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  • The Armor of Light

  • A Novel (Kingsbridge, Book 5)
  • Written by: Ken Follett
  • Narrated by: John Lee
  • Length: 21 hrs and 39 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (69 ratings)

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The Armor of Light

Written by: Ken Follett
Narrated by: John Lee
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Publisher's Summary

An epic continuation of the series that began with The Pillars of the Earth, The Armor of Light heralds a new dawn for Kingsbridge, England, where progress clashes with tradition, class struggles push into every part of society, and war in Europe engulfs the entire continent and beyond

The Spinning Jenny was invented in 1770, and with that, a new era of manufacturing and industry changed lives everywhere within a generation. A world filled with unrest wrestles for control over this new world order: A mother’s husband is killed in a work accident due to negligence; a young woman fights to fund her school for impoverished children; a well-intentioned young man unexpectedly inherits a failing business; one man ruthlessly protects his wealth no matter the cost, all the while war cries are heard from France, as Napoleon sets forth a violent master plan to become emperor of the world. As institutions are challenged and toppled in unprecedented fashion, ripples of change ricochet through our characters’ lives as they are left to reckon with the future and a world they must rebuild from the ashes of war.

Over thirty years ago, Ken Follett published his most popular novel, The Pillars of the Earth. Now, with this electrifying addition to the Kingsbridge series we are plunged into the battlefield between compassion and greed, love and hate, progress and tradition. It is through each character that we are given a new perspective to the seismic shifts that shook the world in nineteenth-century Europe.

©2023 Ken Follett (P)2023 Penguin Audio

What the critics say

"Ken Follett a master storyteller . . . His works of historical fiction have made him a legend. . . . Follett’s latest marks the end of a storytelling journey that spans a thousand years. The Armor of Light is also the final entry in his Kingsbridge series." —Jeff Glor, CBS

"We can’t stop turning the pages. . . . it is Follett’s generosity and adeptness with historical detail and nimble depictions of technical matters that set this book, like its predecessors, above mere historical melodrama." —The Washington Post

"This epic canvas holds a mélange of relationships which all work out exactly as they should while Follett brings Kingsbridge up to the Regency era." Booklist

What listeners say about The Armor of Light

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Disappointed

Since Key to Rebecca, I’ve read almost every novel by Ken Follett; this is the first to not leave me wanting to read on. I found the storyline mundane and I believe the narrator’s odd cadence and voice were part of the issue.

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3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A proper sequel

I enjoyed all of the Kingsbridge novels because each one had a formula with the same themes and similar climaxes. They have been a little bit of a guilty pleasure. The Armor of Light however shows a proper development that fans of earlier novels will enjoy, but the themes are more developed and the characters a little more realistic.

To my relief, the sex scenes were also less robotic, both in content and narration. It is useful to know the existence of romantic relationships in this novel, but the awkward descriptions aren't necessary, and they weren't reproduced in this novel.

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Disappointing

First of all, the narration was very annoying. He has a very unnatural cadence that is more suited to a 40's newsreel or maybe a nature documentary. Real people do not speak like that. I tolerated it with the better books in the series but since this book was not near the caliber of the previous it added to my disappointment.

I did finish the whole thing but by the end seriously didn't care about the characters, I just wanted to get it over with. The characters were mostly not engaging and the storyline was short on exciting events. Many times I felt the author just rushed through an event because it was historical and mentioned a passing connection to the original Kingsbridge history on the way by.

The best thing I can say is that it was helpful for my insomnia.

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Boring and Slow

Compared to Ken's other novels this one does not rise to the challenge. Plot line is whatever and just not interesting.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Can’t handle the narrator…

I’m sure the story is great, Ken Follett is one of my favourite authors. The way this story is performed, though, is hard to listen to. Not sure it’s the voice or cadence but I can’t do it.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing story and narration

The entire Kingsbridge series is a must listen! Beautifully written and creatively narrated. Loved every minute.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Story line

Unfortunately this reader has developed a habit of overly dramatic phrasing and repetitive emphasis. I’ve listened to him before and in previous books he was a much better reader. A little more relaxed please.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great continuation in this series.

very well read! Great story. not one minute of disappointment listening to this. Ken Follett has done it again.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Liz
  • 2024-01-04

Historical details

Ken Follett has done a great deal of research to depict living conditions and the struggles faced by people of the era. The listener experiences daily struggles at the hand of the well to do.
The descriptions of the ongoing conflict with the French and Bonaparte is excellent- how it affects everyday life of the English finally ending with the victory at the Battle at Waterloo.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Better than Column but still no Pillars.

After A Column of Fire, I think Mr Follett realised that he needed to return The Kingsbridge story to the people of Kingsbridge. He did that here, with a return to the textile industry.
I was glad to see the focus shift back to the microcosm of Kingsbridge and the personal stakes of ordinary people, but the spark of excitement that ran through Pillars of the Earth is lacking here.
The romances were a little more downplayed here, which I didn’t mind, but his characters felt less focussed and more apathetic, with less drive more willing to just let the story carry them from event to event, rather than driving the plot forward through their own actions.
As always, I loved the narration. John Lee always does a good job and I was glad that he was back for this installment.

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