Fall of Giants is Ken Follett's magnificent new historical epic. The first novel in The Century Trilogy, it follows the fates of five interrelated families—American, German, Russian, English, and Welsh—as they move through the world-shaking dramas of the First World War, the Russian Revolution, and the struggle for women's suffrage.
Thirteen-year-old Billy Williams enters a man's world in the Welsh mining pits…. Gus Dewar, an American law student rejected in love, finds a surprising new career in Woodrow Wilson's White House…. Two orphaned Russian brothers, Grigori and Lev Peshkov, embark on radically different paths half a world apart when their plan to emigrate to America falls afoul of war, conscription, and revolution…. Billy's sister, Ethel, a housekeeper for the aristocratic Fitzherberts, takes a fateful step above her station, while Lady Maud Fitzherbert herself crosses deep into forbidden territory when she falls in love with Walter von Ulrich, a spy at the German embassy in London….
These characters and many others find their lives inextricably entangled as, in a saga of unfolding drama and intriguing complexity, Fall of Giants moves seamlessly from Washington to St. Petersburg, from the dirt and danger of a coal mine to the glittering chandeliers of a palace, from the corridors of power to the bedrooms of the mighty. As always with Ken Follett, the historical background is brilliantly researched and rendered, the action fast-moving, the characters rich in nuance and emotion. It is destined to be a new classic.
In future volumes of The Century Trilogy, subsequent generations of the same families will travel through the great events of the rest of the 20th century, changing themselves—and the century itself. With passion and the hand of a master, Follett brings us into a world we thought we knew, but now will never seem the same again.
Exclusive interview: Ken Follett and John Lee Talk about Fall of Giants.
©2010 Kevin Follett (P)2010 Penguin Audio
"A big Book, Follett''s hugely ambitious saga is a sweeping success. Ken Follett has hit another one out of the park with the initial installment of the hugely ambitious Century Trilogy. His fans will rejoice at the richness, complexity, historical sweep and simmering lust in a saga spanning the years 1911 to 1923." (Newark Star Ledger)
"A dark novel, motivated by an unsparing view of human nature and a clear-eyed scrutiny of an ideal peace. It is not the least of Follett''s feats that the reader finishes this near 1000-page book intrigued and wanting more." (Chicago Sun-Times)
"[Follett] meticulously reconstructs an era and leads us through the follies and occasional heroics of its protagonists real and imaginary. He is masterly in conveyers so much drama and historical information so vividly...Grippingly told, and readable to the end." (New York Times Book Review)
Yes. The characters and interactions are so complicated that I'm sure one listen did not impress all the intricacies going on between the couples. The reader had to be able to speak with a French, German, American, English, and Welsh accent and was superb at all. The story covers so much ground and grabs the reader right from the beginning. Can't wait for the next book in this trilogy.
I liked the way the characters remain true to their nature throughout the book, even when they are adapting to the major changes going on around them. The older people are cast in the past while the younger ones adapt much more quickly. Historical fiction is such a great way to learn about the past that no one wants to read about in history books.Follett has done a remarkable job of researching the World War I material and then creating characters to fit the positions. All are very believable. Don't know if they really lived but someone lived with the same beliefs. Maud and Walter are able to walk the line even though his father can't see it.Whether 1917 or 2012, the same situations exist.
Billie without a doubt. He is so true to his beliefs and loves his family so much but is able to survive.
Yes but who could sit that long (laughing). I found myself repeating chapter beginnings to be sure I understood where I was. I listened to it day and night until I finished it. Even skipped some of my favorite TV shows so I could listen.
Ken Follett has been one of my favorite authors beginning with 'Eye of the Needle' in 1978 and it is amazing how he has grown with each of his books. He is an amazing writer and continues to evolve.
No, but only because I never re-read or re-listen to books! Enjoyed this one very much though...
Loved the character of Maud! Strong, independant women characters are always interesting to me. Of the male characters, I really liked Billy because of his intelligence and values.
The book was very good and I loved learning about the events leading up to WWI. I had only the most basic knowledge of that time frame before reading this. What I particularly enjoyed was how the different families were woven into the history and story. There are a lot of coincidences that were perhaps a little unbelievable but they do make the story work. Looking forward to the next two books!
This book was very engaging and easy to listen to, I was surprised when the book ended because I didn't think it had been 30 hours yet. Some of the battle descriptions and troop movement descriptions ran too long, but overall I enjoyed this audio book and would definitely recommend it. The difference between Pillars of the Earth and this one is that POE was more about the human storyline, while this book concentrates more on historic events to drive the plot. John Lee narrated in an energetic way with great character voices- I wish I could give him six stars.
Yes. John Lee makes listening to any book a treat, and since this book was 31 hours long, it needed a strong reader. The novel, in itself is quite interesting as well, following the lives of several interconnected characters taking part in different parts of a very tumultuous time in history.
The accents. I had no idea what a Welsh accent sounded like. After I listened to this, I looked up videos of native speakers and saw that his version was spot-on.
Follett is best when he is writing a saga, like Pillars of Earth, etc. This certainly qualifies! Developing the story line across the key nationalities and socio-economic classes leading up to WW1 brings the history to a personal level.
John Lees's narration is excellent. The characters are given consistent voices that enrich the story. Personalities are made real.
I give this four stars, and not five, for one reason. All the liberal-minded characters are good. All the bad and evil characters are right-wing, money-grubbing conservatives. Surely in the thousand plus pages of this book, history would have found a few exceptions!!
I commute daily for work. My brother introduced me to audio books to allow me to get quality entertainment while captive on the highways.
Truly drawn into the lives and times of the day. Great points of view from the different families. Always left wondering, between listens, what was coming next and how the families are connected, or not connected.
Yes, accurate history meets well rounded characters, and the narrator is terrific!
Maybe to kill a mockingbird because each character is so interesting to meet.
My favorite scene was when Ethel starts taking over London beginning at the factory.
When Ethel was turned away from her job for being pregnant and unwed, and negotiated her way out of it
My review is inherently bad not due to the book, but due to Audible customer service. I bought the book but was unable to load it on to my Kindal Fire. After over 3 hours on the phone (I know because my phone has a timer) with tech service. I was still unable to download the book. At this point I was told to send a bug report to a higher level tech dept and that I would be called in no more than 48 hours. Needless to say this did not happen. About 4 days later I called again and asked to be connected to the next level tech dept that had not called. The new service person insisted she had the same expertise as anyone there. So more than another hour later she gave up and told me this next level tech dept would call me back for sure in a few minutes. Again this did not happen. So the next day I called and demanded my money back and to cancel my membership. I was thinking at this point surely they would get me the help I need (ASAP). Not! It was nothing to the guy I was talking to. After explaining why I wanted this to happen it was like (no big deal) nothing to them they had plenty more. What is one less customer.
The sad thing is I really wanted audio books I like to listen while I do other things.
I am posting this here because Audible as far as I can tell has no complaint dept. And I searched their site and on the net for a good wile. Believe me, It does not exist; why have one when it's not a problem, if you drop a customer here and there. I hope this is noticed but it will more likely than not just be removed. Just another small annoyance to brush under the rug.
Just a fly spec in the pepper
I really enjoy sagas and I would consider this story one. I liked getting to know all the different families and other characters. I didn't mind going from one family to another, it kept my attention by wanting to hear more about each family. I enjoyed this book enough to purchase the second in this trilogy and have already begun listening to the story of the next generation.
The narrator was pretty good. I wouldn't say he was great but good enough to not be a distraction to the story. I don't really care for his version of female voices, he sounds a bit like a drag quessn but story was interesting enough to get past that.
Ken Follett did a remarkable job blending the complex politics in Europe leading up to the First World War with an entertaining story told through some well developed characters. While I have studied Military History, I didn't have enough appreciation for the political dynamics (and hubris of European leaders) that led the world reluctantly into war.
John Lee does a solid job of narrating the story.
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