A COLUMN OF FIRE by Ken Follett, Macmillan.
Here’s a whopping chunk of historical fiction to fill your summer with spies, killers, kings, queens, and everyday heroes. And no one brings centuries-old drama to life as exhilaratingly or as voluminously as Ken Follett. The author of the much-loved medieval saga The Pillars of the Earth sets the scene, once again, in the fictional village of Kingsbridge. It’s now 1558 and the reign of the “bloody” Mary I is ending. Our hero Ned Willard is determined to help her half-sister Elizabeth I create a world in which no one is killed for his or her beliefs. What sets this book apart is its breadth. From the wealth and tyranny of Catholic Spain to the viciousness and ambition of the Guise family of France, Follett puts the Elizabethan world in its European context and recreates the triumphs and tragedies of the time in all their glory.