10. The Hammer of Eden (1998)
Ken Follett isn`t the man who`d recycle the same idea a second time. In this book, Follett`s thriller takes yet another direction. What is he exploiting this time? The wrath of mother nature, which, when it happens by accident it`s frightening, but when you realize it can be artificially caused by someone, it becomes terrifying. Full of controversies, The Hammer of Eden is a story which makes you unable to remain impartial.
On one side, we have a pacifist commune and its leader, Priest, who wake up, after three decades of peace, to find that their little paradise is in danger. A governmental dam project is set in motion, but with the building of this a structure comes a high risk of flooding. Seeing their lives in danger, the small community decides to take action and transform themselves into eco-terrorists, determined to protect their valley at all costs.
At opposite end is Judy Maddox, competent FBI agent struggling to advance in her career. Despite her best efforts to succeed, she finds herself, most of the time, slowed down by trivial office politics and maneuvers. In a work field dominated by males, she finds out that her enemies are not only the mysterious Priest, but also her backstabbing boss and his accomplices.
The FBI versus an earthquake-causing cult; the idea is both captivating, as well as bold, but in Ken Follett`s hands it becomes more than a mere battle of the law, it`s a clash of two most ambitious wills and wits. While the idea of someone actually having the power to cause earthquakes seems a bit far-fetched, Follett is capable of giving each of his stories life, making all scenarios seem plausible.
9. Jackdaws (2001)
Given the success Eye Of The Needle had, it would be only natural for Follett to set his mind on writing another World War II related novel, but this time with a few changes. Jackdaws is the spy thriller everyone has been waiting for. Based on a true story, the novel knows how to build up a palpable suspense, sacrificing nothing when it comes to historical accuracy, offering you over 400 pages of engrossing espionage and a tough decision to make throughout the way.
Felicity Clairet is one of the most successful British agent specialized in sabotage, but despite years of experience in the field, she and her husband boldly rush into a head-on assault on a German communication point. The attack goes horribly wrong and she soon finds herself alone, her group destroyed and husband missing. Before her superiors lose all trust in her, she is given a second chance; she has to train a group of inexperienced women and under the cover of an all-woman team to infiltrate the German telephone exchange.
At the Opposite End
Dieter Franck is the German Army Intelligence officer. Surprisingly, he is not anti-Semitic at all, going as far as honestly admiring the French culture. However, he is well aware of what his duties are and even if he is the antagonist, you can`t help but understand that far from being the classic sadistic Nazi officer type just for the sake of it, he`s just another soldier very efficient in his job.
When Follett wrote this book, he decided not to leave one stone unturned. By constantly alternating the point of view between Felicity and Dieter Franck, you will always be up to date with what the other side is doing, creating a sense of sympathy towards both characters and more importantly, driving the action to evolve faster and faster, as the two sides collide. Each of Follett`s books is driven by a deep desire to entertain, and Jackdaws does not fall far behind.
8. The Man From St. Petersburg (1982)
No thrillers or any novels that describe the First World War can be considered light reading, however, this time Follett appears to have gone a bit softer. The Man From St. Petersburg is a dark tale about family secrets and political consequences sweetened by a dose of romance, which is the syrupy family conventions. Ken Follett`s masterfully storytelling brings to you the tale of a crumbling world on the brink of war.
His research for writing the novel included information on making a nitroglycerine bomb, but since his books are very detailed by nature, he figured out he should censure certain scenes out so that no one would attempt such a risky DIY project at home.
In 1914, Lydia is the elegant wife of Lord Walden, a diplomat who was given the task of negotiating a treaty between Britain and Russia in event of a war, and mother of 18 years old Charlotte. But who was she almost 2 decades ago, if not the lustfully liberated lover of the young anarchist Feliks. Now it seems like her past has caught up to her, when one evening Feliks turns up at her doorstep, trying to rekindle their passion.
A master Manipulator
Feliks arrives to London with only one goal, to assassinate the nephew of the Russian czar before he signs the treaty with the British. With a secret weapon up his sleeve, he wouldn`t even allow the English police to stop him, but when Lydia refuses to comply with his plans, he decides to convince Charlotte to help him out. But new surprises await him with this twist of plans, and he`ll soon find himself overwhelmed by his feelings for the young girl.
Always the epicure of historical fictions, Follett pays great attention to his settings, making sure to capture all the right historical details, injecting them with a dose of hair-raising drama. However, because the action moves so smoothly, you`ll be tempted to overlook all these details, just to turn one more page and read how the story progresses. This little flaw set aside, Follett`s thrillers, as always, have a lot to offer and you`ll find it worth your time to become absorbed into this novel`s narrative.
7. Whiteout (2004)
As a writer, Follett constantly reinvented his thrillers, but nothing is a more knife-edge drama than Whiteout. The master of historical fiction, although straying a bit from his typical genre, delivers a suspenseful novel, worthy of joining his rich legacy. Even if it`s not perfect, Whiteout remains the nail-biting, wicked thriller that seems to grow on you, keeping the pages turning.
Just like for any other novel, Follett did intense research before starting to write his novel. Just as everyone was happily preparing for Christmas Eve, a canister containing a deadly virus goes missing. Antonia Gallo, security director of the medical research firm, knew she was in trouble, but little did she expect the nightmare that was to come.
One way or another, so many lives depended on the recovery of the virus. Antonia, disgraced and forced to resign from the police department, owes her career solely to keeping the drug safe. Stanley Oxenford, the company`s director, has bet everything he has on the antidote, while his children have already decided how to spend the money it will bring.
A local television reporter
Determined to make a name for himself, has sniffed the potential of a missing virus story. A violent trio set to steal it for their mysterious client with a hidden motive. Each and every one of them have a personal interest an gain from the disappearance or recovery of the biological weapon, however, when a blizzard whips out upon them, all their plans mean nothing as they become prisoners of a remote family house.
Sexual attraction, rivalries and jealousies included, this book is not for the weak-hearted. Follett managed yet again to write a page-turning thriller that will throw you into a tailspin. Since it came out this novel has spiked up extreme reviews, but if suspense, desperate secrets and a rollercoaster of plot twists are what you`re looking for, then look no further as you have found your read of the day.