The real enemies, then as now, are not the rival religions. The true battle pitches those who believe in tolerance and compromise against the tyrants who would impose their ideas on everyone else—no matter what the cost."
A Column of Fire is the third in the series, and I read the first many moons ago, so can't really compare the two, it was too long ago. From what I do recall, this one contains fewer details on the construction of the cathedrals, not so many ups and downs for the characters, and is less focussed on the particular history of the town than the broader story of the world at the time.
It's also set in a historical time about which so many books have been written. In a history we all know so well it's hard to be different, but Ken Follett does this part well. The religious tolerance in the centre of a world charged with overbearing egos and too much passion about was a different take.
I loved Ned and Margery's story. It was long, but also unique in its content and strangely satisfying - maybe that's just me.
Hence three stars - probably four if Ken Follett hadn't written better books before. But immensely worthwhile. The Audible narration was excellent - John Lee does a superb performance.
You may also enjoy Dancing the Death Drill by Fred Khumalo or The Constant Queen by Joanna Courtney.