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Ken Follett’s sweeping Pillars of the Earth series to finally conclude this fall

‘The Armor of Light’ to come out Sept. 26, more than 30 years after first book released
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This cover image released by Viking shows “The Armor of Light” by Ken Follett, to be published Sept. 26. (Viking via AP)

Ken Follett is ready to wrap up his epic fictional chronicle of Western civilization.

Viking announced Wednesday that the British author’s “The Armor of Light” will be published Sept. 26, concluding an eight-volume series that began in 1989 with “The Pillars of the Earth” and spans 1,000 years. The new book is set in the late 18th-early 19th centuries, the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, and centers on the conflicts between Britain and France.

“I’m fascinated by how people have struggled for freedom — and won,” Follett said in a statement. “Most of my stories are about just that. The issue underlying ‘The Armor of Light’ is freedom of speech.”

Follett’s historical novels, which also include “World Without End” and “A Column of Fire,” have sold more than 75 million copies worldwide.

“I didn’t plan it this way,” he said. “I just scoured the past for exciting stories that showed ordinary people coping with the changing tides of history. And then I began to see that the novels stand together as a body of work.”

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