This is Follett at his Best! Again!. I have about 3 hours to finish listening to this great history lesson. I have learned a lot about history from great authors like Fottett. I couldn't remember how WWI came about. But looking at it through the eyes of characters of that time clarifies it for me. What I find most interesting is Russia, Lenin and how the revolution happened. And the characters are great, 'Good' ones and 'Bad' ones. I hate for it to come to an end. I can't wait for Part 2 to come out. I recommend this to everyone, whether they like to read or listen. I makes my commute something to look forward to instead of dread.
Everybody who's read a lot of Ken Follett understand a couple key points: 1) he's hot and cold - writing some incredible novels and some terrible dogs, and 2) he likes to put a random sex scene in to keep things spicy.
I really wanted to like this book and by listening to it, I was able to finish it. If I had been reading it, I would have quit long before I got half way in. The individuals' stories don't connect much and are not that interesting. The history lesson is good. Hearing about how the Red Army comes to power in Russia is interesting. Hearing the phrase, "and when he entered her" several times in a 1,000 page historical fiction was a little creepy.
Articulate, sonorous and dull dull dull. Did I say dull? No sparkle, charm or life. Has the taste of a sandwich left in the fridge for 2 days, meaty and substantial but lifeless and dry. It is as if an outline of the period's news events was created and characters stuffed in; or Follet took an 8th grade history book and introduced minor plot lines into it with a sprinkling of harlequin sex. I'm a history lover, WWI/II buff and often bury myself in turn of the century period piece novels, but the minutia here is relentless and mind-numbing. If you're looking for a meaty read with passion and life pick up any Michner...or if you're up to it War & Peace; or go Pulitzer Prize with Herman Wouk and The Winds of War; or better yet skip all the detail and go modern with passion, love and war by wrapping your ears around Ian McEwan's Atonement. Like Russia? Save yourself 20 hours of pain and banging your head against the wall from listening to Fall of Giants; settle in, and watch the sumptuous feast of Warren Beatty in the film "Reds". John Lee is fine as narrator as always, but if this is truly the first of 3 novels I am stopping here.
This is a multi character sweeping story that spans World War I from Russia to the United States. Not only is it attention holding but very informative about that period of time. I recomment it highly.
Ken Follett is a great story teller. It is a shame that he doesn’t have enough confidence in his own writing to avoid sections of graphic pornography. It’s also a shame that this book may be remembered for who is not allowed to read it or who is offended by it vice the story it tells.
I was very excited to listen to this book having quite enjoyed Ken Follet's other books. Unfortunately, this book read like a cheap harlequin novel with just enough history intermixed to make it bearable. The characters were totally uninspiring and I found myself not caring at all what happened to them. I could not finish this book.
According fictional characters iconic status for the purpose of historic relevancy is a risky business. Follett takes his chances here and falls flat. The players in this story are shabbily drawn. They do little to engage listener interest or empathy. In his attempt to touch all the bases attending Western society up to and through WW I, his reliance upon coincidence is self-consciously overwrought. The more historically-minded will appreciate a tolerable deference to the accuracy of events as they unfolded - particularly in Russia - but in his effort to represent a comprehensive chronology, he sacrifices plot and character. Good concept; bad execution.
My reviews are always pending.
I really had a hard time at finishing this book because the story became a never ending soap. The war parts was good, but there is way too much romance between the characters that is a total waste of pages. After a while, I found myself being bored out of my mine. I really hope that the second books takes a different path because I felt like I wasted 30+ hours of watching As The World Turn...
What an interesting listen. The characters were well placed in the history. A well researched work of Historical fiction. John Lee did a great job of narrating. I look forward to the next installment in this series.
An enjoyable historical novel with interesting characters but... Follett uses excessive descriptions of sexual encounters that demean his work. Not sure I'll follow the sequels.