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Interview with Ken Follett, author of the Kingsbridge novels

July 22, 2020

Interview with Ken Follett, author of the Kingsbridge novels

Ken Follett photo

How did you choose the title for The Evening and the Morning?

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.”

Are the characters in The Evening and the Morning early ancestors of the characters in your previous Kingsbridge novels?

Yes, though as usual no direct connection is traced—the time between the periods of the two books is too long.

The Evening and the Morning is set during the Anglo-Saxon period, what attracted you to this particular time period?

It’s a time of turmoil, which is always great in a novel.

And how did you go about researching it?

This was difficult. The Anglo-Saxons did not write much down, they made almost no pictures, and most of their buildings were made of wood and have long rotted away. I’ve looked at most of the Anglo-Saxon churches in England, spent time at the reconstructed Anglo-Saxon village at Stow, visited the Viking Ship  Museum in Oslo, and studied the Bayeux Tapestry, both the original in Bayeux and the copy in the Reading museum.

Cover of Evening and the Morning

Are the lives and problems of people who lived hundreds of years ago still relevant to modern readers and, if so, in what way will they be able to relate?

Their lives were very different to ours, but they still fell in love, went to war, yearned for power and money, and sought revenge.

Do the underlying themes of The Evening and the Morning reflect modern life and, if so, in what way?

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.

What made you want to go back to a time before The Pillars of the Earth?

I wondered how Kingsbridge became a city. I pictured it as a small out-of-the-way place and began to imagine how it grew.

What was the most interesting place you visited for your research for The Evening and the Morning?

Undoubtedly the museum in Bayeux where the tapestry is housed.


The Evening and the Morning

A Column of Fire

World Without End

The Pillars of the Earth

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