Excellent, well-paced story with unusual historical insights for a piece of fiction. Wonderful performance, too.
A sequel to Fall of Giants
One needs to pay attention! There are many plot lines and characters!
I rolled right into this after the first, what makes it amazing is that the background of world events is historically accurate, people are so cruel. The book does a great job of relaying our history with a human face. Amazing work of interlacing the Soviets, Germans, U.S,, and British, I now understand how Eastern Europe division came about.
The characters were a little two dimensional. After the "Fall of Giants" I thought it would be another serious compelling work, but I found the characters got in the way of the story. I was distracted by his inclusion of several rather adolescent romantic passages and thought, "was this written by an adult"? I almost put it down, but the historic content kept me reading. Although, I won't bother with the final book.
The historical aspect and the changing point of view from which the story was being told was very interesting.
I enjoyed the reading of the story. I can't put my finger on why he is a good reader except that I didn't notice him. When I am aware of the reader, it is probably because there is something I don't like.
I'd leave all the characters in, but I don't think I would focus so much on their sexual proclivities. It is distracting and a little embarrassing in a work of this nature. I am not embarrassed for myself, but for the author.
I like a lot of Ken Follet books. After "Fall of Giants" I was hoping the trilogy would amount to a masterwork. The second book has made me thing I have better uses of my time.
I loved the continuing story about these characters mixed with lots of accurate history.
The way the story grabbed me til the end.
John Lee is one of my favorite narrators. He brings the story to life!
I had many of both laughter and tears during this story.
Parents, do not listen to this in the car with your kids! There is a lot of graphically described sex. It is tasteful and pertinent to the story but kids do not need to hear it.
Great story, blended well with first in the series. Kept to historical basis well.
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.