A fan of Ken Follett's Pillars of the Earth and World without End, had high expectations for this new Trilogy. I enjoy his mixing of factually based historic information with the story lines. Anxious to get the next in line of this trilogy. If anything, the descriptions of the battles became long at times. It all ended too quickly!
Ken Follett is one of my favorite writers and John Lee is fabulous. That being said, this book was populated by characters and situations that were so blatantly and absuredly contrived that I just could not finish it. I didn't care how any of it came out. My advice is: read Pillars of the Earth and forget about this one. Ken and John are still great in my book.
and a penny for your thoughts
Ken Follett's earlier works aren't my cup of tea but since "Pillars of the Earth", I'm hooked. Trouble is, listening to John Lee to read these sagas is like water torture. His sing song delivery is so annoying it's hard to focus on the book. It's a shame because he has a beautiful sounding voice but literally delivers 5-6 syllables at a time, over and over and OVER in a repetitive pattern like a nursery rhyme. To make it worse, not only does he pause rhythmically but delivers each short phrase sing-song going up at the end of each Ken Follett's story (pause) is so wonderful (pause) I hate to listen (pause) to an abridged version (pause) but don't know (pause) if I can take (pause) Lee's reading (pause) anymore (pause). I have to keep stopping (pause) See how annoying. I suffered through "Pillars" and "WWE", eventually listening to the abridged versions afterward just to get the bad taste out of my ears. What a shame to ruin these wonderful books with less than equal reading.
If you liked Pillars of the Earth you will enjoy this book as much. It is very similar, following the love interests, political successes/failures, and career developments of a mix of inter-related characters of various social classes as they navigate through the WWI era. The mix of personal narrative and fascinating history makes for great entertainment. You get to enjoy a heavy does of political and military history along with your soap opera plot turns!
Let me start by saying that I am a HUGE Follett fan. I've read POE, WWE, Dangerous Fortune and most of his other WWII thrillers, so I was excited to read this one. This book, however, doesn't have any of the delights or surprises of his other books. It's just the plain, old Follett formula, applied over and over to the same two-dimensional characters. Step one -- each "good" character gets his own "bad" character to act as a nemesis. Step two -- the "bad" character wins the girl or otherwise bests the "good" character in some way that causes lasting consequences for both. Step three -- the "good" and "bad" characters somehow are reunited years or even decades after the fact and end up "refighting" the original battle, but with the "good" character coming out on top, and the "order" in the universe is restored. Ok, I can even tolerate a formulaic story if it's creatively and skillfully put together, but for this one, Follett just phones it in. It's honestly like he just programed the same story into his word processor and had the machine generate most of the scenes. This one is really not worth the time or effort to listen to, and I am certainly going to skip all of the inevitable, money-making sequels that follow.
I almost didn't get this because of the few but emphatic negative reviews. I'm almost through book and all I can say is, "what's the problem?" The story line is fascinating because it's based on the dramatic events of the time--war, revolution, suffrage, industrialism, and the decline of monarchy and aristocracy. The characters are engaging, fully developed, and painted with fine oils, not crayons. John Lee's narration is superb and of course he's an old friend after POTE and WWE. I say if you don't like this story, it's your problem, not the author's.
I really got into the characters the weaving in and out of their lives is well done. I am looking forward to finding out what happens to them, Especially Walter & Maude
Really amazing job of narration, with about a dozen different voices and accents. Nice to see book written about WWI instead of WWII.
Good, not a "Pillars" and not a "World", but an epic can't be written every time. I'm anxious to read the sequels to hopefully change my mind. This book felt "rushed" making me wonder if there was a deadline looming.