Ken Follett is one of the world’s best-loved novelists. His latest book, Edge of Eternity– the final novel in his Century Trilogy – went straight to the No.1 position on bestseller lists in the USA, Spain, Italy, Germany and France.
He burst into the book world in 1978 with Eye of the Needle, a taut and original thriller with a memorable female character in the central role. The book won the Edgar award and became an outstanding film starring Kate Nelligan and Donald Sutherland.
The critical and popular success of that novel and its follow-ups, Triple (1979), The Key to Rebecca (1980), The Man from St. Petersburg (1982), and Lie Down with Lions(1986), moved Follett to the forefront of the world’s espionage novelists. The Key to Rebecca was made into a mini-series starring Cliff Robertson and David Soul. Follett’s first nonfiction venture, On Wings of Eagles (1983), an account of the 1978 rescue of two American business executives employed by Ross Perot, became a huge bestseller and was made into a mini-series with Richard Crenna and Burt Lancaster.
He then surprised readers by radically changing course with The Pillars of the Earth, a novel about building a cathedral in the Middle Ages. Published in September 1989 to rave reviews, it was on the New York Times bestseller list for eighteen weeks. It also reached the No. 1 position on lists in Canada, Great Britain and Italy, and was on the German bestseller list for six years.
In November 2007, The Pillars of the Earth became the most popular ever choice of the Oprah Winfrey Book Club, returning to No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list. The miniseries, produced by Ridley Scott and starring Ian McShane and Matthew Macfadyen, was broadcast in 2010.
World Without End, the long-awaited sequel to The Pillars of the Earth, was published in October 2008. It is set in Kingsbridge, the fictional location of the cathedral in Pillars, and features the descendants of the original characters at the time of the Black Death. It was a No. 1 bestseller in Italy, the USA, the UK, Germany, France and Spain, where it was the fastest-selling book ever published in the Spanish language, outstripping the last Harry Potter book.
His current project is his most ambitious yet. The Century Trilogy tells the entire history of the twentieth century, seen through the eyes of five linked families: one American, one English, one German, one Russian, and one Welsh. The first book, Fall of Giants, focusing on the First World War and the Russian Revolution, was published worldwide on 28 September 2010. The second book, Winter of the World, about the Spanish Civil War, the Second World War, and the development of nuclear weapons, was published in many countries in September 2012. The third novel, set during the Cold War and the later half of the century and titled Edge of Eternity came out in September 2014.
Ken is married to Barbara Follett, a political activist who was the Member of Parliament for Stevenage in Hertfordshire for thirteen years and Minister for Culture in the government of Gordon Brown. They live in a rambling rectory in Stevenage and also have an eighteenth-century town house in London and a beach house in Antigua.
Around 160 million copies of his books have been sold worldwide.