The saga that has enthralled the millions of readers of The Pillars of the Earth and World Without End now continues with Ken Follett's magnificent, gripping new story. Young Will Willard is coming home to Kingsbridge at Christmas as A Column of Fire opens. The year 1558 will turn Will's life upside-down and change Europe for ever. The ancient stones of Kingsbridge Cathedral look down on a city torn by religious hatred. High principles clash bloodily with friendship, loyalty and love. Will finds himself on the opposite side from the girl he longs to marry, Margery Fitzgerald. When Elizabeth Tudor becomes queen, all of Europe turns against England. The shrewd, determined young monarch sets up the country's first secret service, to give her early warning of assassination plots, rebellions and invasion plans. Waiting in Paris is the alluring, headstrong Mary Queen of Scots, part of a brutally ambitious French family. Proclaimed the rightful ruler of England, she has her own supporters scheming to get rid of Elizabeth.