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Biography of Ken Follett | Life and Career

Biography of Ken Follett | Life and Career

Biography of Ken Follett | Life and Career: British author Kenneth Martin Follett was born on June 5, 1949. Follett’s genres are thrillers and historical novels. He has sold over 160 million copies of his works. Several of his books have achieved a high ranking on the list of bestsellers. In the United States, many of his books have reached the number one position on the best-seller list of the New York Times. Some of his most popular works are Triple, The Key to Rebecca, Lie Down with Lions, A Dangerous Fortune, World Without End, Fall of Giants, Winter of the World, and Edge of Eternity.

Early Life and Education

Ken Follett was born in Cardiff, Wales. He was the first child of Martin Follett and Lavinia Follett. Follett also has two siblings, Hannah and James. He was barred from watching television and movies by his Plymouth Brethren parents; he developed an early interest in reading but also remained an uninterested student till he was a teen. After his family moved to London, Follett began applying himself at Harrow Weald Grammar School and Poole Technical College. In 1967, Ken won admission to University College London where he got engaged in center-left politics and studied psychology. In 1968, he married Mary and their son Emanuele was born. He graduated in 1970. After graduation, he took a three-month post graduate course in journalism. Then he worked as a trainee reporter in Cardiff in the South Wales Echo. In 1973, Follett became the father to his daughter Marie-Claire.


Biography of Ken Follett | Life and Career
Biography of Ken Follett | Life and Career

After spending three years in Cardiff, Ken returned to London as a reporter for the Evening News. He found the job of general-assisting reporter quite challenging and eventually left journalism for publishing. By the later 1970s, he became deputy managing director of a London-based publisher Everest Books. This is the time when he started writing fiction as a hobby during evenings and weekends.

He was gaining success gradually, but his 1978 published Eye of the Needle became an international bestseller and sold over 10 million copies, which made him both globally popular and wealthy. By 2018, Ken published 44 books. His first five bestsellers were spy thrillers: Eye of the Needle, Triple, The Key to Rebecca, The Man from St. Petersburg, and Lie Down with Lions. His 1983 published On Wings of Eagles was a true story of how two workers of Ross Perot were freed from Iran during the 1979 revolution. Follett’s next three novels, Night Over Water, A Dangerous Fortune, and A Place Called Freedom were historical. With his next novel published in 1996, The Third Twin, Ken returned to the thriller genre. His next work published in 1998, The Hammer of Eden was a contemporary suspense tale followed by a book on Cold War Thriller Code to Zero.

Biography of Ken Follett | Life and Career
Biography of Ken Follett | Life and Career

With Jackdaws (2001) and Hornet Flight (2002), Follett returned to the World War II era. Jackdaws focus on a group of women who were parachuted into France to devastate a vital phone exchange. This book won him the Corine Literature Prize. Hornet Flight is about a daring young Danish couple who escape to Britain in a Hornet Moth biplane with fundamental information regarding German radar. His next published 2004 novel Whiteout is a contemporary thriller novel about the theft of a lethal virus from a research laboratory.

Kingsbridge Series by Ken Follett

The Pillars of Earth (1989) is Follett’s first non-spy thriller. The book is about building a cathedral in the 12th century in a small English village during the Anarchy. This book topped best-seller lists in Canada, Britain, and Italy. It was on the German bestseller list for six years. The sequel, World Without End (2007) features the descendants of the characters in the previously published novel. It focuses on the fate of a handful of people as their lives are destroyed by the 14th-centuryth century plague, the Black Death that swept Europe.

In 2017, A Column of Fire was published. The story begins in 1558 and follows the romance between Ned and Margery over half a century. It begins at a time when Europe turns against the queen and Elizabethan England. The fourth novel published in 2020, The Evening and the Morning is a prequel to The Pillars of the Earth. It is set in the Dark Ages (1000 AD) and the story concerns the creation of Kingsbridge town and the priests, nobles, peasants, and enslaved.

The series is described to as a comprehensive account of the creation of civilization with structures, laws, beliefs, and customs.

Century Trilogy by Ken Follett

Biography of Ken Follett | Life and Career
Biography of Ken Follett | Life and Career

Follett’s Century trilogy includes Fall of Giants (2010), Winter of the World (2012), and Edge of Eternity (2014). Fall of Giants follows the destiny of five interrelated families – American, Russian, Welsh, German, and English, as they experience the world during World War I, the Russian Revolution, and women’s suffrage. Winter of the World continues the story of the five families as they enter a time of massive economical, social, and political turmoil beginning with the rise of Nazi Germany through the Spanish Civil War. Edge of Eternity chronicles the lives of five families through the civil rights movement and the Cold War.


Ken Follett’s Eye of the Needle was created into a popular movie starring Donald Sutherland. In 2016, his novel A Dangerous Fortune was also adapted. Six of his novels have been made into TV miniseries: The Key to Rebecca, On Wings of Eagles, Lie Down with Lions, The Pillars of the Earth, The Third Twin, and World Without End. He also had cameo roles as the merchant in The Pillars of the Earth and as the valet in The Third Twin. German studio Daedalic Entertainment created a video game with the title Ken Follett’s The Pillars of the Earth. It was released in three parts from 2017 to 2018.

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