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The Armor of Light: A Novel (Kingsbridge) by…
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The Armor of Light: A Novel (Kingsbridge) (edition 2023)

by Ken Follett (Author)

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5451944,592 (4.03)12
"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."--… (more)
Member:asena
Title:The Armor of Light: A Novel (Kingsbridge)
Authors:Ken Follett (Author)
Info:Viking (2023), 752 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:None

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The Armor of Light by Ken Follett

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English (13)  Spanish (3)  Italian (1)  French (1)  All languages (18)
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BIBLIOGRAPHIC DETAILS
-PRINT: ©September 26, 2023; 978-0525954996; Viking; 752 pp.; unabridged
-DIGITAL: ©September 26, 2023; Viking; 750 pp.; unabridged
- *Audio: ©September 26, 2023; Penguin Audio; 21:39:00; unabridged
-FILM: No

SERIES: Kingsbridge # 5. (Goodreads shows this as #4. It is not.)

CHARACTERS: (not comprehensive)
Sal Clitheroe – Weaver; Young mother of a small child
Christopher (Kit) Clitheroe – Sal’s son
Harry Clitheroe – Sal’s Husband
Ike Clitheroe – Sal’s brother-in-law
Sarah - Sal's Aunt
Alec Pollock – Barber-surgeon
George Box – Member of the Society of Friends
Joan Box – Member of the Society of Friends
George Riddick – Squire of Badford
Will Riddick – Eldest son of the squire of Badford
Roger Riddick – Youngest son of the squire of Badford
Henry Northwood – A viscount and colonel
Jane Midwinter – Daughter of the Methodist Canon
Charles Midwinter – Methodist Canon; Jane’s father
Arabella Latimer – Bishop’s wife
Elsie Latimer – Bishop’s daughter
David (Spade) Shoveller – A weaver
Amos Barrowfield – Son of a clothier
Obadiah Bradford – A clothier; Amos’s father
? Hornbeam – A Clothier
Harold Hornbeam – Mr. Hornbeam’s son
Debra Hornbeam – Mr. Hornbeam’s daughter

SUMMARY/ EVALUATION:
-SELECTED: I enjoy this Kingsbridge series. Don is getting a little weary of the fact that one’s favorite characters are often subjected to horrendous treatment, and I probably have to agree, but the characters and the plots are so spellbinding that I just couldn’t NOT read (listen) to a new addition the moment it’s out.
-ABOUT: It’s turnip harvest and young, reckless, Will Reddick who is in charge, insists on the harvesters prodding an overburdened horse and cart up a hill. This leads, predictably to tragedy and the event causes Sal Clitheroe and her young son, Kit, being thrown into new circumstances, to figure out how to fend for themselves.
But Will isn’t finished causing this family hardship, and we endure much with them before they are forced to move from Badford to Kingsbridge and begin to forge a path ahead.
We become familiar with their new community, which isn’t far enough away from the reach of Will to keep them out of harms way, but strength and character grow, and there’s an entire cast of characters to grow fond of, with a few dangerous exceptions.
-OVERALL IMPRESSION: I loved learning about the early clothier business—weavers, scribblers, looms, wool; Also the embodiment of employers and workers as they scrabble over the adoption of technological advancements that will, in time, cost the employer less, and the employees their jobs.
AUTHOR: Ken Follett (June 5, 1949). Excerpt from Wikipedia: “[Ken] is a Welsh-born author of thrillers and historical novels who has sold more than 160 million copies of his works.[3] Many of his books have achieved high ranking on best seller lists. For example, in the US, many reached the number 1 position on the New York Times Best Seller list, including Edge of Eternity, Fall of Giants, A Dangerous Fortune, The Key to Rebecca, Lie Down with Lions, Triple, Winter of the World, and World Without End.[4]”

NARRATOR: John Lee Excerpt from Wikipedia: “John Rafter Lee is an English actor, narrator, playwright and producer.
Lee was born in England with Irish ancestry.[1] His father worked as a carpenter and other men in his family were blacksmiths, brick layers and plumbers.[1] Lee himself has worked in agriculture, picking fruit, which he considers much more difficult than voice acting.[1]
Lee has narrated hundreds of audiobooks.[1] "His trademark rich, smooth voice with its hint of a growl turns the word into a seduction", according to AudioFile.[1] He has won numerous Audie Awards and AudioFile Earphones Awards, and he was named a Golden Voice by AudioFile in 2009.[1]

In film, he portrayed the mysterious Trevor Goodchild in Peter Chung's Æon Flux. Other voice credits include Meier Link in both Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust and Vampire Hunter D, Pavlo Zaitsev in episode 16 of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Jason Wynn in HBO's Spawn animated series, and Aristotle in Reign: The Conqueror. John also had a role as a voice actor playing Cid Bunansa in the video game Final Fantasy XII.

Lee was also the producer and screenwriter for the 2001 film Breathing Hard, in which he played the character John Duggan. His Æon Flux co-star Denise Poirier plays his wife Carol.

He has written the plays Blood and Milk, Hitler's Head, Passchendaele, Clean Souls and Frankincense. He has adapted into English Schiller's Don Carlos, Racine's Britannicus and Grabbe's Jest, Satire, Irony and Deeper Significance. Passchendaele received its first production at the New York Fringe Festival in August 2010.

His latest film, which he wrote and co-produced, is Forfeit, which received its premier at the 2007 South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas. He is currently writing a film to be shot in his hometown, Birmingham, England.”

*As always, John Lee’s narration is superb!

GENRE: Historical Fiction

LOCATIONS: Badford, England; Kingsbridge, England; Brussels, France; Paris, France

TIME FRAME: 18th Century; 19th Century

SUBJECTS: Trade Unions; Clothiers; Weavers; Technology; Workers replaced by technology; Politics; Women in society; War; Militia; Religion; Methodists; Church of England; Anglicans; Battle of Waterloo

DEDICATION:
“This book is dedicated to the historians.
There are many thousands of them all over the world.
Some sit in libraries, hunched over ancient manuscripts, trying to understand dead languages in mysterious hieroglyphs. Others kneel on the ground sifting earth on the sites of ruined buildings, seeking fragments from lost government papers dealing with long-forgotten political crises. They are relentless in their search for the truth.
Without them we would not understand where we come from. And that would make it even more difficult to figure out where we're going.”

SAMPLE QUOTATION: Excerpt From chapter 2
“Amos Barrowfield realized something was wrong as soon as he came within sight of Badford.
There were men working in the fields, but not as many as he expected. The road into the village was deserted but for an empty cart. He did not even see any dogs.
Amos was a clothier, or ‘putter-out.’ To be exact, his father was the clothier; but Obidiah was fifty and often breathless, and it was Amos who traveled the countryside, leading a string of packhorses, visiting cottages. The horses carried sacks of raw wool, the sheared fleece of sheep.
The work of transforming fleece into cotton was done mainly by villagers working in their homes. First the fleece had to be untangled and cleaned, and this was called scribbling or carding. Then it was spun into long strings of yarn and wound onto bobbins. Finally the strings were woven on a loom and became strips of cloth a yard wide. Cloth was the main industry in the West of England, and Kingsbridge was at its center.
Amos imagined that Adam and Eve, after they ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge, must have done these different jobs themselves, in order to make clothes and cover their nakedness; although the Bible did not say much about scribbling and spinning, not about how Adam might have built his loom.”

RATING: 5 stars.

STARTED-FINISHED 9/28/2023-10/7/2023

(Serendipitous Connections: I love how my readings, watchings, and daily activities often seem somewhat inter-connected, usually in a mundane, but nevertheless, noticeable way, in that they repeat words, names, or circumstances within a very short time-span. So I have decided to start listing those that occur with the books I am reading, that I can recall: 1. The book by Mick Herron, "Down Cemetery Lane", that we read (listened to) just before this one, also had a main character named 'Amos'. There it was Amos Crane and he was a "bad" person, here it is Amos Barrowfield who is a "good" character. 2. The Endeavor episode we watched just after finishing this book, also had a character, Mr. Box (in the Endeavour episode it is a minor character, here, it is George, a main character). 3. Both that episode and this book also share the saying "Quicker than you can say knife," which is probably a common British saying, and I've heard the "Quicker than you can say" part before, just not "knife".) ( )
  TraSea | May 2, 2024 |
Love this book like all the others in the Kingsbridge series, despite it being outside the main historical period I'm interested in, the middle ages. There isn't much connection to characters from the previous books in the series, no descendants or anything. The location of Kingsbridge, the cathedral, the monument the prior Philip and a couple of other buildings are the only references or connections. It was definitely a page turner and I couldn't put it down. I read in 4 days, while on holiday mind you. The couple of chapters about the battle of Waterloo were the least interesting to me. I'm not that into battles (funny as next I'm reading a trilogy about the start of the hundred years war). Interesting to realize the location of Waterloo was nothing of significance, barely a dot on the map, before the battle. I enjoyed the placing of the story at the start of the industrial revolution, using the textile industry to show the shift from the different stages of the process being done solely by hand in individuals home to machines in factories operated by less individual but producing more. And the workers fight to save their jobs, but "progress" always winning in the end. It reminds me a lot about the self checkout debates going on right now. Some people don't want to introduce new technologies if people are going to loss jobs. ( )
  Michmars | Mar 11, 2024 |
I don't know, it was for sure better than The Evening and The Morning. as in far that Follett didn't try to fill pages with senseless smut and violence when he had no idea how to bring the story forward.
On the other hand, it was again same old same old. The upstarter from the peasant class who makes his way despite all the hurdles that are thrown in his way, the middle class characters that were always in love with each other but they didn't find to each other until their golden years of live, and yes, the villain from the noble class, even though here he was only really part of the story in the first half, and not very good developed at that as well.
Which brings us to one of the major flaws, the whole story felt not very well developed, not round and smooth, it felt "too clean" not gritty and dirty, more like a cheap tv movie set with no speck of dust, and with surprisingly mediocre writing.
I had hoped that Waterloo would be the saving grace for this otherwise boring story but alas it wasn't so. On the contrary, I was surprised by how lacklustre Follett wrote about the battles on the continent, be it Spain or Netherlands.
Sure it is one of the most famous battles in European history, but I was surprised that none of the characters played an important role in it and were only bystanders or observers. I mean, I don't recall that Follett had problems before in adding a little bit of made up story to his historic events, so why start now? (Just think about how bad ass heroic Kit and Roger could have been if they would have thrown together a last minute engineering masterpiece to help out the 107 foot?)
Let's see if there will be a last instalment that brings Kingsbridge into the present time ... following his pattern it should be another smut fest again ;-) ( )
  Black-Lilly | Feb 15, 2024 |
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Cursus risus at ultrices mi tempus imperdiet nulla malesuada pellentesque. Enim ut sem viverra aliquet eget. Adipiscing bibendum est ultricies integer quis auctor elit. Tristique risus nec feugiat in fermentum posuere urna nec. Vulputate eu scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo vel. Pellentesque id nibh tortor id. Mollis aliquam ut porttitor leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id. Velit sed ullamcorper morbi tincidunt ornare massa eget egestas. Cras tincidunt lobortis feugiat vivamus at augue. Convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie at elementum eu facilisis. Dictum sit amet justo donec enim. ( )
  conceptDawg | Jan 24, 2024 |
If someone gave him a prize for every million copies his books sold, Ken Follett would have 17 of them.
His métier is the long historical saga. The Armor of Light, the fourth novel set in the fictional cathedral town of Kingsbridge, runs more than 700 pages. Each of the Kingsbridge novels is set in a different historical period. The Armor of Light covers the Kingsbridge families of clerics, mill owners, and mill hands from the mid-1790s to the mid-1820s. It gives a much more working-class picture of English society than Jane Austen ever imagined. We follow the clothing industry from hand-spun and hand-woven cloth to batteries of steam-driven looms and the beginnings of card-programmed machines. We hear of the Luddite movement, military impressment, and anti-union laws.
The plot follows four or five central characters with interlocked relationships. The shifting point of view keeps the plot moving, and we are not surprised when several of them find themselves with Wellington at Waterloo. There are middle-class children born out of wedlock, women doing men’s work, and successful same-sex relationships that are more credible than expected.
It is a good long beach read. I found it fun to compare it to other chroniclers of the period, Elizabeth Gaskell, Jane Austen, and William Makepeace Thackeray. And I suppose Dickens’s Hard Times deserves a shoutout. Only Dickens could have rivaled Follett for sales. ( )
  Tom-e | Jan 12, 2024 |
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
"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."
 
"The result is an impressive and immersive epic."
added by bookfitz | editPublishers Weekly (Jul 12, 2023)
 
"A treat for fans of historical fiction."
added by bookfitz | editKirkus Reviews (Jul 1, 2023)
 
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Information from the Spanish Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Epigraph
Cast off the works of darkness, and let us
put on the armor of light.
   -Romans 13:12
Dedication
Information from the Spanish Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Este libro está dedicado a los historiadores. Hay miles de ellos
en todo el mundo, algunos encerrados en bibliotecas, concentra-
dos en la lectura de manuscritos milenarios, tratando de desen-
trañar lenguas muertas codificadas en misteriosos jeroglíficos.
Otros pasan horas arrodillados en el suelo, examinando la tierra
que sepulta los emplazamientos de las ruinas de distintas cons-
trucciones, buscando fragmentos de civilizaciones perdidas.
Pero muchos más dedican su tiempo a leer toda clase de docu-
mentación oficial, absolutamente soporífera, relacionada con
crisis políticas olvidadas hace ya mucho tiempo. Se muestran
implacables en su búsqueda de la verdad.
 Sin ellos no entenderíamos el mundo del que venimos, y eso
haría aún más dificil saber hacia dónde vamos.
First words
Until that day, Sal Clitheroe had never heard her husband scream.
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"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."--

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