Ken Follett Books: What Reading Order Is Best?

Ken Follett writes 2 types of books:

  1. Standalone Novels
  2. Short Series / Trilogies

You have 3 options when reading Ken Follet’s books:

  1. Stand-alone novels first and then the series/trilogies later
  2. By publishing date
  3. Complete chaos

Option #1: Stand-alone Novels Seperate From Series/Trilogies

As you can see by the dates below, Ken Follet has been writing for 30 years. The writing style of authors that have been writing for so long gently evolves over time. But for Ken Follett, his books are as sharp now as his very first.

You can read his standalone novels in any order because they don’t share any characters or timelines.

I suggest you start with Eye of the Needle (1978) [Amazon] and then read forward in time from there. You could leave his series/trilogies until later.

Standalone Novels In Order of Publishing Date

  1. Amok: King of Legend (1976) (as Bernard L. Ross) [Amazon]
  2. The Modigliani Scandal (1976) (as Zachary Stone) [Amazon]
  3. The Mystery Hideout (1976) (as Martin Martinsen) [Amazon]
  4. The Power Twins (1976) (as Martin Martinsen) [Amazon]
  5. Paper Money (1977) (as Zachary Stone) [Amazon]
  6. Capricorn One (1978) (as Bernard L. Ross) [Amazon]
    • based on screenplay by Peter Hyams
  7. Eye of the Needle (1978) [Amazon]
    • (a.k.a. Storm Island) (Edgar Award, 1979, Best Novel)
  8. Triple (1979) [Amazon]
  9. The Key to Rebecca (1980) [Amazon]
  10. The Man from St. Petersburg (1982) [Amazon]
  11. On Wings of Eagles (1983) [Amazon]
  12. Lie Down with Lions (1985) [Amazon]
  13. Night Over Water (1991) [Amazon]
  14. A Dangerous Fortune (1993) [Amazon]
  15. A Place Called Freedom (1995) [Amazon]
  16. The Third Twin (1996) [Amazon]
  17. The Hammer of Eden (1998) [Amazon]
  18. Code to Zero (2000) [Amazon]
  19. Jackdaws (2001) [Amazon]
  20. Hornet Flight (2002) [Amazon]
  21. Whiteout (2004) [Amazon]

Ken Follet’s Series / Trilogies

I propose you read the Kingsbridge series first (freakin amazing!), then The Century trilogy after that. I’ve read ALL of Ken Follet’s books except for his Piers Roper series so I can’t comment on those 2 books.

Piers Roper Series

  1. The Shakeout (1975) [Amazon]
  2. The Bear Raid (1976) [Amazon]

Kingsbridge Series

  1. The Pillars of the Earth (1989) [Amazon]
  2. World Without End (2007) [Amazon]
  3. A Column of Fire (2017) [Amazon]

The Century Trilogy

  1. Fall of Giants (2010) [Amazon]
  2. Winter of the World (2012) [Amazon]
  3. Edge of Eternity (2014) [Amazon]

Option #2: Want To Read All Ken Follett’s 28 Novels by Publishing Date?

This is a pretty good way to read his novels.

You’ll notice that he started with one 2-book series, wrote stand-alone books for more than 20 years (one per year on average), and now he’s been in “Trilogy mode” for almost 10 years which started with writing a sequel for Pillars of the Earth and then launching into his epic The Century trilogy.

I also find it interesting how he experimented with different pen-names in the first 2 years of his career.

  1. The Shakeout (1975) [Amazon] [Book #1 of Piers Roper Series]
  2. The Bear Raid (1976) [Amazon]  [Book #2 of Piers Roper Series]
  3. Amok: King of Legend (1976) (as Bernard L. Ross) [Amazon]
  4. The Modigliani Scandal (1976) (as Zachary Stone) [Amazon]
  5. The Mystery Hideout (1976) (as Martin Martinsen) [Amazon]
  6. The Power Twins (1976) (as Martin Martinsen) [Amazon]
  7. Paper Money (1977) (as Zachary Stone) [Amazon]
  8. Under the Streets of Nice: The Bank Heist of the Century (1978) [Amazon]
    • Ken Follet’s only non-fiction book
  9. Capricorn One (1978) (as Bernard L. Ross) [Amazon]
    • based on screenplay by Peter Hyams
  10. Eye of the Needle (1978) [Amazon]
    • (a.k.a. Storm Island) (Edgar Award, 1979, Best Novel)
  11. Triple (1979) [Amazon]
  12. The Key to Rebecca (1980) [Amazon]
  13. The Man from St. Petersburg (1982) [Amazon]
  14. On Wings of Eagles (1983) [Amazon]
  15. Lie Down with Lions (1985) [Amazon]
  16. The Pillars of the Earth (1989) [Amazon]  [Book #1 of Kingsbridge Series]
  17. Night Over Water (1991) [Amazon]
  18. A Dangerous Fortune (1993) [Amazon]
  19. A Place Called Freedom (1995) [Amazon]
  20. The Third Twin (1996) [Amazon]
  21. The Hammer of Eden (1998) [Amazon]
  22. Code to Zero (2000) [Amazon]
  23. Jackdaws (2001) [Amazon]
  24. Hornet Flight (2002) [Amazon]
  25. Whiteout (2004) [Amazon]
  26. World Without End (2007) [Amazon]  [Book #2 of Kingsbridge Series]
  27. Fall of Giants (2010) [Amazon] [Book #1 of The Century Trilogy]
  28. Winter of the World (2012) [Amazon] [Book #2 of The Century Trilogy]
  29. Edge of Eternity (2014) [Amazon] [Book #3 of The Century Trilogy]
  30. A Column of Fire (2017) [Amazon] [Book #3 of Kingsbridge Series]

Option #3: Complete Chaos

Is there any harm in just jumping in at random?

Not really. You’d want to read the series in order of course, but otherwise, there is no harm reading the others at random.

In fact, if you are a Ken Follett newbie I suggest you start with my 2 favourites: Eye of the Needle [Amazon] and then read Pillars of the Earth [Amazon] next (which is followed by a sequel written 18 years later).

Then you’ll be hooked 🙂

From there, read the book summaries of the others to see which one appeals to you next.

Your Thoughts?

Are you a huge Ken Follet fan like me? Have you just begun reading his books? Which order is best?

Have your say in the comments below.

 

One thought on “Ken Follett Books: What Reading Order Is Best?

  1. Thank you for the insighrs.
    I am curious, any specific reason that you have not read the Piers Roper series? (I have not yet, either)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *