never book cover

Books – Review of Never by Ken Follett – 2021 – Wonderful Novel

never book cover
Never by Ken Follett Book Cover

Book Review – Never by Ken Follett – Fascinating Storytelling

My Rating – 4 out of 5

Plot Summary (Storyline) – Never

The ominous tagline ‘The path to war begins with one false step‘ sets the tone for master storyteller Ken Follett’s thick standalone novel ‘Never’. Stepping away from his last decade’s favorite genre of historical fiction, Ken Follett delves into one of political intrigue, espionage, and terrorism. And to cap it all, he dangles the threat of a nuclear holocaust perilously close above the narrative. He weaves an interesting tapestry of varied characters and multiple subplots, which heave and haul the differing plots into a mesmerizing whole, while not for once, letting the excitement levels go down. A surprising release in 2021, since his fans are accustomed to waiting years for his books!

Read my review of Ken Follett’s masterpiece Kingsbridge prequel – The Evening and the Morning here

The current US President, Pauline Green, is three years into her first term and has more or less had a normal term for a US President till now. She has more worrying domestic issues to handle in terms of a precocious teenage daughter, Pippa, and growing discontent with her husband, Gerry. Meanwhile, trouble brews in North Africa between Chad and Sudan, with the terrorist group ISGS (Islamic State of Greater Sahara) bang in the middle of it. The CIA has been trying to locate the elusive head of ISGS, known as The Afghan, and his unknown hideout, Hufra – The Hole, somewhere in the bleak vastness of the Sahara. Abdul is the undercover CIA agent tracking the Afghan.

Never by Ken Follett Book Trailer

Far away from North Africa, the rogue state of North Korea is fomenting trouble again and this time its perennial and possibly only ally, China, is in an awkward position. A military coup threatens to take over the reins in Pyongyang, and a desperate Dictator throws all he has at it. China and America try and do their best to control the situation by talking to their allies – North and South Korea respectively, but retaliation follows retaliation and the situation slowly escalates out of hand. As the rebels invade and capture North Korean military bases, especially the ones containing their entire nuclear arsenal, the world teeters dangerously close to total annihilation!

While the two storylines do not exactly meet at any common point, President Pauline Greene is at the heart of the story and sometimes seems to be the only one with one hand on sanity and the other on a detonator. Yes, the premise is extremely possible, with hardliners in all the wrong places clamoring for violence and revenge, total annihilation of mankind is actually a small step away. The Global Climate Crisis pales in comparison to the terrifying political saber-rattling, and anybody in a position of power can just pull the trigger to exterminate life on earth!

never book cover 2

Conclusion – Book Review of Never

The plot is plausible, the scenarios very much real. We do have madmen Dictators ruling countries that are nuclear weapons capable and the threat to our existence can be carried out at any time. Like one character says in the novel – ‘we may not have five years, maybe not even five days’, though the context of that quote is different, it is true of the overall grim picture that the author paints. At 826 pages, it is a marathon read – like many of his earlier novels, but once you sink your teeth into it, it’s very difficult to let go till you finish it. The ending though, seems to suggest a sequel in the near future.

A must-read for readers and fans of the political thriller genre, and the landscape that Mr. Follett paints is sure to send several cold shivers running down your spine! Brace yourself for a few days while you settle down with this thick manuscript!!

never author ken follett
Never author Ken Follett

*I hope you have enjoyed reading this book review as much as I have enjoyed writing this! Do watch this space for more such reviews and navigate through the links below for more… Thank you!! *

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