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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

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    JoAnne WASHINGTON, DC, United States 09-18-12
    JoAnne WASHINGTON, DC, United States 09-18-12 Member Since 2011
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    "I just can't say enough about this book"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Fall of Giants to be better than the print version?

    I didn't read the print version. I commute a long distance and cannot read during my commute (it gives me a headache) so audio is perfect for me!


    What about John Lee’s performance did you like?

    He's just perfect. I can't imagine anyone else reading Follett's books.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eric 09-17-12
    Eric 09-17-12
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    "Outstanding!"

    Outstanding book. I have listened to every one of Ken Follett's books on audio and this one ranks at the top. It kept my attention from the very beginning. The intertwining of the families was beautiful and easy to keep track of, even on audio. Just listened to it again in anticipation of Book 2 this week and enjoyed it even more the second time. Keep writing, Ken! Narration by John Lee was excellent as well. He and Davina Porter are the best narrators I have heard, by far.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    christopher San Jose, CA, United States 09-16-12
    christopher San Jose, CA, United States 09-16-12

    i drive a truck on the night shift. i love hearing interesting stories, i need some action to keep me awake :)

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    "great narrator, excellent story."
    Where does Fall of Giants rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    this was the best so far.


    What did you like best about this story?

    the narrators accents.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    i liked the welsh minors and their stories in particular.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    absolutely. i listened every chance i got.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ed MERIDIAN, IDAHO, United States 09-12-12
    Ed MERIDIAN, IDAHO, United States 09-12-12 Member Since 2011
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    10
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    "Narration"
    What did you find wrong about the narrator's performance?

    I thought it was hard to listen to. Certainly at the beginning after listening to 11/22/63 and Outlander the narration seemed to drone on and at some points had a bit of a sing song quality. However the excelent story made up for it.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bill ceres, CA, United States 09-12-12
    Bill ceres, CA, United States 09-12-12 Member Since 2011

    Audible make my long commute so enjoyable! I love historical fiction, Nora Roberts, and any science related audibles (not enough of those).

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    "One of my very favorites!!"
    What made the experience of listening to Fall of Giants the most enjoyable?

    The history was good... but the complete characters and descriptions and events wonderful!


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The personal scenes are all so very good


    Any additional comments?

    I am so looking forward to more Ken Follett books!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathleen Oakland, CA, USA 09-08-12
    Kathleen Oakland, CA, USA 09-08-12 Member Since 2010
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    "Giant sweep of story, misleading title."
    If you could sum up Fall of Giants in three words, what would they be?

    1913 to 1923.


    What did you like best about this story?

    First, I loved the diversity of characters, from aristocrats to miners and peasants, from politicians to thieves. There were many well-developed "main characters", from England, Wales, Germany, Russia, and the United States.I also loved the characters' development. They all started out as young adults. They all moved around the world and changed during and because of the war (WWI). It was inspiring to follow those changes, especially for the young women. Yet Ken Follett made sure that each character never lost his or her essential characteristics. In other words, the characters' changes were entirely believable.I also thought the author did a good job folding big historical events into the characters' lives. There's nothing more boring to me than the back and forth, back and forth of a battle scene from the POV of an omnicient historian years later. But that battle, or that revolution, or the effect of that legislation, is fascinating when told from the POV of a fictional character I already know and love. Ken Follett did us a favor choosing the decade 1913-1923 for this story. These characters lived not only through World War One, but through the Russian revolution of 1917 (and some of its aftermath), through the rise of the United States in global power and importance, through the decline of the old guard in Germany and the beginnings of the Nazi movement, through the success of women's suffrage and the rise of the working class in England, to the passage of the Volstead Act in the U.S.


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

    I have listened to several of John Lee's other performances, but this book was the most challenging for him. He had to deliver upper- and working-class accents from Wales, London, Germany, Russia, and the U.S. The regional and class differences in British speech are particulary important to the story. He used these very distinctive accents effectively even when (in the case of the Germans and Russians) they were speaking in their own languages. Lee's performance is a masterpiece. I'm so glad I listened instead of read this book.


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

    Yes, the last scene, but I won't disclose it!


    Any additional comments?

    Historical novels are about my favorite genre, and this is a great one. I had fun and learned alot. What could be better?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shoeaddict Philadelphia, PA, United States 09-07-12
    Shoeaddict Philadelphia, PA, United States 09-07-12 Member Since 2015
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    "So good I had to read it twice."
    Would you listen to Fall of Giants again? Why?

    I fell in love the first time I read it, and obsessed on the second round. The new novel Winter of the World is about to be release, and I thought I should brush up on the characters. I swear it's like reading it for the first time, I can put it down. The characters draw you in from beginning to end, I just want the book to go on forever. The story take you on an endless journey, from many different angles. Their description of the war makes it hard to just side with America, because you empathize with the other countries. The love stories, the families, and the brotherhood of the service men, really make you think about your own relationships. When I pick this book, I didn't know anything about Ken Follet, nor was I interested in any war story. Little did I know I found a gem, that went way past my expectations.


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

    Grigori giving his brother Lev Peshkov his ticket. I would tell you more, but the scene touching and sad at the same time, I don't take that away from the reader.


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

    Yes! It is because of John Lee, that I read Ken Follet's Pillars of the Earth, and World w/o End. Sometimes I forget that it's only one narrator, I think that's why I love his style so much. John puts faces on the character, and walks me through the scene.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I had many reactions to this book, especially the loyal, yet complex relationship between the Russian brothers.


    Any additional comments?

    If you've never read Ken Follet, please, please read this one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Wonder Lake, IL United States 09-04-12
    Amazon Customer Wonder Lake, IL United States 09-04-12 Member Since 2013

    Bluejay

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    "Way too long"
    Would you try another book from Ken Follett and/or John Lee?

    Not likely


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    WW1 History was the most interesting - Follett's rather liberal take on everything turned me off.


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

    No.


    Any additional comments?

    Interminable...actually living through the war would've seemed to take less time...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chase GLADSTONE, ILLINOIS, United States 09-03-12
    Chase GLADSTONE, ILLINOIS, United States 09-03-12 Member Since 2012
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    2
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    "Follett does it again!"
    What did you love best about Fall of Giants?

    I loved the depth of the story, and the performance was spectacular.


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

    Obviously, this book is very much like Follett's Pillars of the Earth and World Without End.


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

    John's ability to do the myriad accents adds much to the story, and he adds a great depth of emotion to the dialogue.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda P 09-03-12
    Linda P 09-03-12
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    66
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    "GRIPPING HISTORICAL FICTION"
    Would you listen to Fall of Giants again? Why?

    Fall of the Giants was an incredible listen. It is a very long story, which is necessary in order to portray the depth of every character. I probably won't relisten, but I am going to listen to the next two books.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The actor who performs the story gave an excellent performance. The story has so many lives entwined. Never a boring moment in so many hours of a listen. There were several points where I googled to see the accuracy of the history and dates mentioned. All were true events happening at the time.


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

    My favorite character was Billy Williams, because he always stayed true to what he believed. He spoke up to his father during their services when his father so harshly judged his sister. Also, as a soldier, he stood up to Fitz, his superior officer, at a town meeting an blamed officer's poor judgement as to why they have lost so many lives.

    He was very brave. His faith was strong when he saw Jesus in the mine at 16 years old when he was terrified and tricked by his foreman and had no light. He was strong when he left his home to go find his sister to make sure she was well. He was so loving the way he helped her deliver her baby and how he cared for his nephew. He is a wonderful character.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I cried many times from the strong committment and compassion people had for each other. The characters have such great depth.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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