I went through this in 5 days and night. It is an easy listen with soap opera like fictional plots against historical facts -
One of Follet's best I think. We know all too little about the complexities that led us to WWI and ultimately to WWII through a flawed peace agreement in 1918. All that told through the lives of individual human beings, both entitled aristocrats and struggling lower class folks seeking a better life. A great read (listen). One small criticism, John Lee, who I love, seemed rushed at first but later settled down and got his pacing better.
I really enjoyed this book, and far more than Pillars of the Earth. Fall of Giants relied far less on petty issues of good and evil and delved into the far-reaching nuances of the era. It is also informative, educating us about the lesser-understood of the two world wars. The characters are rich and complex and I found myself becoming attached to everyone, including the German. I can't wait for the next book.
I generally avoid fiction, but I enjoyed the Audible versions of "Pillars of the Earth" and "World without End" very much. "Fall of Giants" is the first of a planned triology and I hope Follett completes that project. It is a stand-alone novel like the others mentioned. I regret that I just didn't find the story compelling as the previous two. It may well be just a matter of personal taste. However, I also hoped to be more informed by the historical rendering, context, and prose. I guess I was just spoiled by those two other works. Read other reviews and make up your own mind ... I just came away disappointed somewhat.
Although Follett can tend toward being a bit formulaic, he writes great stories. I like this one particularly because it puts you right in the turmoil of the Russian revolution and in the middle of the discontent in Britain over the incompetency of their war leaders. This is a fascinating story. I learned a great deal about the period between the Archduke's assassination and the actual start of the war. Most histories skip this eventful sequence.
Addicted to Audible!
I am a Ken Follett fan so all I can say is that I LOVED this book. Yes, it does have a bit of melodrama and romance but it also refreshed my memory on the beginnings of WWI. I liked the characters, thought they were of course stereotypes but aren't we all??? I look forward to books 2 &3 and maybe a miniseries!
trying to see the world with my ears
I respect that Follet is a great storyteller although I don't like the subjects of his blockbusters and don't enjoy his prose. Because I love the social history of the period of "Fall of Giants," I really wanted to love the novel . My Irish-Canadian "grampa" went down into the mine at the same age and year as Billy - so I was primed to be engaged by the story even if it wasn't great literaure. But this very pedestrian novel is not even as well narrated as I'd expected by John Lee to make up for the writing. I will probably plod on through the others in the series when they appear - but like the present installment, I will save the novels for background to housework, etc., not prime time listening. It's a two star novel with an extra star for good intentions.
Perhaps if I had not just finsihed Anthony Powell's "A Dance to the Music of Time" I could better tolerate Follett's stuff - Powell was prime time listening about the 20th century.
I'm writing this review after listening to part 1&2 (out of 4). I've listened or read every novel Mr. Follett has written over the years, as far back as Triple and Key to Rebecca and of course, POTE and WWE. I can't help finding this book, well, a bit boring. I will continue to listen because I still have high hopes that something will draw me into the story and knowing that 2 more sequels are to follow, I have to believe it will pick up. I will say, the book makes me want to polish up on my WW1 history and the events leading up to the war. I plan to post another review after finishing part 3&4.
I have read a bit about World War II and the Civil War, and even the American Revolution, but I surprised to discover the gap in my knowledge about World War I. This book did an excellent of correcting that deficiency. By intertwining the stories of Russian, German, English, and American families, the book helped me understand a lot more about the history of the early 20th century.
One of the highlight's to me was when Follett described the commandeering of all of the taxi's in Paris in the early days of the war to transport troops to the front lines, since all of the trains were in use. Recognizing that Follett doesn't make stuff like this up, I went to the internet and found video of the historical event to which he referred, and was just tickled that he had worked that story into his account. I didn't realized that there would have been so many taxis in existence by the time of WWI, and that they could be used to transport troops was just amazing to me.
I was such a surprised and amazed fan of his last two books and so attached to that last story that I didn't know if I'd take to this one. Ken Follett has done it again. He creates believable characters and fills the "pages" with real human beings who are dealing with very understandable but also very era specific issues. I learned so much history from this audiobook! and I was captivated by the story. It got me through initial training for a marathon and I'm sad that it's done. Can't wait for his next one!
and the narrator is fantastic. He creates credible voices for the women and stays mostly consistent with all the characters throughout the book. I thought he did a great job.