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Never

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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. In the Sahara Desert, two elite intelligence agents are on the trail of a powerful group of drug-smuggling terrorists, risking their lives--and, when they fall desperately in love, their careers--at every turn. Nearby, a beaut 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. In the Sahara Desert, two elite intelligence agents are on the trail of a powerful group of drug-smuggling terrorists, risking their lives--and, when they fall desperately in love, their careers--at every turn. Nearby, a beautiful young widow fights against human traffickers while traveling illegally to Europe with the help of a mysterious man who may not be who he says he is. In China, a senior government official with vast ambitions for himself and his country battles against the older Communist hawks in the government, who may be pushing China--and its close military ally, North Korea--to a place of no return. And in the United States, Pauline Green, the country's first woman president, navigates terrorist attacks, illegal arms trading, and the smear campaigns of her blustering political opponent with careful and deft diplomacy. She will do everything in her power to avoid starting an unnecessary war. But when one act of aggression leads to another, the most powerful countries in the world are caught in a complex web of alliances they can't escape. And once all the sinister pieces are in place, can anyone--even those with the best of intentions and most elite skills--stop the inevitable? Never is an extraordinary thriller, full of heroines and villains, false prophets and elite warriors, jaded politicians and opportunistic revolutionaries. It brims with cautionary wisdom for our times, and a delivers a visceral, heart-pounding read that transports readers to the brink of the unimaginable.


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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. In the Sahara Desert, two elite intelligence agents are on the trail of a powerful group of drug-smuggling terrorists, risking their lives--and, when they fall desperately in love, their careers--at every turn. Nearby, a beaut 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. In the Sahara Desert, two elite intelligence agents are on the trail of a powerful group of drug-smuggling terrorists, risking their lives--and, when they fall desperately in love, their careers--at every turn. Nearby, a beautiful young widow fights against human traffickers while traveling illegally to Europe with the help of a mysterious man who may not be who he says he is. In China, a senior government official with vast ambitions for himself and his country battles against the older Communist hawks in the government, who may be pushing China--and its close military ally, North Korea--to a place of no return. And in the United States, Pauline Green, the country's first woman president, navigates terrorist attacks, illegal arms trading, and the smear campaigns of her blustering political opponent with careful and deft diplomacy. She will do everything in her power to avoid starting an unnecessary war. But when one act of aggression leads to another, the most powerful countries in the world are caught in a complex web of alliances they can't escape. And once all the sinister pieces are in place, can anyone--even those with the best of intentions and most elite skills--stop the inevitable? Never is an extraordinary thriller, full of heroines and villains, false prophets and elite warriors, jaded politicians and opportunistic revolutionaries. It brims with cautionary wisdom for our times, and a delivers a visceral, heart-pounding read that transports readers to the brink of the unimaginable.

30 review for Never

  1. 4 out of 5

    NILTON TEIXEIRA

    Well, it seems that I should stop giving top priority or “running” to the stores to buy the latest releases by Stephen King, Jeffrey Archer, John Grisham, Dean Koontz and now (sadly) Ken Follett. But I will get free copies from the library as this way I won’t feel the obligation to finish a disappointing book. With this one, during the first 15% I thought that I was watching an episode of “Homeland” and I was very excited about it. Unfortunately I did not find this book as remarkable as the TV se Well, it seems that I should stop giving top priority or “running” to the stores to buy the latest releases by Stephen King, Jeffrey Archer, John Grisham, Dean Koontz and now (sadly) Ken Follett. But I will get free copies from the library as this way I won’t feel the obligation to finish a disappointing book. With this one, during the first 15% I thought that I was watching an episode of “Homeland” and I was very excited about it. Unfortunately I did not find this book as remarkable as the TV series. “Never”, a contemporary book, imagines a series of global events that brings the world closer to a Third World War, a nuclear war that few would survive. I will be honest saying that I can hardly believe that it was written by Follett. His attempt to “humanize” some characters with some cheesy romantic encounters and cheesy dialogues was a let down. At least he did not try to write sex scenes. Also, the top leaders had some childish behaviour (example: “what’s the point of having nuclear weapons if not to use it?” “If you attack America you are toast!”). The part that I found more exciting was the ring of smugglers. I really don’t feel like writing about my experience reading this book. I can’t hide my disappointment. It seems that, as at today, I’m the first one in my group of friends to have finished this book, so I’m quite sure that I will be the outlier. I do hope that you all will enjoy this book. I think that it’s going to be hard to top the excellent Kingsbridge Tetralogy and The Century Trilogy. PS. I did listen to the audiobook narrated by January LaVoi, while I simultaneously read the book. I found her voice sleepy and speeding makes her voice too young and not very convincing. The book: 816 pages (cover to cover), 213k words, 42 chapters. An average reader would need between 17 and 19 hours. Audiobook: 24 hours if played at regular speed.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Holly B

    I've just finished Mr. Follett's latest epic novel, and just realized that the 816 pages really just flew by. That is how immersed I was in the story. No counting pages, no gazing at the ceiling or checking my phone. I loved his WWII thriller, The Eye of the Needle , this one is more terrifying because it imagines a WWIII scenario with nuclear weapons. It feels too close to home with all the world unrest. It was a bit too political for me. It is a complex plot, with 3 different world scenarios I've just finished Mr. Follett's latest epic novel, and just realized that the 816 pages really just flew by. That is how immersed I was in the story. No counting pages, no gazing at the ceiling or checking my phone. I loved his WWII thriller, The Eye of the Needle , this one is more terrifying because it imagines a WWIII scenario with nuclear weapons. It feels too close to home with all the world unrest. It was a bit too political for me. It is a complex plot, with 3 different world scenarios converging into a hair-raising and alarming conclusion. My favorite substory involved Abdul and Kiah, stuck traveling in the Sahara desert, trying to escape Africa and get to France. It is an intense, edge of your seat ride with many frightening moments. There is a lot of political chapters highlighting the White House negotiations and the personal life of the fictional President and her family. This was my least favorite storyline and it felt somewhat overwritten. I wasn't a fan of how the novel ended. It felt unfinished and left me wondering. Recommend to fans of the author, spy/political thrillers, and action-packed plots, dictorial governments and power grabs full of greed and evil intentions. Library loan/ November 2021

  3. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn Walsh

    2.5 stars. Thank goodness that ordeal is over! I have read all of Ken Follett's previous novels and enjoyed them. 'Never' was a book of over 800 pages, but I have read books with more pages where the time flew by rapidly. I regret I was never absorbed by 'Never' and found it moved very slowly. I didn't become engaged until around page 450 when momentum carried the reader along more rapidly. I have to react to how I felt reading this book and realize my opinion will not be popular with many reade 2.5 stars. Thank goodness that ordeal is over! I have read all of Ken Follett's previous novels and enjoyed them. 'Never' was a book of over 800 pages, but I have read books with more pages where the time flew by rapidly. I regret I was never absorbed by 'Never' and found it moved very slowly. I didn't become engaged until around page 450 when momentum carried the reader along more rapidly. I have to react to how I felt reading this book and realize my opinion will not be popular with many readers. I feel that the author achieved his goal of describing how a war could break out in modern times without either side desiring for this to happen. He based his premise on the outbreak of WW1 and created an interesting diplomatic and political scenario. This geopolitical part worked very well. I thought there were too many distractions and too much emphasis on the main characters' personal lives and their clothing. It veered into soap opera territory with some cringe-worthy dialogue which was particularly cheesy between male and female characters in their romantic relationships. For the first part of the book, I struggled with continuing it but vowed I would finish by the end of 2021. On New Year's Day, 2022, I wondered if I would finish by the end of 2022; it seemed so slow and long! The pace quickened in the mid 400 pages and briskly moved towards the finale. Connections were made. Jihadist terrorists in the Chad desert enslaved people to work at their gold camp. They smuggled gold and drugs to finance their struggle and obtain arms, mainly supplied from North Korea. Minor skirmishes and battles in remote regions led to involvement by North and South Koreas, Japan, and finally, China and the USA, escalating the situation to the distinct possibility of a nuclear war. I imagine that the author is figuring out how to write a sequel. I hope Never!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Holly B

    I've just finished Mr. Follett's latest epic novel, and just realized that the 816 pages really just flew by. That is how immersed I was in the story. No counting pages, no gazing at the ceiling or checking my phone. I loved his WWII thriller, The Eye of the Needle , this one is more terrifying because it imagines a WWIII scenario with nuclear weapons. It feels too close to home with all the world unrest and gets a bit too political for my taste. It is a complex plot, with 3 different world sce I've just finished Mr. Follett's latest epic novel, and just realized that the 816 pages really just flew by. That is how immersed I was in the story. No counting pages, no gazing at the ceiling or checking my phone. I loved his WWII thriller, The Eye of the Needle , this one is more terrifying because it imagines a WWIII scenario with nuclear weapons. It feels too close to home with all the world unrest and gets a bit too political for my taste. It is a complex plot, with 3 different world scenarios converging into a hair-raising and alarming conclusion. My favorite substory involved Abdul and Kiah, stuck traveling in the Sahara desert, trying to escape Africa and get to France. It is an intense, edge of your seat ride with many frightening moments. There is a lot of political chapters highlighting the White House negotiations and the personal life of the fictional President and her family. This was my least favorite storyline and it felt somewhat overwritten. I wasn't a fan of how the novel ended. It felt unfinished and left me wondering what happened to the rest of the novel. Recommend to fans of the author, spy/political thrillers, and action-packed plots, dictorial governments and power grabs full of greed and evil intentions. Library loan / November 2021

  5. 5 out of 5

    Dem

    What a great book to start the new year with. Tense, Exciting and Unputdownable. With this novel Ken Follett makes a return to contemporary storytelling and a clash of superpowers as China reacts to a generals revolt in North Korea and America battles a terrorists thread in central Africa. A young window and her son embark on a journey to find better lives for themselves in a country where human trafficking in rife. Set in the present day and one can help wonder how close to the bone this one cu What a great book to start the new year with. Tense, Exciting and Unputdownable. With this novel Ken Follett makes a return to contemporary storytelling and a clash of superpowers as China reacts to a generals revolt in North Korea and America battles a terrorists thread in central Africa. A young window and her son embark on a journey to find better lives for themselves in a country where human trafficking in rife. Set in the present day and one can help wonder how close to the bone this one cuts. We watch events unfold through a host of wonderful and complicated characters, some whom are spies in Beijing and Chard and US President Pauline Green. The World on the brink of war and a war that could end civilization as we know it. I can honestly say that the premise of Ken Follett’s novels never excite me and yet once I read the first chapter of any of his novels I am completely drawn in and hooked. This is my sixth novel by Follett and once again I was captivated by his storytelling, terrified by the “what if” and in love with his vast host of characters. Well researched and beautifully written this is one novel that had me kept me reading well past my bedtime. I very rarely read novels over 400 pages and yet the 800 pages of this one flew by. I read the hard copy of this one and listened to audio version as well and the narrator was excellent.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ken Fredette

    I've read Follett's books before and have never been this upset. It's how World War III happens with African, French, American, North and South Korea, and China all playing out what they believe to be true. You have to read the book to get the jest of it and to gain insight to the people who rule. It's full of characters that you will love and villains you will hate. It's a long read but it's worth the time spent reading (816 pages). You will be intrigued by the stories that Ken gives you. I was I've read Follett's books before and have never been this upset. It's how World War III happens with African, French, American, North and South Korea, and China all playing out what they believe to be true. You have to read the book to get the jest of it and to gain insight to the people who rule. It's full of characters that you will love and villains you will hate. It's a long read but it's worth the time spent reading (816 pages). You will be intrigued by the stories that Ken gives you. I was captivated by his story that happened in Chad, but the other ones are just as interesting. I always like it when you get to know the characters and how they think. Way to write Ken!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Dana Ilie

    Oh brother, how does this book make you think .... Starting from a seemingly insignificant conflict, everything escalates quickly and irrevocably. Every possibility is analyzed and decisions are made that can end the conflict, but the communist tradition, or the pressure to defend people, leads to an unexpected and unwanted end. It makes you aware of the dangers exposed in the book, whenever this can happen, the great powers have weapons, they have ambitions, they have interests, it is easy to se Oh brother, how does this book make you think .... Starting from a seemingly insignificant conflict, everything escalates quickly and irrevocably. Every possibility is analyzed and decisions are made that can end the conflict, but the communist tradition, or the pressure to defend people, leads to an unexpected and unwanted end. It makes you aware of the dangers exposed in the book, whenever this can happen, the great powers have weapons, they have ambitions, they have interests, it is easy to see that the story in the book is not exaggerated. A book written with a lot of talent, but also with a lot of research work, as Follett used to do.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Bobbi

    Huh. That’s about all I can say.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Tanja Berg

    Long, meandering and ultimately disappointing. The book is very up to date in current affairs and shows how the world can spiral out of control. There are several plot lines and not all of them hang all that well together. It’s not top form for Ken Follet by any means.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Diane Ferbrache

    I've read Follett's historical fiction (Pillars of the Earth, etc), but had not read any of his modern/suspense/spy books. If this is an example, I think I'll skip them. With multiple characters in multiple countries, and multiple issues this book just bored me. I read almost 1/2 and finally gave up. I didn't really care about any of the characters, and the suspense that's apparently leading to world war just didn't capture my attention either. Maybe I'll try again at a later date, but for now.. I've read Follett's historical fiction (Pillars of the Earth, etc), but had not read any of his modern/suspense/spy books. If this is an example, I think I'll skip them. With multiple characters in multiple countries, and multiple issues this book just bored me. I read almost 1/2 and finally gave up. I didn't really care about any of the characters, and the suspense that's apparently leading to world war just didn't capture my attention either. Maybe I'll try again at a later date, but for now....

  11. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Shindler

    American schoolchildren in the nineteen fifties will always remember the nationally mandated Civil Defense drills. Memories of ducking under desks and filing down to the school basement still linger in their consciousness. These drills were a response to Russia’s gaining nuclear armaments which triggered a national angst over the specter of world wide destruction stemming from hostile superpowers resolving their political differences through a nuclear conflict.The yellow and black civil defense American schoolchildren in the nineteen fifties will always remember the nationally mandated Civil Defense drills. Memories of ducking under desks and filing down to the school basement still linger in their consciousness. These drills were a response to Russia’s gaining nuclear armaments which triggered a national angst over the specter of world wide destruction stemming from hostile superpowers resolving their political differences through a nuclear conflict.The yellow and black civil defense signs that were so pervasive in American streets have long been removed. Geopolitical shifts and redrawn lines of hegemony have altered the world’s political landscape. But the threat of nuclear disaster still remains.Ken Follett’s novel “Never”, set in the near future, is a political thriller that explores the tensions of the modern world and sets forth a very real scenario that could result in the unthinkable. The novel contains all of the signature components of a Follett offering. It is meticulously researched, containing a sprawling cast of characters and diverse storylines that eventually connect. Three locations are central to the development of the plot. Initially, the reader is transported to the Sahara Desert where a CIA agent is tracking a cocaine shipment that will become a funding source for Islamic terrorist activities in the region. In this same region, an American soldier is shot with a weapon provided from a cache of North Korean armaments. This incident provokes responses from the United States and China, North Korea’s principal ally. The focus then shifts to the United States and China. Pauline Green, a moderate Republican, is the first female President. She has to balance the challenges of domestic politics while navigating the perils of escalating tensions in Asia and the Middle East. The decision trees that develop in both America and China illustrate how quickly and unintentionally events can spiral out of control, leading from the lowest state of nuclear readiness(DEFCON 5) to the imminent start of nuclear conflict( DEFCON1). In a foreword, the author notes that World War 1 resulted despite a series of moderate decisions intended to prevent the conflict.The strength of “ Never” is Follett’s extrapolation of modern circumstances in which well thought out decisions can precipitate a cataclysm in an increasingly complex world. As the plot unfolds, we see how seemingly disparate and isolated incidents in different parts of the world might converge to result in an unintended nuclear holocaust. The unfolding of these circumstances drives the story forward and gives the novel a great degree of appeal.However, there are elements that detract from the novel’s effectiveness.The author devotes large sections of the story to portraying the personal lives of the central protagonists in an attempt to show the internal demands associated with a crisis. These sections are filled with romance and personal intrigue in the midst of a rapidly developing cataclysm. These plot points are a bit overwritten and detract from the focus and flow of the narrative. At times these personal vignettes seem superfluous to the narrative thrust. One must bear in mind, though, that the novel is a work of popular fiction. It still manages to succeed in presenting an exciting and plausible exposition of the perils that loom in a world that is infinitely more complex than the world looming ahead for the schoolchildren in the nineteen fifties.3.5 stars rounded up to 4.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Tim

    Awful long snooze fest. 0 of 10 stars

  13. 5 out of 5

    Adrienne

    Wow and scary. Knowing the ending dies not spoil the ending. A story that ends in nuclear bombs being exchanged. I'd spoil it if I said how events started. How a USA president played diplomacy to prevent escalation was the part I enjoyed. The multiple strategic steps taken was brilliantly insightful and realistically written by Follett. Unputdownable Wow and scary. Knowing the ending dies not spoil the ending. A story that ends in nuclear bombs being exchanged. I'd spoil it if I said how events started. How a USA president played diplomacy to prevent escalation was the part I enjoyed. The multiple strategic steps taken was brilliantly insightful and realistically written by Follett. Unputdownable

  14. 5 out of 5

    Aniruddha M

    Never is Ken Follett’s foray into contemporary political fiction, and at 846 pages it is a heavy one! From the heavy-handed Dictatorial governments of North Africa to the megalomaniacal one in North Korea, the high-paced action flies thick and fast! And the US plays the pivotal role of an uncomfortable but powerful ally to some of these regimes. US President Pauline Green is in the third year of her four-year term and faces constant sniping from her idiotic competitor and President-hopeful Sen. Never is Ken Follett’s foray into contemporary political fiction, and at 846 pages it is a heavy one! From the heavy-handed Dictatorial governments of North Africa to the megalomaniacal one in North Korea, the high-paced action flies thick and fast! And the US plays the pivotal role of an uncomfortable but powerful ally to some of these regimes. US President Pauline Green is in the third year of her four-year term and faces constant sniping from her idiotic competitor and President-hopeful Sen. James Moore, particularly for being soft in using Nuclear weapons. Little does Sen. Moore know that Global events will soon bring the world to the brink of such catastrophic decisions and man’s greed and ego will precipitate disastrous events – as it has over the centuries through mankind’s disposition towards cruelty and violence. As the hawks in Political administrations take over critical decision-making, will the moderate thinking of the most powerful woman of the Free World be able to stop World War III? Please read my detailed review from the link below https://www.aniblogshere.com/books-re... Do Read 📖, Like 👍🏼, Comment 💭, or Share 🚩 🙏🏼🙏🏼 #never #politicalthriller #bookmagic #bookreview #lovebooks #kenfollett #bookrecommendations #bookreviewer #bookreviewblog #bookreviewersofinstagram #booklover #book #bookreviewing #bookreviews #bookreviewblogger #bookblogger #CIA #chad #sudan #northkorea #northafrica #china #southkorea #nuclearwar

  15. 4 out of 5

    Marc

    Follet's description of the events that lead to a nuclear holocaust seems plausible, particularly since he models the events after WWI in the sense that one small crisis leads to another, the major powers strive to control events, but ultimately history and politics lead to the US execution of "the China plan." Much of the plotline here is thrilling and makes the book difficult to put down. However, the writing is stunningly bad for someone with Follet's oeuvre. There are multiple instances of re Follet's description of the events that lead to a nuclear holocaust seems plausible, particularly since he models the events after WWI in the sense that one small crisis leads to another, the major powers strive to control events, but ultimately history and politics lead to the US execution of "the China plan." Much of the plotline here is thrilling and makes the book difficult to put down. However, the writing is stunningly bad for someone with Follet's oeuvre. There are multiple instances of repetition within a few pages of each other--explanations for why a specific restaurant is popular, thoughts about the difficulties of parenting, noting that a CIA field agent hadn't been in combat but was an exceptional shot, etc.--suggesting his editor wasn't paying attention to his book. I was also concerned with his depiction of US politics, which were often so implausible that it makes his grasp of our political system suspect. Follett's historical novels are compelling largely because they're educational and reliant on research; when there are obvious flaws in the areas you know it makes the reader question his portrayal of less-familiar settings (e.g., China and Chad). Would a 61-year-old Vice President really have a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old, professing to the President that he truly loves this child? Would a CIA station head be so ridiculously incompetent that he can't function and hinders the entire agency? Would a successful president be primaried by her own party by someone who becomes the favorite despite wearing cowboy fringe and repeatedly threatening to nuke other countries? (Follett tries to avoid piling on Trump by making the admirable President Republican, though he emphasizes she’s moderate and is being primaried by someone with many of Trump’s attributes who is often interviewed on a Fox-like network). Dialogue in this book is often ridiculous, either because supposedly-serious characters talk like children (Follett has a terrible tendency to have powerful women--the US president, a CIA Field Agent--giggle in the midst of a crisis) or because he wants to include exposition and can't find a better way to do it than through intelligent accomplished men and women reciting the most basic facts possible: which countries are allied with each other, world leaders' past histories, even the President asking to be told what happens when a nuclear missile explodes. Even worse are the characters themselves. In addition to the powerful women who inexplicably giggle at inopportune times, there's the president's 14-year-old daughter who smokes pot but asks her mother "can you say you'll use nuclear weapons but cross your fingers behind your back?", the National Security Advisor harboring a crush on the (married) president who makes wholly inappropriate comments while also putting her on a pedestal (quietly telling her “You’re the wisest person I’ve ever met”), the aforementioned incompetent and ignorant CIA station head, etc. Follett also apparently believes everyone who is beautiful (meaning all the heroes in this book) want to have sex all the time: escaping kidnappers and not sleeping for 36 hours, recently killing a man for the first time, the world on the brink of a nuclear holocaust, and people are either hopping in the sack or daydreaming about it in cabinet meetings. I was most concerned by his depiction of President Green. She’s one of the heroes, a middle-aged former gymnast (his women must be cute and athletic) who’s repeatedly described as exceptionally smart and more insightful than anyone on her cabinet and in her orbit. So why is she fantasizing about a sexual affair during a crisis? Why does she giggle so much? Why does she ask such asinine and obvious questions? While Follett’s intention was likely to show his support for empowering women, he objectifies them throughout this book in demeaning ways by making sexuality and beauty a core defining characteristic. Follett has written some of my favorite books, both historical fiction and thrillers. This one has a page-turning plot but a remarkable lack of empathy and understanding for the human condition.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    I have enjoyed many of Ken Follett’s books (admittedly. Some WAY more than others), so I was excited to dive into Never, his new novel set in the present (possibly future?) time. My husband seemed a bit disappointed that it isn’t historical fiction, so I am curious to get his reaction…but in any case I am grateful to Penguin Group Viking and NetGalley for providing a copy in exchange for this honest review. TBH, I read this about a month ago, and when I sat down to write this, I realized I was h I have enjoyed many of Ken Follett’s books (admittedly. Some WAY more than others), so I was excited to dive into Never, his new novel set in the present (possibly future?) time. My husband seemed a bit disappointed that it isn’t historical fiction, so I am curious to get his reaction…but in any case I am grateful to Penguin Group Viking and NetGalley for providing a copy in exchange for this honest review. TBH, I read this about a month ago, and when I sat down to write this, I realized I was having difficulty remembering it…until I realized why: I am currently about halfway through Peril, by Bob Woodward and Jim Acosta, and the reality of the current situation is just way to scary. I just couldn’t handle the fictional leadup to world war at the same time as the catastrophe currently threatening our democracy is unfolding. (Yes, I am NOT a fan of the former Administration, and the fact that the reality was even worse than we realized is more than a bit unsettling). In any case, Never is filled with well-developed characters, plotlines, and drama from around the world. In the U.S. the first female President, Pauline Green, is determined to keep the country out of war and safe from terrorists. She has a political adversary who is an aggressive bully, and she recognizes that “A fool was just a fool, but a fool in the White House was the most dangerous person in the world” (as shown by Woodward and Costa!). As she deals with one crisis after another, her personal life may be nearing its own meltdown. She watches her populist opponent on “…a channel that did not even pretend to report objectively,” being interviewed by a female reporter “…who described herself as a soccer mom conservative, but really she was just a bigot.” Sound familiar? The second major storyline takes place in Africa, specifically in Chad, where two young intelligence agents (one from the US, one from France) fall in love as they are working together with a young spy named Abdul, trying to stop a shipment of cocaine in the Sudan that is destined to be sold for a boatload of money to fund terrorists. And in a third storyline, there is a tug of war between a moderate named Kai whose father is a hardline,oldschool Communist leader in the middle of a tense situation as North Korea is falling apart, and there is a looming disaster if the hardliners prevail and a nuclear war breaks out. Follett is, as usual, a master storyteller, and the characters and events are related in a way that both enhances their unique situations and personalities while demonstrating that they are indeed completely interconnected. About two thirds of the way through, I had the sense that there was not going to be an optimistic or uplifting resolution to any of the crises, and while I totally enjoyed the experience of reading Never, it was definitely scary as hell, and sometimes hit just too close to home, I suspect that if I had not been reading Peril at the same time, it might have been a more positive (and less frightening) read, but it will definitely resonate with Follett fans, fans of espionage fiction, and anyone looking for a thought-provoking reading experience. Four stars, only because of the nightmares.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    This is a Political Thriller set in the future at which time global situations are escalating to WWIII. This was an incredibly complex novel and I've come to expect that from this author. He is gifted with plot lay out, characters and details. I'm always so impressed. I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Now I've read a few political thrillers and my biggest pet peeve is the way certain countries and people are demonized and it is always incredibly one sided. This didn't have the one sided problem and This is a Political Thriller set in the future at which time global situations are escalating to WWIII. This was an incredibly complex novel and I've come to expect that from this author. He is gifted with plot lay out, characters and details. I'm always so impressed. I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Now I've read a few political thrillers and my biggest pet peeve is the way certain countries and people are demonized and it is always incredibly one sided. This didn't have the one sided problem and it demonized every one. So that seemed to work. Everyone put pride over their people and yet it felt so believable. Seriously, pride run amuck. I hope we have global leaders who take their roles seriously and do what's best for the people and not let their ego rule. This one was definitely thought provoking.....so 4 stars.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Nacho A. A.

    Hmmm. Don't really now what to say. It feels as If I had read two stories in one. Abdul's pilgrimage and Tamara challenges on the one side, President Green and the nuke plot on the other. Past the mid-story point, the Green plot takes the stage and Abdul's just sort of kind of vanishes somehow. Errr. While I have enjoyed Follett's kids in the past, and Jackdaws or Night Over Water or A Place Called Freedom kept me hooked from start to finish, I have struggled to reach Never's last page. Not bad. Hmmm. Don't really now what to say. It feels as If I had read two stories in one. Abdul's pilgrimage and Tamara challenges on the one side, President Green and the nuke plot on the other. Past the mid-story point, the Green plot takes the stage and Abdul's just sort of kind of vanishes somehow. Errr. While I have enjoyed Follett's kids in the past, and Jackdaws or Night Over Water or A Place Called Freedom kept me hooked from start to finish, I have struggled to reach Never's last page. Not bad. But just ok. Fine. Ok.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Don

    What a horrible thing to do to you loyal readers Why? Why would one of the worlds greatest authors lower themselves to a work of fiction like this? Where is the hope for humanity? You have lost me and I’m certain others who have always walked away from your novels anxiously awaiting the next one. For me, this is the last Follett book I will ever read.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Dave Wickenden

    From the foreword, author Ken Follett admits that while researching his Century series he was shocked to find that none of the counties that fought in the Great War want things to escalate, but one logical decision after another by each participant relentlessly force the armies together. In Never, he looks at modern decision makers to see if this could ever happen again in the nuclear age. The story starts slowly but ends up racing like a run-away train to its terrifying conclusion. This is a rea From the foreword, author Ken Follett admits that while researching his Century series he was shocked to find that none of the counties that fought in the Great War want things to escalate, but one logical decision after another by each participant relentlessly force the armies together. In Never, he looks at modern decision makers to see if this could ever happen again in the nuclear age. The story starts slowly but ends up racing like a run-away train to its terrifying conclusion. This is a realistic look at international diplomacy, retribution, and weight of decision makers. It is not for the faint of heart. This is as real as it gets. Follet once again proves that he is one of today’s top writers.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ann Margolis

    Thank you NetGallery and publisher for giving me a first read of this amazing story. I’m sure it will be a major hit globally. At 800+ pages,I can’t believe how quickly I read this,spending many hours reading in bed instead of sleeping. It covers many events unfortunately happening now but not in a good way,because those events are certainly too realistic. Turmoil in Africa,China,No.Korea hits us readers chapter after chapter interspersed with likeable characters we can relate with adventure,love,h Thank you NetGallery and publisher for giving me a first read of this amazing story. I’m sure it will be a major hit globally. At 800+ pages,I can’t believe how quickly I read this,spending many hours reading in bed instead of sleeping. It covers many events unfortunately happening now but not in a good way,because those events are certainly too realistic. Turmoil in Africa,China,No.Korea hits us readers chapter after chapter interspersed with likeable characters we can relate with adventure,love,hate. You feel the build up of a Third World War is imminent but don’t want to believe it really will happen. This story by Ken Follett is different from any of the more recent novels I’ve read by him taking place in the Middle Ages,the building of the great cathedral,etc.Congratulations taking us somewhere new in this book.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jason

    Well that was an interesting ride! I'll say that this book doesn't quite hit like a Kingsbridge series book, but it's still a good thriller. I raced through this fairly quickly, and it's no small thing - an 800 page doorstop! SPOILERS AHEAD My initial impression is that this book could have been edited down a bit. While I appreciate the various storylines with the different characters (VERY Ken Follett), it didn't work as well for me in this book as it does in his Kingsbridge series, for example. U Well that was an interesting ride! I'll say that this book doesn't quite hit like a Kingsbridge series book, but it's still a good thriller. I raced through this fairly quickly, and it's no small thing - an 800 page doorstop! SPOILERS AHEAD My initial impression is that this book could have been edited down a bit. While I appreciate the various storylines with the different characters (VERY Ken Follett), it didn't work as well for me in this book as it does in his Kingsbridge series, for example. Unless there is a sequel (which seems unlikely) I'd have left out a few of the storylines altogether. The one thing I appreciate about the multiple storylines is that it does give us a good insight into how multiple small incidents can be intertwined, compounding to make a much larger and more serious problem when not handled appropriately. But with that said, I found the whole Saharan desert plotline to be a bit of a nuisance in the overall purpose of this novel (as well as the bombing in the Sudan port). Honestly, that could have been its own novel, and it would have still been interesting enough to hold its own. Really the only purpose of having the characters of Abdul and Tamara was so that they could occasionally play liaison with the White House, and so they could fall in love. I found the much larger arch of the nuclear standoff, and the North Korea civil war to be far more interesting as it related to this novel. Focussing on this, the novel could have been just sliiiiightly better, which may have pushed me to a 5-star review. Now, to harp on my main complaint - the love stories. Follett loves a love story. But here, there were too many going on and I had very little interest in any of them. The one I found most interesting was the relationship of President Green and her husband - that one just seemed most realistic, but it was focused on the least. The others seemed contrived. I found my eyes rolling way too far into the back of my head, particularly when it came to Tamara and Tabdul. The Tamara/Tab love affair, I thought, would end up in heartbreak, which would have been far more interesting (I kept expecting Tab to be some sort of plant or spy who would turn on her at some point, thereby giving Tab much more reason for being in the novel at all), but everything just fell into place too perfectly for them. Then there was that eye-rolling ending where they just go off and get married as the world falls apart. I dunno, call me cynical, but it seemed like a big waste of time lol. There was also the Kiah/Abdul storyline. Aside from the fact that I feel like this whole plot could have been eliminated from this novel and stood on its own in a separate novel, I was equally annoyed by the sudden turn when Kiah basically throws herself on him and they suddenly are in love and yada yada yada they are going to live happily ever after. Like...just doesn't seem believable to me lol. I was, however, very interested in their journey to get out of the country, etc. But, like I said, this could have easily been its own interesting story. I just didn't feel as though its place was at all necessary in this novel. The links between their story and the overall larger plot were quite thin. I can make my peace with Tamara and Abdul, though, because I understand that they exist to show us the intricacy of international diplomacy, spy networks, and how they weave together in much larger discussions of foreign policy. So for that, I understand why they were in the novel. What I enjoyed most were the back-and-forth diplomatic sections of the novel. The high stakes convos taking place between leaders, as well as within the hierarchy of their own internal political structures, was quite fun to watch unfold. Follett could have given us more of that and I'd have gobbled it up - but that's perhaps just a personal preference. Overall, I'm not mad at the lovey-dovey parts, because that's sort of what I've come to expect in a Ken Follett novel. But he may have benefited from someone saying no to him for once lol. A good novel, a fun ride, and a surprising ending (really, I didn't think he'd go there, but he did lol). Onward.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Unseen Library

    For my latest Waiting on Wednesday I take a look at an upcoming massive thriller than I am very confident is going to end up being one of the best books of 2021, Never by the always incredible Ken Follett. I have long been a fan of Ken Follett’s work. Not only is he one of the best authors of historical fiction in the world today but he is also one of my all-time favourite authors. Follett started writing back in the 1970s with several intriguing thriller novels, such as Capricorn One, Eye of the For my latest Waiting on Wednesday I take a look at an upcoming massive thriller than I am very confident is going to end up being one of the best books of 2021, Never by the always incredible Ken Follett. I have long been a fan of Ken Follett’s work. Not only is he one of the best authors of historical fiction in the world today but he is also one of my all-time favourite authors. Follett started writing back in the 1970s with several intriguing thriller novels, such as Capricorn One, Eye of the Needle and the Apple Carstairs series. However, he really came into prominence in the late 1980s when he wrote the epic historical fiction, The Pillars of the Earth, an iconic and powerful novel about a group of unique people in medieval England. The Pillars of the Earth is easily Follett’s most successful novel, spawning a major television adaptation with an all-star cast. Since then, Follett has gone on to write several other massive and detailed historical novels, including the outstanding Century trilogy, which chronicles the major events of the 20th century, as well as sequels to The Pillars of the Earth, World Without End and A Column of Fire. Follett’s latest novel, The Evening and the Morning, a prequel to The Pillars of the Earth that presented a captivating and fascinating tale of survival, intrigue and love in the Dark Ages, was an extraordinary read and it was easily one of the best novels of 2020. Since we only just got a Follett book last year, I honestly was not expecting the author to release another massive novel for at least a couple of years. As a result, I was happily surprised when I found out that Follett had a brand new book on the way, especially one that is going to be 800+ pages long (depending on the version). Never, which is currently set for release in early November 2021, will be an intense thriller that looks at modern events at a global level. While I am more familiar with Follett as a historical fiction author rather than a contemporary thriller writer, this new book sounds pretty incredible and I cannot wait to read this compelling story. Well damn, now this sounds like it is going to be a pretty awesome read. Follett clearly has an epic story set up for Never, and I love the idea of a world-spanning thriller that will show the various players in a major international crisis as they respond to a dangerous situation. There are so many cool and intriguing elements contained within the above synopsis, and I really like the great spread of characters that Follett is going to include in this narrative, from the spies in the Sahara, the young up-and-comer in China and the President of the United States. This is clearly going to result in a comprehensive and powerful character driven story, and I cannot wait to see what unique and captivating journeys each of these protagonists go on. I am also extremely curious about the world-changing crisis hinted at in the synopsis, which I am taking to be some version of World War III, and I look forward to seeing the full extent of Follett’s vision of world chaos. I have a feeling this is going to feel very realistic and be based strongly on current world politics, which will hopefully result in a very fascinating story. All of the above sounds extremely amazing, and I cannot wait to see what clever story Follett has come up with for his next book. I am always certain to read and enjoy a new Follett book, however, after seeing the above exciting plot synopsis, I have to say that I am now especially keen to check out Never. I absolutely loved the sound of the fantastic story Follett has come up with for this book, and based on my prior experience of Follett’s exceptional writing I know he is going to create something very special out of these cool ideas. As a result, I am exceedingly confident that Never is going to be one of the most impressive and incredible releases of 2021, and I cannot wait to check it out later this year. For other exciting reviews and content, check out my blog at: https://unseenlibrary.com/

  24. 4 out of 5

    Allison

    This book is not for the faint of heart. Telling the story, step by gripping step, of how the world reached the state of nuclear war, Follett does a masterful job of bringing such a scenario to life. From the deserts of Africa to the halls of power in Beijing to the Situation Room in the White House, “Never” recreates the tangled web of international politics through the actions of Abdul, a CIA agent gathering information in the African country of Chad, Kai, a rising political star in China and This book is not for the faint of heart. Telling the story, step by gripping step, of how the world reached the state of nuclear war, Follett does a masterful job of bringing such a scenario to life. From the deserts of Africa to the halls of power in Beijing to the Situation Room in the White House, “Never” recreates the tangled web of international politics through the actions of Abdul, a CIA agent gathering information in the African country of Chad, Kai, a rising political star in China and Pauline Green, the president of the United States. Offstage but always in the middle of things is the erratic Supreme Leader of North Korea, The twin forces of political power and international alliances draw the major players of the world together in an escalating game of Chicken. We see how a decision in one country, analyzed by the power structure in other countries sends the world down an ever-widening path of military response. The characters play their parts authentically based on their experience, knowledge and perspective. The reader watches with dread as we see the inevitable outcome. There are no superheroes or magic bullets to save the day. With the recent publication of Bob Woodward’s book “Peril”, we learn of the behind-the-scenes phone calls of Gen. Milley, head of the joint Chief of Staffs to leaders in China for the purpose of averting the threat of nuclear war. Such real life actions only strengthen the idea that “Never” is more fact than fiction. It does not make comfortable bedtime reading but it tells a story that should be told. The question remains, can we construct a more hopeful ending to the story?

  25. 5 out of 5

    Julia

    KF is one of my favorite authors so I am sorry to say that I found this book hard to get through. Follett is capable of writing tense, suspenseful thrillers and long, melodramatic historical epics - and with NEVER, he tries to combine these two genres so you have a very long thriller told from a variety of perspectives. I was with this book for the first half. But it took 400 pages to get from Defcon 5 to Defcon 4. And this is all politics, espionage, and machinations. And it got tedious and bori KF is one of my favorite authors so I am sorry to say that I found this book hard to get through. Follett is capable of writing tense, suspenseful thrillers and long, melodramatic historical epics - and with NEVER, he tries to combine these two genres so you have a very long thriller told from a variety of perspectives. I was with this book for the first half. But it took 400 pages to get from Defcon 5 to Defcon 4. And this is all politics, espionage, and machinations. And it got tedious and boring. There's no clear bad guy and I didn't really like any of the characters. At 800 pages, it was way too long. I wish this was a concise, taut political thriller. Like COLUMN OF FIRE, I was just left bored and disappointed and left feeling like Follett just churned this out, dialing it in. But everyone else seems to like it...

  26. 5 out of 5

    Carlex

    three and a half stars. Despite its length, Never is a quick and agile read befitting its best-seller style. Among my concerns recently I am interested in the topic of a possible third world war. In this regard, this book, without contributing anything particularly innovative, provides us with a story - conveniently dramatized, as corresponds to this type of reading - plausible enough about some causes that could lead (or not) to a dreaded Third World War. Specifically, the story explains the globa three and a half stars. Despite its length, Never is a quick and agile read befitting its best-seller style. Among my concerns recently I am interested in the topic of a possible third world war. In this regard, this book, without contributing anything particularly innovative, provides us with a story - conveniently dramatized, as corresponds to this type of reading - plausible enough about some causes that could lead (or not) to a dreaded Third World War. Specifically, the story explains the global political context from different points of view of its protagonists: a CIA spy, an infiltrator in an Islamic terrorist group under her charge, a Chinese vice minister and the madam president of the United States of America. These characters are seasoned with their corresponding sentimental context, bringing us closer to how this story would be told if it were in a movie. A very entertaining read in which it is not necessary to highlight the talent of Ken Follett, both in his way of captivating us with a good story and in the knowledge necessary to tell it.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Tenkara Smart

    Wow! A Spectacular 5-Stars for Never. This historical, political, fictional thriller is exactly what I hoped to experience with Ken Follett, a master of storytelling and series writing. In the beginning, there were moments where the book felt a little slow. However, it was entertaining, and I wondered how it would all come together. I was filled with various emotions; curiosity, sadness, joy, heartache, disgust, and empathy when all the characters and situations finally intertwined. The characte Wow! A Spectacular 5-Stars for Never. This historical, political, fictional thriller is exactly what I hoped to experience with Ken Follett, a master of storytelling and series writing. In the beginning, there were moments where the book felt a little slow. However, it was entertaining, and I wondered how it would all come together. I was filled with various emotions; curiosity, sadness, joy, heartache, disgust, and empathy when all the characters and situations finally intertwined. The character development was excellent, and the story itself had me on the edge of my seat. Without spoiling anything, the 'human behaviour' made me disgusted and incredibly sad, almost to the point of tears. The scenes are relevant and accurate to the risk and danger of today's world politics, and I couldn't help but think this would be a book that young adults worldwide should read. A book like this opens our minds to the risks of political and world powers. Never may be able to change young people's paradigm, helping them understand how ego, belief systems, and agenda drive political decisions. This book reminded me of how our politicians make life-changing decisions that drastically impact the global community and humanity. I highly recommend it for young adults and older.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Claudia

    I've been reading Ken Follett's novels for more than twenty years and even though I adore his historical fiction, I also quite enjoy his thrillers. This book is a bit of both. As the author explains at the beginning: During his research for Fall of Giants he realised hat nobody actually wanted to start WWI, but too many tiny events took place that it was inevitable. Follett applies his realisation to this book about the causes for a possible WWIII and it's pretty devastating. As is common with his I've been reading Ken Follett's novels for more than twenty years and even though I adore his historical fiction, I also quite enjoy his thrillers. This book is a bit of both. As the author explains at the beginning: During his research for Fall of Giants he realised hat nobody actually wanted to start WWI, but too many tiny events took place that it was inevitable. Follett applies his realisation to this book about the causes for a possible WWIII and it's pretty devastating. As is common with his books (even the tomes and this is one) it was immensly readable and kept me hooked the whole time. He just has a way to engange the reader without ever using cheap cliffhangers or similar stuff. My only gripe is with the characters, who are not as fleshed out as they could be. But I forgive this since this isn't really what this book is about. But if you enjoy a mix of spy thriller and lots of politics this one is definitely for you.

  29. 5 out of 5

    John

    Might’ve “risen” to a 2 star read, but the (slight spoiler begins) the ending is dreadful (end slight spoiler) and there is an infusion of the author’s personal political opinions relating to the U.S. We don’t care what you think, Ken, and if you’re going to crank out more rubbish like this, we don’t care to read that either.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Eileen Mackintosh

    Lots of entertainment is provided in this 800 page novel. As usual, I enjoyed the characters and writing style of Ken Follett. Quite scary to think about the complexities of international diplomacy and how easily we could be thrust into war because of one madman at the helm. Makes me appreciate the fact that we got through 2016 - 2020! This story will appeal to those interested in current affairs, tense espionage situations and a bit of romance as well. The African based subplot could probably b Lots of entertainment is provided in this 800 page novel. As usual, I enjoyed the characters and writing style of Ken Follett. Quite scary to think about the complexities of international diplomacy and how easily we could be thrust into war because of one madman at the helm. Makes me appreciate the fact that we got through 2016 - 2020! This story will appeal to those interested in current affairs, tense espionage situations and a bit of romance as well. The African based subplot could probably been pulled and fleshed out some more into a separate novel. The ending leaves me wondering if there is a follow up to come. Regardless, I thoroughly enjoyed. #indigoemployee

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