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Oprah picks Ken Follett thriller for book club

Oprah Winfrey choose Ken Follett's "The Pillars of the Earth" as her next book club selection, a move that will likely mean huge sales for one of the world's most popular writers.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Oprah Winfrey went for the big time Wednesday with her latest book club pick, choosing Ken Follett's 973-page "The Pillars of the Earth," an announcement that will likely mean hundreds of thousands more sales for one of the world's most popular writers.

Follett, a 58-year-old native of Cardiff, Wales, is known for spectacular thrillers such as "Lie Down With Lions," "Eye of the Needle" and "World Without End," published last month, and a sequel to "The Pillars of the Earth," which came out in 1989.

Follett has called "The Pillars of the Earth," a love story set in England in the 12th century, his favorite novel. According to his Web site, the book still sells around 100,000 copies a year in the United States alone.

"My publishers were a little nervous about such a very unlikely subject but paradoxically, it is my most popular book," Follett writes on his Web site.

"It's also the book I'm most proud of. It recreates, quite vividly, the entire life of the village and the people who live there. You feel you know the place and the people as intimately as if you yourself were living there in the middle ages."

A year after "Pillars" came out, Follett agreed to a two-book, $12.3 million deal with the Dell Publishing Company. He reportedly has 90 million readers worldwide and recently signed with Penguin Group (USA) for a planned multigenerational trilogy set in the 20th century.