Ken Follett: A Critical Companion

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Greenwood Publishing Group, 1996 - Literary Criticism - 180 pages

Ken Follett had the purest of motives when he began writing fiction: he did it for the money. But after ^IEye of the Needle^R catapulted him to success and secured his reputation as a master of the spy thriller, he both built on that success with other spy thrillers and experimented equally successfully with other genres such as the family saga and the historical romance. This is the first full-length study of his work and it includes individual examinations of each of his major novels, from Eye of the Needle (1978) to A Place Called Freedom (1995), as well as his early novels.

Following a chapter on Follett's life and career, Turner discusses in depth Follett's early novels and his one nonfiction work, On the Wings of Eagles. A genre chapter examines Follett's use of historical settings and his use of the genres of spy thriller, saga, and historical romance in his novels. The rest of the study is devoted to an individual examination of each of his novels in turn, with subsections on plot, character, theme, point of view, and literary devices. Turner also offers an alternative critical approach to reading each novel, such as psychoanalytical, Marxist, or reader response, to give the reader another perspective from which to read and discuss it. A complete bibliography of Follett's fiction, general criticism and biographical sources, and listings of reviews of all the novels examined in the study completes the work. The only study of one of the best-selling writers today, who appeals to adults and young adults alike, this is a key purchase for schools and public libraries.


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The Life and Career of Ken Follett
Early Writings and On Wings of Eagles 1983
Eye of the Needle 1978
Triple 1979
The Key to Rebecca 1980
The Man from St Petersburg 1982 and Lie Down with Lions 1986
The Pillars of the Earth 1989 and A Dangerous Fortune 1993
Night over Water 1991 and A Place Called Freedom 1995

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About the author (1996)

RICHARD C. TURNER is Professor and Chair of the English Department at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. He has published essays on Milton, Swift, literature and science, and on incorporating historical contexts into the teaching of literature.

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