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Never: A Novel by Ken Follett
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Never: A Novel (edition 2021)

by Ken Follett (Author)

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3731556,007 (3.88)3
The new must-read epic from master storyteller Ken Follett: more than a thriller, it's an action-packed, globe-spanning drama set in the present day.   "A compelling story, and only too realistic." --Lawrence H. Summers, former U.S. Treasury Secretary "Every catastrophe begins with a little problem that doesn't get fixed." So says Pauline Green, president of the United States, in Follett's nerve-racking drama of international tension.   A shrinking oasis in the Sahara Desert; a stolen US Army drone; an uninhabited Japanese island; and one country's secret stash of deadly chemical poisons: all these play roles in a relentlessly escalating crisis.   Struggling to prevent the outbreak of world war are a young woman intelligence officer; a spy working undercover with jihadists; a brilliant Chinese spymaster; and Pauline herself, beleaguered by a populist rival for the next president election. Never is an extraordinary novel, full of heroines and villains, false prophets and elite warriors, jaded politicians and opportunistic revolutionaries. It brims with cautionary wisdom for our times, and delivers a visceral, heart-pounding read that transports readers to the brink of the unimaginable.… (more)
Member:Mylady
Title:Never: A Novel
Authors:Ken Follett (Author)
Info:Viking (2021), 813 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
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Never by Ken Follett

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Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
Ken Follett is a master storyteller and this book is no exception. It weaves together a set of stories across America, Africa and China involving drugs, politics and the arms trade. As each story progresses it binds the world closer and closer to a nuclear war.

The characters and situations here are all well-worn but that does not really matter because it is the narrative that drives everything along. Follett is able to pitch situations and realistic events in a way that make you want to read on. This is a profoundly sad book with the very slightest glimmer of hope at its heart.

Recommended. ( )
  pierthinker | Apr 12, 2022 |
A true horror story. ( )
  zhoud2005 | Mar 10, 2022 |
Ken Follett is well known for his historical fiction tomes but in this new novel he has given us a political thriller that takes place in Chad, Beijing, Pyongyang, Soeul, North Africa, the Middle East and Washington DC. It is about the beginning of WWIII and is narrated by several characters: Paulette Green is the U. S. President, Chang Kai is a Chinese spy for Homeland Security, Tamara Levit works for the CIA at the American Embassy in N'Djamena, Chad, Kiah is a Chad citizen, and Abdul also works for the CIA as he travels throughout the Middle East. Within the book's 804 pages the author aims to show us how WWIII can start without any one nation actually escalating any of its military activities.

The publisher's summary:

A shrinking oasis in the Sahara Desert; a stolen US Army drone; an uninhabited Japanese island; and one country's secret stash of deadly chemical poisons: all these play roles in a relentlessly escalating crisis. Struggling to prevent the outbreak of world warfare a young woman intelligence officer; a spy working undercover with jihadists; a brilliant Chinese spymaster; and Pauline herself, beleaguered by a populist rival for the next presidential election. Never . . . is full of heroines and villains, false prophets and elite warriors, jaded politicians and opportunistic revolutionaries. It brims with cautionary wisdom for our times, and delivers a visceral, heartpounding read that transports readers to the brink of the unimaginable.
I expected alot from this novel given the author's reputation. However, I found that parts of the book were a little dull. It started out well and ended with a bang but the middle was excruciatingly slow. I think if Follett cut the page count by one third this would have been a fantastic read. The parts that I feel are dull have scenes that show the foreign policy of several nations in action. It reflects on their ability to act diplomatically in a crisis which is important for Follett to show whether war is escalating. However, it was boring. Certainly these subplots could have been written more skillfully.

The Chad setting was deftly handled. I could feel the effects of the high temperature even though I am currently freezing in my hometown. The poverty and starvation of the people was portrayed adroitly. Their sense of grief was captured perfectly and I felt so bad about their predicament. The choices they had for survival were dim.

The politics of the U.S. and China were displayed well. Here the reader learns what goes on behind the scenes when nations are determining what course of action to take in a given moment of time. Faulty ideas, and some correct ones too, regarding why world leaders will react in a particular way is dramatized toward the end of the story and gives the novel it's suspenseful ending.

Follett achieved his goal of showing how war can be escalated by countries without officially escalating their military activities. That was magnificent and gives pause to readers. The boring bits were unfortunate. 3 out of 5 stars. ( )
  Violette62 | Mar 5, 2022 |
I believe I've read all of Follett's books and this one is a favorite. Suspense builds page by page as the threat of total nuclear war builds in a believable fashion. He never goes too far nor is he light in painting the mental picture necessary to imagine the story he is weaving. At 73 not much can move me but this book leaves me very unsettled, as we face a similar situation with Russia at this very moment. ( )
  Bauernfeind | Feb 2, 2022 |
Ken Follet pens another thriller that deals with Pauline Green, the President of the USA as she plays chicken with President Chen of China. Into the mix is thrown the North Korean supreme leader Khan, the South Korean leader No and the President of Chad. Include a subplot of a CIA agent in Chad who is tracking a large shipment of cocaine to France where sales of the drugs will benefit the jihadis fighting in North Africa. Lo and behold, North Korea is supplying weapons to these jihadis which sets the,action into motion.
One of the main characters is Chang Kai, a high profile spy within the Homeland security branch of the Chinese government. His father Jianjun is an old party communist.Kai has a network of contacts in the American, North Korean, France and other places who keep him informed of activities as they happen.
The first half of the book is dull with typical Follett one dimensional characters. The second half is more interesting as all sides play one upmanship in a race to unseat leaders before nuclear weapon are used while respecting treaty agreements with allies. ( )
  MaggieFlo | Jan 11, 2022 |
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The new must-read epic from master storyteller Ken Follett: more than a thriller, it's an action-packed, globe-spanning drama set in the present day.   "A compelling story, and only too realistic." --Lawrence H. Summers, former U.S. Treasury Secretary "Every catastrophe begins with a little problem that doesn't get fixed." So says Pauline Green, president of the United States, in Follett's nerve-racking drama of international tension.   A shrinking oasis in the Sahara Desert; a stolen US Army drone; an uninhabited Japanese island; and one country's secret stash of deadly chemical poisons: all these play roles in a relentlessly escalating crisis.   Struggling to prevent the outbreak of world war are a young woman intelligence officer; a spy working undercover with jihadists; a brilliant Chinese spymaster; and Pauline herself, beleaguered by a populist rival for the next president election. Never is an extraordinary novel, full of heroines and villains, false prophets and elite warriors, jaded politicians and opportunistic revolutionaries. It brims with cautionary wisdom for our times, and delivers a visceral, heart-pounding read that transports readers to the brink of the unimaginable.

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