The history man

The history man

Ken Follett knows he’s not highbrow enough to win the Booker Prize, but his thrillers and historical novels have made him a fortune nonetheless

As a young newspaper reporter in the early 1970s, Ken Follett urgently needed £200 to fix his broken-down car. With a wife and child to support, no bank would lend him the cash – so he looked around for a potential nixer instead.

“By pure chance, one of my colleagues had just written a novel and got an advance for exactly the same amount,” he recalls. “So I decided to do the same, and it was accepted...

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