Ken Follett and John Lee: Master Storytellers

It finally hit me, beyond a shadow of a doubt.  I’m in love with Ken Follett.  And, for that matter, John Rafter Lee, too. So, consider me the Number One member of their fan club. In fact, I am officially declaring myself a Ken Follett/John Rafter Lee groupie.

Ken Follett

Ken Follett (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yes, I’m obsessed! Though, you may be thinking, why? Why swoon over the likes of Ken Follett, an author who describes himself on his website as a, “Master Storyteller and Best-selling Author?”  And, who the heck is John Lee, anyway?? Well, more about him in a moment.

First, Ken Follett really is a master storyteller. He spins a darn good yarn. Clearly, the man does his research, whether writing about five families whose lives are intertwined during World War I and World War II, or the building of a cathedral in 12th century England.  Do you have any idea how long it took those guys back then to build one cathedral? We’re talking decades. Maybe even centuries!

So far, I have read two of Follett’s books and am halfway through a third. Though technically, I haven’t really read any of his books at all. It’s because I listen to them on audio! On average, the number of pages in each of his novels ranges from 1,000 to infinity. Talk about epic! There are only so many hours in a day, which is why, without the audiobook, I would be missing out on Follett’s tomes.

These are the ones I’ve listened to: Fall of Giants and Winter of the World, Books One and Two of his Century Trilogy (which, if I interpret this correctly, means that there is one more book in the series that I can look forward to!).

And, the book I’m currently listening to is Pillars of the Earth, which Follett wrote way back when. It’s a riveting account, detailing all the drama, politics and double-crossing involved in building a cathedral. I mean, really. Who thought building a cathedral could be so intriguing, and so enthralling?

John Rafter Lee, actor and professional narrator.

John Rafter Lee, actor and professional narrator.

In audio form, each of these books is between 30 and 40 hours long. Goodness. I’d lose my voice if I had to read aloud just one chapter! Which brings me back to John Rafter Lee.

I love Lee!  And I only know him by his voice! You could say, he had me at, “Hello.” I have listened to many an audio book, but none has kept me as rapt as Lee. He narrates all of Follett’s books, and while Follett might write the books, it is Lee who truly brings them to life. I cannot say enough good things about this man’s voice. It’s clear and crisp. Best of all, Lee, who has recorded the audio for other books as well (Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak and Tai-Pan by James Clavell), is able to capture every accent and nuance of the gazillion characters or so that are to be found in a Follett saga.

Take his most recent, Winter of the World. The main characters are Russian, British German, American, and Welsh. He does all the accents pitch perfect, as far as I’m concerned. Sure, Lee is an actor first, but he’s made a solid career out of recording audio books, and now I’m determined to listen to them all.

By the way, if you happen to run into either of them, please let them know they shouldn’t be frightened of me. Not in the least. True, I’m obsessed enough to stalk them, if not for the fact that they’re in England and I’m on this side of the pond.   So, let them know they can relax. For now, that is. One of these days, they might spot a crazed woman peering at them from behind a tree, in a very clandestine sort of way. You just never know.

Finally, I want to thank Anne and Don, a very sweet couple who were kind enough to introduce me to Ken Follett. After all, if not for them, I wouldn’t be hanging on to every word he writes and Lee utters.

Now, what are you reading?