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Fall of Giants: The Century Trilogy, Book 1 | [Ken Follett]

Fall of Giants: The Century Trilogy, Book 1

Ken Follett's World Without End was a global phenomenon, a work of grand historical sweep beloved by millions of readers and acclaimed by critics. Fall of Giants is his 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.
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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

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  •  
    Gary Regan New York 05-29-12
    Gary Regan New York 05-29-12 Member Since 2009

    With Lotsa Love from gaz regn

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    "Follett is addictive"

    Despite the fact that this book is a little slow, and descriptions of battle scenes and the like are, perhaps,unnecessary, this is classic Follett, and I'm happy that I listened to it. The narrator does a really nice job, too.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ursula COLUMBIA, MD, United States 05-29-12
    Ursula COLUMBIA, MD, United States 05-29-12 Member Since 2001
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    "Could not stop listening"

    I was fascinated by the characters in this book. I don't normally like these kind of "epic" books but I love this one. Can't wait for Book 2 to see how the characters develop.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Suzanne D'bourget Portland, ME United States 05-28-12
    Suzanne D'bourget Portland, ME United States 05-28-12 Member Since 2010

    mainemamma

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    "waiting for the next part with baited breath!"

    I became so attached to the characters in this book! They all felt so real and imbedded in the history of the time. I enjoyed it and learned a lot about the early part of the 1900's as well.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kristi Richardson Milwaukie, OR, United States 05-27-12
    Kristi Richardson Milwaukie, OR, United States 05-27-12 Member Since 2011

    An old broad that enjoys books of all types. Would rather read than write reviews though. I know what I like, and won't be bothered by crap.

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    "Lovers of dynastic epics rejoice!"
    What did you love best about Fall of Giants?

    This is a story of five families at the start of the 20th Century thru the end of World War I. I loved the historical detail and wonderful characters that were developed during the novel.

    The characters are so fleshed out and realistic. No one is without flaws and some become full fledged villains before the story is over.

    This is exactly what I love about a good novel.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    So many characters, it's hard to choose just one. I loved Ethel Williams the most. I think she grows and changes the most. She starts off a housekeeper for the Earl and by the end of the novel she is elected to the House of Commons as one of the first woman ever to do so.
    She was feisty and intelligent and very human. A real hero!


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

    John Lee is one of the top narrators on Audible. He is in top form on this performance. I love him!


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

    Again, a tough question. I will say Billy twice, better known as William Williams, who is the youngest character at the start of the book. His first day in the mines until his court martial and finally his election to the Commons are just some of the highlights.

    I am looking forward to seeing what happens to Billy in the next book of the series.


    Any additional comments?

    Anyone who enjoys dynastic novels will like this book. It is similar to Winds of War and War and Remembrance by Herman Wouk.
    The next book is due out this fall and I am looking forward to reading it. This is the first book in a planned trilogy of the 20th Century.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dan WINDSOR, CALIFORNIA, United States 05-23-12
    Dan WINDSOR, CALIFORNIA, United States 05-23-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Really enjoyed everything about this."
    What did you love best about Fall of Giants?

    Well written historical fiction is such a great way way for me to get a feel for historical events. Ken Follet is a great writer. John Lee is a very good reader. Engaging, not overly dramatic, great accents, doesn't force voices. Really enjoyable.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Billy Williams. Good man.


    Any additional comments?

    John Lee is a great reader.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Melanie Leominster, MA, United States 05-22-12
    Melanie Leominster, MA, United States 05-22-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Wonderful!"
    What did you love best about Fall of Giants?

    The interesting way the characters were connected fascinated me. Being able to view WWI from all different national views made it much easier to understand the vast scope of the war, the reasons behind it, and how each battle would have been like if you were there.


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

    I fell in love with Billy, because of his spirit and determination to do the right thing. Lee's Welsh accent was spot on and wonderful to listen to.


    Any additional comments?

    I knew nothing about the Russian Revolution going into this book and found the way the story was told through the eyes of someone who was living it made it easier to remember exactly what happened and why. I think anyone who enjoys historical fiction will love this and I cannot wait for the next book!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pat 05-21-12
    Pat 05-21-12
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    "Interesting story with a great narration"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    I would recommend this book with a warning that there is a lot of PC involved in the story. The characters were interesting and the way the author intertwined their lives was clever if not always very believable but that didn't diminish my enjoyment of the story and I was never bored or impatient with it. I also learned a lot about the history of WWI.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    If I changed the story at all it would be to round out the characters a little more and skip the PC.


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

    John Lee was amazing as the narrator. He would change accents and go from male to female voices without skipping a beat. Sometimes I had to laugh because some of the accents were a little off but I always knew just who was speaking so I didn't mind. My favorite was his dialogue of Daisy, the three year old, which just cracked me up it was so cute. He is good at sounding like a breathless woman in the love scenes too.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    I would go to a movie of this story.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lewis San Antonio, TX, United States 05-17-12
    Lewis San Antonio, TX, United States 05-17-12 Member Since 2007
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    "Follett has become a great writer"

    Boy, once Follett got off his Nazi Germany kick and started doing books like the Pillars of the Earth series and now this one, he's become one of the top writers around in my opinion

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Bill Bloomington, Indiana, United States 05-15-12
    Bill Bloomington, Indiana, United States 05-15-12
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    "historical saga"
    What did you love best about Fall of Giants?

    John Lee's reading is outstanding, and the story unfolds at a rapid pace. The story is excellent at telling the big picture through the fictional characters that could be your grandparents.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Catherine 05-14-12
    Catherine 05-14-12 Member Since 2010
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    "Another fascinating read from Follett"

    I liked Follett's Pillars of the Earth and I am hopelessly addicted to Downton Abbey. So imagine how happy I was to find the first book of his Century Trilogy series, Fall of Giants. The book is centered around World War I and it was a great listen, I loved it. The characters are varied, from several different countries and walks of life. The book goes on and on and on...but in a really good way, the way these family sagas do, if you know what I mean. Follett obviously knows his military history yet can still weave a very good story that I think will engage listeners of all genres.
    It's one of those books you can bury yourself into, one of those books you can't wait to listen to. My only criticism about the audiobook is that John Lee makes all the Russian characters sound like Transylvanian vampires. That gets distracting and a bit grating considering that nearly a third of all the characters are Russian. Putting that aside it is still an addicting book. It's not great literature, but it's a darned good listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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