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The Evening and the Morning
Cover of The Evening and the Morning
The Evening and the Morning
Borrow Borrow
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author, a thrilling and addictive new novel—a prequel to The Pillars of the Earth—set in England at the dawn of a new era: the Middle Ages
"Just as transporting as [The Pillars of the Earth] . . . A most welcome addition to the Kingsbridge series." —The Washington Post

It is 997 CE, the end of the Dark Ages. England is facing attacks from the Welsh in the west and the Vikings in the east. Those in power bend justice according to their will, regardless of ordinary people and often in conflict with the king. Without a clear rule of law, chaos reigns.
In these turbulent times, three characters find their lives intertwined. A young boatbuilder's life is turned upside down when the only home he's ever known is raided by Vikings, forcing him and his family to move and start their lives anew in a small hamlet where he does not fit in. . . . A Norman noblewoman marries for love, following her husband across the sea to a new land, but the customs of her husband's homeland are shockingly different, and as she begins to realize that everyone around her is engaged in a constant, brutal battle for power, it becomes clear that a single misstep could be catastrophic. . . . A monk dreams of transforming his humble abbey into a center of learning that will be admired throughout Europe. And each in turn comes into dangerous conflict with a clever and ruthless bishop who will do anything to increase his wealth and power.
Thirty years ago, Ken Follett published his most popular novel, The Pillars of the Earth. Now, Follett's masterful new prequel The Evening and the Morning takes us on an epic journey into a historical past rich with ambition and rivalry, death and birth, love and hate, that will end where The Pillars of the Earth begins.
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author, a thrilling and addictive new novel—a prequel to The Pillars of the Earth—set in England at the dawn of a new era: the Middle Ages
"Just as transporting as [The Pillars of the Earth] . . . A most welcome addition to the Kingsbridge series." —The Washington Post

It is 997 CE, the end of the Dark Ages. England is facing attacks from the Welsh in the west and the Vikings in the east. Those in power bend justice according to their will, regardless of ordinary people and often in conflict with the king. Without a clear rule of law, chaos reigns.
In these turbulent times, three characters find their lives intertwined. A young boatbuilder's life is turned upside down when the only home he's ever known is raided by Vikings, forcing him and his family to move and start their lives anew in a small hamlet where he does not fit in. . . . A Norman noblewoman marries for love, following her husband across the sea to a new land, but the customs of her husband's homeland are shockingly different, and as she begins to realize that everyone around her is engaged in a constant, brutal battle for power, it becomes clear that a single misstep could be catastrophic. . . . A monk dreams of transforming his humble abbey into a center of learning that will be admired throughout Europe. And each in turn comes into dangerous conflict with a clever and ruthless bishop who will do anything to increase his wealth and power.
Thirty years ago, Ken Follett published his most popular novel, The Pillars of the Earth. Now, Follett's masterful new prequel The Evening and the Morning takes us on an epic journey into a historical past rich with ambition and rivalry, death and birth, love and hate, that will end where The Pillars of the Earth begins.
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  • From the cover

    Chapter 1

     

    Thursday, June 17, 997

     

    It was hard to stay awake all night, Edgar found, even on the most important night of your life.

     

    He had spread his cloak over the reeds on the floor and now he lay on it, dressed in the knee-length brown wool tunic that was all he wore in summer, day and night. In winter he would wrap the cloak around him and lie near the fire. But now the weather was warm: Midsummer Day was a week away.

     

    Edgar always knew dates. Most people had to ask priests, who kept calendars. Edgar's elder brother Erman had once said to him: "How come you know when Easter is?" and he had replied: "Because it's the first Sunday after the first full moon after the twenty-first day of March, obviously." It had been a mistake to add "obviously," because Erman had punched him in the stomach for being sarcastic. That had been years ago, when Edgar was small. He was grown now. He would be eighteen three days after Midsummer. His brothers no longer punched him.

     

    He shook his head. Random thoughts sent him drifting off. He tried to make himself uncomfortable, lying on his fist to stay awake.

     

    He wondered how much longer he had to wait.

     

    He turned his head and looked around by firelight. His home was like almost every other house in the town of Combe: oak-plank walls, a thatched roof, and an earth floor partly covered with reeds from the banks of the nearby river. It had no windows. In the middle of the single room was a square of stones surrounding the hearth. Over the fire stood an iron tripod from which cooking pots could be hung, and its legs made spidery shadows on the underside of the roof. All around the walls were wooden pegs on which were hung clothes, cooking utensils, and boatbuilding tools.

     

    Edgar was not sure how much of the night had passed, because he might have dozed off, perhaps more than once. Earlier, he had listened to the sounds of the town settling for the night: a couple of drunks singing an obscene ditty, the bitter accusations of a marital quarrel in a neighboring house, a door slamming and a dog barking and, somewhere nearby, a woman sobbing. But now there was nothing but the soft lullaby of waves on a sheltered beach. He stared in the direction of the door, looking for telltale lines of light around its edges, and saw only darkness. That meant either that the moon had set, so the night was well advanced, or that the sky was cloudy, which would tell him nothing.

     

    The rest of his family lay around the room, close to the walls where there was less smoke. Pa and Ma were back-to-back. Sometimes they would wake in the middle of the night and embrace, whispering and moving together, until they fell back, panting; but they were fast asleep now, Pa snoring. Erman, the eldest brother at twenty, lay near Edgar, and Eadbald, the middle one, was in the corner. Edgar could hear their steady, untroubled breathing.

     

    At last, the church bell struck.

     

    There was a monastery on the far side of the town. The monks had a way of measuring the hours of the night: they made big, graduated candles that told the time as they burned down. One hour before dawn they would ring the bell, then get up to chant their service of Matins.

     

    Edgar lay still a little longer. The bell might have disturbed Ma, who woke easily. He gave her time to sink back into deep slumber. Then, at last, he got to his feet.

     

    Silently he picked up his cloak, his shoes, and his belt with its sheathed dagger attached. On bare feet he crossed the room, avoiding the furniture: a...

About the Author-
  • Ken Follett is one of the world's best-loved authors, selling more than 170 million copies of his thirty-two books. Follett's first bestseller was Eye of the Needle, a spy story set in the Second World War. In 1989, The Pillars of the Earth was published and has since become Follett's most popular novel. It reached number one on bestseller lists around the world and was an Oprah's Book Club pick. Its sequels, World Without End and A Column of Fire, proved equally popular, and the Kingsbridge series has sold more than forty million copies worldwide. Follett lives in Hertfordshire, England, with his wife, Barbara. Between them they have five children, six grandchildren, and two Labradors.
    John Lee has performed at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles and the Globe Theatre in San Diego. He is the author of the plays Blood and Milk, Hitler's Head, Passchendaele, Clean Souls, and Frankincense.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    June 29, 2020
    Follett delivers a lackluster prequel to his Kingsbridge series. The structure will feel familiar to series devotees; it centers on the intertwined stories of three people: a man who is good with his hands, an attractive noblewoman, and a cleric. This time, the action spans 997–1007 CE, and the leads are Edgar, Ragna, and Aldred, whose lives intersect multiple times despite their disparate backgrounds. Edgar, the teenage son of a boatbuilder, is planning to run off with a married woman until a Viking attack on his village in the west of England leaves her dead; that tragedy leads to his family’s move to Dreng’s Ferry, the future Kingsbridge, and to his developing career as a builder. At Dreng’s Ferry, he reunites with Ragna, a Norman woman he’d met years earlier, who has married Wilf, the royal official overseeing the area. Ragna, smart, independent, and beautiful, is trapped in an unfulfilling marriage. The “miraculously handsome” Brother Aldred, a scholar, finds himself confronted with corruption in the church, personified in Wilf’s cartoonishly evil brother, Wynstan, a bishop. The prose is often stilted and overwrought (“This was the funeral of his hopes”), and the plot elements are derivative of Follett’s past work, adding up to an epic full of romance tropes rather than a reimagined time and place. This is only for series completists.

  • AudioFile Magazine John Lee returns to narrate the long-awaited prequel to the Pillars of the Earth epic series. In 997 CE, Vikings attack a small English fishing village, and a young boatbuilder named Edgar must strike out to survive elsewhere. With his trademark eloquence, Lee portrays the ambitious Edgar, who finds success through his carpentry skills and develops a growing friendship with the wise monk Brother Aldred. Lee employs a lighter tone and delicate accent for Lady Ragna, a French noblewoman who marries the regional elderman. In an unlikely partnership over the ten-year span of the novel, Ragna supports Edgar's vision and skills in building a bridge that is key to the flourishing of a community that grew to become the city of Kingsbridge. N.M.C. � AudioFile 2020, Portland, Maine
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