Ken Follett has written a prequel to his most popular novel The Pillars of the Earth, which was first published in 1989. The new book The Evening and the Morning will be published globally in autumn 2020, including by Pan Macmillan in the UK and Viking in the US.
The announcement of the book was made at the Frankfurt Book Fair where Follett met with his international publishers.
The Evening and the Morning takes place around the year 1,000, when England is under constant attack from Vikings and soon to be conquered by Normans. The theme of the story is the origins of a legal system that does not merely serve the ruling chieftains. Follett said: “The story is set at the end of the Dark Ages and the beginning of the Middle Ages, so it’s an evening and a morning. And the phrase is Biblical, of course: ‘And the evening and the morning were the first day’. This is a time when people began to demand what we call the rule of law, which means that disputes are settled according to rules, regardless of how rich or powerful you are. This is a vital component of freedom.”
Ken Follett with his international publishers (credit: Olivier Favre)
Pan Macmillan publisher Jeremy Trevathan said: “It's amazingly appropriate to be announcing the publication of a new novel set in Ken Follett's fictional town of Kingsbridge – The Evening and the Morning - 30 years after the publication of The Pillars of the Earth, now acknowledged globally as a classic work of popular fiction. I can't wait for readers to immerse themselves in Ken's vivid imagination.”
Viking president Brian Tart added: “When Ken Follett told me he was writing a prequel to his monumental and beloved novel, The Pillars of the Earth, I knew his fans would rejoice and we would have a huge opportunity to introduce new readers to the celebrated Kingsbridge Series. Now having read The Evening and the Morning, I can say it is a tour de force of epic storytelling. It deserves the highest compliment--it stands on equal footing with The Pillars of the Earth.”
The Pillars of the Earth has sold over 27 million copies worldwide, the publishers said. Through Nielsen BookScan in the UK, Pillars of the Earth has sold 544,401 copies in all editions since 1998 when records began.