The author showed the audience a short film about his book A Column of Fire, in which, he said he wanted to make his protagonist a “16th-century James Bond”. He said the book is actually about “freedom…the freedom to choose your own religion”.
Follett’s third novel in the Kingsbridge series went straight to number one on bestseller lists in the US and most of Europe. It chronicles the political intrigue of the royal courts of England, France and Scotland and the often violent conflict between supporters of the Catholic Church and the rising Protestant movement in the late 16th Century.
Follett said the book is really about two questions: “How could we possibly have killed one another, tortured one another, burned each other at the stake in an argument about the religion of gentle Jesus, meek and mild”, and secondly, “How did we get from there to a society in which everybody has the right to make up his or her own mind about religion?”.
If you like watching Hay Festival events digitally please sign up to the Hay Player for more from the world’s greatest thinkers.
Picture by Iga Koncka