Cover Image: The Armor of Light

The Armor of Light

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

The Armor of Light is the fourth historical fiction book in Ken Follett's Kingsbridge series. I believe he originally was only writing a trilogy, and unfortunately, I think that is where he should have stayed. Or maybe split them into duology with 1 &2 and 3 & 4.

(Not including his prequel in this review, the other three books followed a more interesting timeline (1000-1600-ish)). The Armor of Light was set in the late 1700s-late 1800s. While all of his books follow a similar premise, this was literally A Column of Fire, with Follett replacing the names, dates, and popular industrial machine of its time int0 this new book. There is a reason he took 15 years or so to publish the second book. This seemed rushed, even with it being 1000+ pages. I also found it to be tedious to read at times. There were CHAPTERS of information on Napoleon, gun types and battles, and how a Spinning Jenny worked. The book follows the same structure as the previous books. A lot of main characters, a strong woman (Sal), a heroic man (Amos), and an evil do-er or two (Will & Hornbeam).

This novel was mostly about the Industrial Revolution time period. New machinery, union/worker issues, and war with France. You will follow multiple character's lives and their challenges and successes throughout.

There was a lot of lines I rolled my eyes at, and everyone always seems to says yes to love and marriage. The major setbacks I find with Follett is that he does not do a whole lot of research to confirm facts, but it is historical fiction, so I will give him that. The other thing I hate, is the amount of sexual assault that occurs to women in this one. There is always some SA in all of his books-damsel in distress type, but this one had a lot of unnecessary moments. I am sad to see the Kingsbridge series end, but I think it was time as nothing will be as well-written as The Pillars of the Earth- where I fell in love.

Was this review helpful?

This book did not disappoint. I loved the Armor of Light. Every character jumps to life right off the page and into my heart. F0llett's gift for descriptive writing is like no other author. This is the perfect book!
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC in exchange for my honest review

Was this review helpful?

First sentence: Until that day, Sal Clitheroe had never heard her husband scream.

I should preface this review by stating once again, I am reading books out of order. Book #5 is where I started on the Kingsbridge series. I think the story works as a stand alone, but it has me wondering about books 1-4 and reaching to start from the beginning.

The Armour of Light is set from 1792 – 1825 in English history and includes the Industrial Revolution and the War with France which lasted over twenty years. We learn alot about the times via a wonderful cast of characters.

Ken Follett is a historical master at creating epic reads. The war, the Industrial Revolution, the food shortage, and the changing landscape of Kingsbridge come to life. I learn so much reading his books.

Those who love epic reads full of historical content will enjoyed this read.

Many thanks to Netgalley and Penguin Group Viking for sharing another hit from Follett.

Was this review helpful?

The next installment in the Kingsbridge series, this time taking place in the 18th and 19th centuries. As always, Follett places his fictional characters in the context of the times and centers his plot around those political and historical events. He occasionally references people or events from the first two books, jogging the readers memory as to how it all fits together. The first half of the book was engaging as he set up the characters and their machinations, but it slowed down in the Napoleonic War section.

Was this review helpful?

Ken Follett publishes another in his great Kingsbridge series. As always, he delivers a wonderfully entertaining group of characters and plots that give us a glimpse of history. All of his Kingsbridge series books are a joy to read. I look forward to each one.

Was this review helpful?

I am a bit disappointed by this book. I enjoyed the rest of the series much more. The writing seemed simplistic and the characters were basic. While some of the historical facts were interesting, overall the book was dull. ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for a fair review.

Was this review helpful?

A true wordsmith! The people come alive and I was drawn back to 1820 as the people of Shiring face challenges that leave me awestruck. Such a tough hardy ilk that built cities!

Was this review helpful?

The newest Kingsbridge novel spans the late 18th and early 19th centuries during a new era of class struggles, the Napoleonic wars, and the introduction of machines like the Spinning Jenny into cloth mills. This very long novel follow its characters through the span of decades. It follows the same formula as the other Kingsbridge novels, so if you've read the others, it feels familiar and a bit predictable. Some readers may find this boring, while others will find it a comforting return to a beloved fictional town. It can also be read as a standalone novel.

I was generously provided with an ARC by NetGalley and Penguin Group Viking in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

A great historical read, I always feel as if I'm having a history lesson, with a great story to make it more interesting with Follett,s books. Totally enjoyed the last third of the book, action packed. Follett has a way of grabbing you and not letting you leave. Good book to keep me company with my bout of covid.

Was this review helpful?

Another great installment in the series, even if it isn’t my favorite. The section on the battle of Waterloo was incredibly boring, but other than that I enjoyed it a lot. I appreciated how the major villain of the story was more like a Scrooge than the violent, murderous type in the previous books; it was a nice change

Was this review helpful?

Follett delivers another epic tale surrounding the lives of the residents of Kingsbridge. The story takes place around the French Revolution through the Napoleonic Wars weaving in the history of the spinning jenny and the key events of the industrialization of textile manufacturing. Having read most everything Follett has published this was not one of my favorites. The characters lacked dimension and it felt more historical lite in comparison to the other Kingsbridge installments. However, it did keep me entertained and reading 900+ pages, to a satisfying conclusion, so overall a solid delivery.

ARC was provided by NetGalley and Penguin Group Viking in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

Years ago, I was entranced by Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth, the first in the”Knightsbridge trilogy,” but for some reason I didn’t read the entire series. TBH, I still haven’t completed it, but I was happy to receive a copy of The Armor of Light, the latest in the series, from Penguin Group Viking and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. True confession time: my husband grabbed it first, and I haven’t finished it, so this review is based mostly on his opinion…but he’s incredibly smart, so we are all in good hands!

The story is set in the late 1700s, just as the industrial revolution is getting rolling. Massive changes are taking place, involving class struggles, tradition vs progress, and oh by the way there is a war in Europe, with Napoleon involved!

Typical of a Follett story, there are a LOT of interesting characters, all of whose lives are facing massive changes in all areas of life. Many years ago, I was a student at U.C. Davis, where I was lucky to take a history course which used novels instead of traditional texts.This book would be an awesome way to study nineteenth-century Europe. Follett fans: rejoice! A five-star entry in the series is here!

Was this review helpful?

Everything I have ever read by Ken Follett is always a treat and of the highest quality, and this book was no different. What sets him apart is his breathtaking prose, his excellent characterization, and the quality of his historical accuracy. You feel for the characters, their struggles and triumphs are your own. I learned so much about English history that I didn't know before. Ken Follett excels in the details, and everything is perfect. This was a stellar addition to the Kingsbridge series and you will be swept away yet glued to your seat! Absolutely wonderful! I recommend all his books, but I believe this one is my favorite and his best yet! TEN STARS!

Was this review helpful?

I requested this right after finishing Follett’s “The Evening and the Morning,” to bookend the series since I read the others years ago. Maybe it’s because I absolutely loved the evening and the morning that this one fell a little flat for me. I just wasn’t as invested in the story of characters as I had been with the others in this series. That said, I still enjoyed reading it and was happy to continue to explore Kingsbridge and the way the industrial revolution was changing things for makers and townspeople.

Was this review helpful?

Ken Follett brings us back to Kingsbridge, England where the different classes clash as they are heading to war. Set around the clothiers, spinners and weavers of the late 1770's and the new inventions that changes their lives, Follett gives the reader another rich saga!

Was this review helpful?

Thank you to Net Galley for providing an early copy of The Armor of Light by Ken Follett

The drama in and around Kingsbridge, England continues in this fifth installment of the trials facing the common people of England. Though they strive for "bread and peace", the reality of the Industrial Revolution, the illegal formation of unions (subject to handing) imminent war with Napoleon and starvation put the lives of the citizens in every kind of danger.

The story opens as America has fought off the British (1792-93), and England is now facing an enemy much closer to home: Napoleon Bonaparte. The commoners at this time have other things to worry about: as machinery begins to take over their livelihoods (particularly in the textile industry), their families go hungry. Many reasonably attempt to form some kind of a union, but their efforts are thwarted by the industrialists who continue to make huge profits at their expense.

The rise of Methodism in England becomes another point of contention as men are judged by the religion they follow.

Several central characters end up on different sides of the conflict but are unable to break the will of their
opposition. One strong example is the mean-spirited and vindictive alderman and businessman of the town who attempts at every turn to keep the workers down and obedient to the law, even to the point of hanging a child for stealing a ribbon to sell for bread.

Several well-meaning characters attempt at every turn to foil the alderman but have little power to make meaningful changes. They continue to be an "armor of light" throughout their tribulations.

The book concludes with the Battle of Waterloo which is described in moment-to-moment detail, giving the readers an opportunity to clearly understand how Wellington and his troops defeated Napoleon. These troops are another "armor of light" for England.

Author Ken Follett cannot be beat for his narration of the lives of everyday people who continue on against great odds.

Was this review helpful?