To be fair, Ken Follett had set a high bar with his previous works, most notably Eye of the Needle. I remember reading that masterpiece for the first time and being astonished by his ability to weave together separate story lines. He characters were not protagonists and antagonists, but rather disparate characters with conflicting agendas. The characters who might otherwise have been portrayed as villains were written with the compassion of an author who relishes the diversity of human thought.
While the weaving of separate story lines is still present in Winter of the World, it is much more clumsy and forced than in his previous works. And the author's love of his characters is sadly missing. Instead we are left with caricatures in which the poor are the heroes and the wealthy are the villains. What an incredible irony, since this framing of one group as evildoers is the exact tactic that Hitler used to justify the massive killings of Jewish people.
I'm afraid that the story wasn't helped much by the uneven performance of John Lee. Mr. Lee has a difficult time transitioning between characters, making it difficult at times to know for sure which character was speaking.
Finishing the book left me deeply sad, for it felt as if I had witnessed the death of a masterful storyteller.
He knows how to write a historical novel that is full of action yet also enought pathos. The characters are real rather than fantasy. All stories do not have happy endings. They are flawed and human. Where he is writing historical dramas such as this series or historical spy thrillers he is one of the best modern authors. I am looking forward to the next book in this series.
I would only recommend to someone who already likes Ken Follett. This is very entertaining, but not his most creative.
As a listen, it is very good. Following characters through the lead up too and through the second world war with Ken Follett legendary researching is a very wonderful landscape to experience. Just don't expect any big surprises. Ken seems to be following the formula he used in book 1 of this series pretty closely.
There has been a problem with the recording of this book for a long time but Audible doesn't seem to care. I called them and the person on the other end was completely unresponsive as it seems they've been with many other callers. Since the book recording came out people have contacted Audible to let them know of the problem of missing chapters and other parts of the book but to no avail. This has been going on for years! It's still a problem but Audible just doesn't care about it's customers anymore. I guess it's my fault for not reading every review of the book and seeing that this was a problem. Some people I'm sure don't even realize there's a problem. It's one of those books with lots of switching back and forth amongst many different people and time periods. I have been an Audible member for many many years and find this very disappointing!
The is the second in the series.
all of it.
Worth reading - excellent book, story, performance.
This storyline takes a while to get going, I think I was 1/4 done with the book before it really grabbed my attention. There are parts of the book that were some intriguing that I wish the author never strayed to one of the other characters.
My favorite was when Lev Peshkov met the English character's parents when Daisy was marrying Boyd. The sharp tongue of Lev really made that part of the book great. I think I actually clapped!
Another part of the book I loved was Greg and Jackie Jakes, this impossible relationship was very interesting to me.
I wish the war in the pacific would have gotten more attention than it did. It would have been nice to see a Japanese perspective in the book, perhaps a new family split between Japan and America.
I look forward to the next book in the series coming out on Audible.
Great historical fiction
So many! Daisy because she became a better person throughout the story.
Voices of the characters!! I would not have enjoyed it as much if I had read it rather than listed to it being read.
Maud. She sacrificed so much for love and for her family.
John Lee is a wonderful narrator and brings the story to life.
I happen to love WWII stories so I was preconditioned to enjoy the subject matter. I was not disappointed and wished it had gone on for another three hundred pages! Characters were well defined and all of the different stories were woven together as Ken Follet does so well. Historically quite accurate and informative which is a big plus for me.
didn't read the print version
There were too many to ignore so it is hard to pick one that stands out. I do wish that Lady Maude played a bigger role during the German occupation.
it is fun to hear his interpretation of the various characters especially the American service men.
After reading Fall of Giants, I was eager to read this 2nd part of the trilogy. And having it read by John Lee made it all the more attractive.
But now, after completing the book I am mystified and puzzled how Follett managed to forget (or else ignored) one of the most overwhelming human tragedies of that (or any other) century - the holocaust! While he poignantly described the suffering of Germans (at the hands of Red Army rapists, or gestapo Nazis for example), he somehow decided not to even mention the systematic dehumanization, exile, and extermination of millions in death camps. Maybe this topic is unpopular, or maybe he felt that others have written about it. But if this book is to be a believable piece of historical fiction, this omission just appears most glaring.