While Ken Follett has previously indicated in vague fashion that his next book would be published in the fall of 2017, today Viking has told Publishers Lunch that the new epic, A COLUMN OF FIRE, will release in North America on September 12, 2017. The book is the third installment in the Kingsbridge series, following The Pillars of the Earth and World Without End. A final page count and price are still to be determined, though Viking says the length “will be similar to World Without End, which was close to 1000 pages.” (World Without End was published in 2007 as $35 hardcover.)
Follett says in the announcement, “I’m thrilled to be publishing the next novel in the Kingsbridge series with Viking and introducing readers to the world of spies and secret agents in the sixteenth century, the time of Queen Elizabeth I. It’s a rich and fascinating part of history and I’m excited to share this with book lovers.” As Viking describes it, the book “begins in 1558 where the ancient stones of Kingsbridge Cathedral look down on a city torn apart by religious conflict. As power in England shifts precariously between Catholics and Protestants, high principles clash bloodily with friendship, loyalty, and love…. The real enemies, then as now, are not the rival religions. The true battle pitches those who believe in tolerance and compromise against the tyrants who would impose their ideas on everyone else—no matter what the cost.”
They add: “Will Willard wants nothing more than to marry Margery Fitzgerald. But when the lovers find themselves on opposing sides of the religious divide sweeping across the country, Will goes to work for Princess Elizabeth. When she becomes queen, all Europe turns against England. The shrewd, determined young monarch sets up the country’s first secret service, to give her early warning of assassination plots, rebellions and invasion plans. Over a turbulent half-century, the love between Will and Margery seems doomed, as extremism sparks violence from Edinburgh to Geneva. Elizabeth clings precariously to her throne and her principles, protected by a small, dedicated group of resourceful spies and courageous secret agents.”
Viking says that “international releases are still to be determined,” though Follett indicated on his own site that Plaza & Janes will publish in fall 2017 in Spain (and he says The Pillars of the Earth “is the most widely read novel in Spain, with six million copies sold to date”).