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Fall of Giants Audiobook
Fall of Giants
Written by: 
Ken Follett
Narrated by: 
John Lee
 >   > 
Fall of Giants Audiobook

Fall of Giants: The Century Trilogy, Book 1

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Publisher's Summary

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

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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Performance
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  •  
    Laura Smith Washington 02-23-13
    Laura Smith Washington 02-23-13 Member Since 2015

    busycrazymama

    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    "Solid story with interesting weave of characters"

    First: I started the novel *expecting* to like it because I'm already a Follett fan. Second: I enjoy historical nonfiction very much, so this is close to my wheelhouse... if you aren't fascinated by history, you may not enjoy this.

    The basic story here is the leading up to, and the time during World War I. The characters represent German, British, Russian, and American cultures. The plot touches on love and loss, sexual choices, womens' liberation, freedom of speech, corruption and loyalty. There are a few cliches (the demanding father) and a few turns that I didn't see coming.

    What I particularly *loved* about this novel was how the characters were all different - age, class, and culture. I loved feeling the story from multiple perspectives and it actually helped shed some light on things I hadn't considered before.

    This was long and short at the same time. It was a long novel but it ended somewhat abruptly, and a little too tidy for my personal taste. I understand that is a set up for the next in the trilogy, but it was distracting in a way, and I wasn't totally satisfied upon the book's conclusion.

    I really enjoyed this story, and I recommend it to either Follett fans, historical nonfiction or fiction fans. I can't give it 5 stars because I didn't rush out to get the second book as soon as I was done (though it was available at the time of my reading). All in all: a great, solid read... but not a new favorite.

    A note about the performance: I almost stopped listening about three hours in, because I don't really care for the narrator. I'm glad I stuck it out, but I would have enjoyed this much more with a clearer speaker.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    alexandre 02-23-13
    alexandre 02-23-13 Member Since 2012
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    "An instant classic"
    What made the experience of listening to Fall of Giants the most enjoyable?

    The narrator was very regular and I love the details he put in the origin of the characters.
    The fact that German, Russian, and French characters were all speaking English with the respective accent help me a lot to picture them in my mind.


    Which character – as performed by John Lee – was your favorite?

    My favourite character was Ethel, John lee brought her to life.


    Who was the most memorable character of Fall of Giants and why?

    Billy was an inspiration, it was a pleasure to follow him thru such a big part of his life.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JORGENSEN 02-20-13
    JORGENSEN 02-20-13 Member Since 2011

    I love listening to a good book read by a great narrator while driving or doing mundane tasks like housekeeping. Characters come alive!

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    "Wonderful!"

    This book is wonderfully written and expertly narrated. The story takes place about 100 years ago, and the very real characters were from all over the western civilized world. World War I causes their lives to intermingle often in the sweetest of ways. I was disappointed when it ended, but am now into Book 2 of the trilogy and it's just as good.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    mercedes SOUTH HAVEN, MICHIGAN, United States 02-20-13
    mercedes SOUTH HAVEN, MICHIGAN, United States 02-20-13
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    2
    1
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    Story
    "The fall of giants"
    Any additional comments?

    I found the mode in which the book as downloaded not appealing. This is because the book was broken in 3 parts ( and I do understand why) however the number of chapters as download do not correspond to the book chapters. This process should be reviewed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. Berlin 02-19-13
    J. Berlin 02-19-13
    ratings
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    1
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    "Great story so far with likeable real characters"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, and I have. I really enjoy the characters and they come to life in the voices that John Lee gives them. It is nice to get down to the real history behind the first world war and learn more from the characters rather than a history book's couple pages or paragraphs.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Ethel - because she is so real and feisty, an early mover and shaker, passionate. I love her Welsh accent that John Lee provides.


    What does John Lee bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The characters jump off the page with their voices and personalities, rather than just being a flat page you turn.


    If you could take any character from Fall of Giants out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Ethel for the above reasons or brother Billy, again, just to hear them speak.


    Any additional comments?

    Love the book and can hardly wait to read the second one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ellen Cohen 02-19-13
    Ellen Cohen 02-19-13 Member Since 2016
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    "Good, but too much fighting"
    If you could sum up Fall of Giants in three words, what would they be?

    I learned a lot about WWI. My main criticism is the book went back and forth between war and sex in too simplistic a way.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Helen 02-13-13
    Helen 02-13-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Interesting but sometimes gets confusing"
    Where does Fall of Giants rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Good


    Which character – as performed by John Lee – was your favorite?

    I think he did a good job with most.


    Any additional comments?

    I really like the idea that Ken Follet has taken on the amazing task of trying to to capture the historical 20th century in a readable narrative through characters that are supposed to be reflective of the times and attitudes.
    Even though there are many good parts of the book, there were a couple things that really
    kept it from being wonderful.
    Unfortunately, Mr. Follet ( or his editors) seemed to include formulaic "stuff" that detracted from what could be an excellent series.
    The book seemed to jump from chapter to chapter.
    First, the history chapter-
    I often had to re-listen to these chapters because of the historical significance and interest ( it almost felt like he buzzed through those those parts even though it is obvious he has researched in depth and has good background info about political, Economic, and sociology, etc . of the times.
    Second, we had chapters that developed characters from different backgrounds and plots that showed how their lives intertwined and daily life from their perspective.. The characters are very interesting. They give a very good "feel" for the times.
    Then, we have chapters or parts if chapters that, I guess, are for the bored or to satisfy our desire to know how they ever had sex with all the mores of the time and all the clothes they wore. So there were many well described sexual encounters that made sure we all knew that even in the early 1900's young ladies, even the upper crust were quite good at "blow jobs" . In fact it appears that most women in that period were "liberated and forward" enough to "want sex" and that men were "able" to find all the "right" parts on the ladies and to ensure procreation of the species. I guess, if somehow we got bored by the history or the characters....we would just get "in bed" With them and see how they "did it" ...and we managed to jump into a lot of beds with a lot of "frisky" women. No dull "shrinking violets".

    So we had a chapter on really good history of times that seemed to be rushed and
    Loaded with info, a chapter or two devoted to the development of the characters and their stories which helped explained everyday life. Then an often graphic chapter devoted to their sexual lives. To me, that just caused it to become disjointed and a bit hard to follow despite a lot of very good parts.

    I guess I was spoiled by Herman Wouk's "Winds of War" and "War and Remebrance"
    And wish Ken Follet and his publishers had taken more time to develop and intertwine
    The information...I am sure some people reading would find it dull without the graphic
    Sexual encounters but, at a certain point, I began to find them a bit ridiculous and redundant...all you had to do was fill in different characters names and you had a new chapter.

    Since This book and series has so much good and all I can see is the potential for real excellence, I am a bit disappointed. I think it has been spoiled by the "need to publish" and the desire to pander To "what sells"... But silly me!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Edyanne Sioux Falls, SD, United States 02-11-13
    Edyanne Sioux Falls, SD, United States 02-11-13 Member Since 2010

    Am a huge LOTR & STAR WARS fan that love to listen to very good books that are literary in nature. I especially enjoy medical thrillers.

    ratings
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    9
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    "ineresting"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Thought it's a good look at what was going on around World War I period in Europe & a small part of the U.S.A. Well paced, too. I kept wanting to listen to more!!


    What other book might you compare Fall of Giants to and why?

    Can't think of any comparable to FALL OF GIANTS...


    Have you listened to any of John Lee’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Yes I'd heard him read PILLARS OF THE EARTH also by Ken Follett. John does his characters really well.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Hard to say....I felt for all the characters in the story....


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bob SANDY, UT, United States 02-09-13
    Bob SANDY, UT, United States 02-09-13 Member Since 2005
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    10
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    "I really can't stand the filth"
    What would have made Fall of Giants better?

    If you want to hear a book that has sex every five mintues then this book is for you. But if you want to learn the history of WW I then try another book. The history is obscurred by all the sex, and it gets very tiresome.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    diegooppo West Palm Beach, FL 02-04-13
    diegooppo West Palm Beach, FL 02-04-13 Member Since 2015

    Italian translated in America in 2001, work in Hospitality industry and I am an avid listener.

    ratings
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    13
    6
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    Story
    "Great story, great narrator"
    What did you love best about Fall of Giants?

    The story itself and the rithm


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Fall of Giants?

    Billy with Jesus first day in the mine


    What about John Lee’s performance did you like?

    Clarity, voice and the Russian accent although it reminded me of Gru from Despicable me


    If you could take any character from Fall of Giants out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Fitz, to see if I could change his attitude towards the "rest of the world" and show him you can be rich without thinking you are superior and that you can be superior without being rich.


    Any additional comments?

    Great audible, almost perfect with the exception of some odd pauses at weird times that made me think the volume when off for some reason to then just resume.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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