novels Follett weaves together the lives of ordinary people and makes what might otherwise seem mundane, engrossing. They tell the tales of good vs. evil, the many obstacles on the pat
Mar 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
*** 4 ***

Ken Follett is not the best writer. What Ken Follett is, is a good observer of the human condition and a very good historical researcher. If you love history and particularly the 16th Century Western European politics and religious wars, this series, and particularly this book is a very good addition to the usual historical fiction variety. For the fans of the Kingsbridge series, this book comes back to the town with the big Cathedral and some familial descendants to the first Tom Build
Jan 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yes, I have done this many times:watched a man die knowing that I, more than anyone else, had brought him to his just but dreadful punishment. I did it for my country, which is dear to me; for my sovereign, whom I serve; and for something else, a principle, the belief that a person had the right to make up his own mind about God.
He was the last of many men I sent to hell, but he made me think of the first...

Well, my hats off to Mr. Ken Follett on another fantastic historical fiction that I go
Anne Goldschrift
Ich muss ehrlich sagen, dass ich mich mehr darauf gefreut habe, als es mich letztlich überzeugt hat. Ja, die Geschichte war toll, aber eigentlich hatte es so gar nichts mehr mit Die Säulen der Erde zu tun. Weder inhaltlich oder zeitlich, noch vom Gefühl beim Lesen.
Es ist interessant, einen so großen Überblick über den Konflikt zwischen Katholiken und Protestanten zu bekommen, aber es war mir einfach irgendwann zu viel. Zu viele Zahlen, zu viele Personen, zu viele Beziehungen, zu viele Zeitsprün
Feb 28, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A ver, que voy y me voy a despachar a gusto… (Y si eres fan a ultranza de Follett no sigas leyendo)

Abandonado al 75% tras más de 850 página leídas (si se abandona con ese avance es que uno está quemadillo, ¿eh?).

Que les den a los hugonotes, a los protestantes, a los católicos, a la reina Isabel I, a María Tudor e incluso a Felipe II.

Y tras acabar con ellos que empiecen con los personajes del libro y sigan con el mismo procedimiento.

(que bien me he “quedao”)

Follett nos da un nuevo libro como los
Oct 26, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
"Religous hypocrisy" may be a better title for this long, tortuous, brutal, murdering and warring legions under the guise of Catholics and Protestants. While I admire Ken Follett as an author, I despise this story. 1 of 10 stars
Dec 13, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love his writing.... this one just fell short
Célia | Estante de Livros
Mesmo tendo sido escrito há quase 30 anos, Os Pilares da Terra continua a ser, sem grande dúvida, o livro mais lido e adorado do escritor britânico Ken Follett. Dezoito anos depois surgiu Mundo sem Fim, a sequela decorrida dois séculos depois da história original, que recuperou a população de Kingsbridge no século XIV, durante o período da Peste Negra. Agora, Ken Follett decidiu prosseguir com esta série, voltando a Kingsbridge no século XVI, em pleno conflito religioso entre católicos e protest ...more
Meg - A Bookish Affair
4.5 stars. "A Column of Fire" is the third book in Ken Follett's Kingsbridge series. I have not read the first two books but after reading this one, I really want to go back to read those two books as well as some of Follett's other books! That being said, this book works rather well as a standalone book. Standing at over 900 pages, you are in Follett's very capable hands so the pages fly by! This is a historical fiction epic.

The book takes place during a tumultuous time in England's history: th
Aug 23, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ms.pegasus by: selection of local book club
Shelves: fiction, history
Great historical fiction immerses the reader in a different time and place. That state of immersion is shattered by glaring anachronisms. Some years ago I was watching a drama about Henry VIII. It included a dance scene that resembled a high school sock-hop more than a courtly diversion. That one scene ruined any possible sense of immersion. Writers beware: costumes and scenery alone are insufficient for creating historical fiction.

Unfortunately, I encountered the same problem with A COLUMN OF
Tanja Berg
Sep 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I expect sumptuous historical novels from Ken Follett and he definitely delivered again. The cast of villains and heroes is vast. This time the setting is time of Elizabeth I. She inherited the throne from her catholic sister Mary, much to the chagrin of the English Catholics. They would much rather have had a Catholic Queen, and many set their eyes on Mary, Queen of Scots.

The main character of this book is Ned Willard. He is in love with Margery, but her parents have intended her for someone e
I received a copy of the book from a Goodreads Giveaway.

I will start by saying I loved the first two books in the Kingsbridge series. I remember being engrossed with their stories so I was very excited to read the third installment. However, if you choose to write a Tudor-era book that is one of many in a sea of Elizabethan novels, it had better be fantastic and this just wasn't. It irritated me to no end that most of the fictional characters somehow took over the pivotal role in so many importa
a long book that moves extremely fast and while fairly predictable and with black and white characters without much subtlety, it is still very gripping and keeps one turning the pages; while technically Kingsbridge 3, the action is on a much larger canvas following the long religious struggle of the second half of the 16th century, mainly in England and France abut also in the Low Countries and even the Americas; a few notable events like the Night of st. Bartholomew in Paris, the long imprisonm ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: Incorrect page count 2 216 Sep 03, 2018 06:56AM  
A Colum of Fire 1 17 Jul 16, 2018 07:15AM  
Fantasy Buddy Reads: A Column of Fire [Mar 22, 2018] 37 41 Apr 12, 2018 10:13AM  
Does anyone know typically how long 1 29 Feb 09, 2018 01:17PM  
  • The Underground Railroad
  • The Rebels of Ireland (The Dublin Saga, #2)
  • A King's Ransom (Plantagenets #5)
  • Beartown (Beartown, #1)
  • The Pillar of the Sky
  • Speculator
  • Gutenberg's Apprentice
  • Trinity (Wars of the Roses, #2)
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7)
  • Lady of the Eternal City (The Empress of Rome, #4)
  • City of God: A Novel of Passion and Wonder in Old New York (Old New York, #3)
  • The Harrowing
  • Fields of Glory (The Vintener Trilogy #1)
  • The Wild Hunt (Ravenstow Trilogy #1)
  • Red Sky at Noon (Moscow Trilogy #2)
  • Bring Up the Bodies (Thomas Cromwell, #2)
  • Revelation (Matthew Shardlake, #4)
Ken Follett is one of the world’s most successful authors. Over 165 million copies of the 31 books he has written have been sold in over 80 countries and in 33 languages.
Born on June 5th, 1949 in Cardiff, Wales, the son of a tax inspector, Ken was educated at state schools and went on to graduate from University College, London, with an Honours degree in Philosophy – later to be made a Fellow of

Other books in the series

Kingsbridge (3 books)
  • The Pillars of the Earth (Kingsbridge, #1)
  • World Without End (Kingsbridge, #2)
“When a man is certain that he knows God’s will, and is resolved to do it regardless of the cost, he is the most dangerous person in the world.” 14 likes
“Trials rarely found men not guilty. The general view was that if a man were innocent he would not have got into trouble in the first place.” 5 likes
More quotes…