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 and no. The story was good and cleverly told weaving in the historical background but it got too long in some parts.
Yes, I could tell who the character was by the voice used. Must say I had a difficult time getting used to the Russian character's voice sometimes because he sounded similar to Bela Lugosi's Dracula movie character. Once over that first impression though I was very impressed with Mr. Lee's ability to use so many different voices as there is a lot of characters in this novel.
It inspired to learn more history. I realize how little I know about the early 1900's and the WWI era.
I enjoy reading many books genres. But I love listening to fantasy books.
I really enjoyed Follett's Pillars of the Earth and World Without End. This series is similar in many ways - themes of love between people who should not be together based on social conventions, tensions between the rich and the poor, and the plight of workers. However, I like this series even better. I have listened to the first two books and am looking forward to the third. I love learning about the historical times (WWI and WWII) in which the books are set. And the seamless way Follett moves between the characters and countries is wonderful. John Lee is a great narrator too. Highly recommend!
Drive Learn Escape
Realizing that you were seeing how each of us is tied to each other regardless of nationality, time period or personal travails...
Great transition of voices.. I know each character by his voice now.
When Eth allowed Bernie to run, even though we all knew he would lose and she was the best candidate.
Credible retelling of major historical events with fictional characters. History is after all the combination of everyone's story.
When Follet relates the events of Christmas day when the common soldiers stopped fighting.
No. He brought the story to life with the varying accents of the characters.
With historical fiction I am always left wondering where the history ends and the fiction begins! Or vice versa.
Several reviewers indicated that this book was slow or boring but I did not find it so. I was captivated by the characters and various story lines. The book and the narration was excellent. I can't wait to start book 2.
I just wanted to add my review to the multitude of others. I read this book in the Century Trilogy for a book club and was hooked. When Winter of the World was released, I also snapped it up.
I'm not usually a fan of historical fiction and particularly not a fan of the writing style that features multiple unrelated characters that end up being tied together. The fact that I give both the story and the performance 5 stars should tell you exactly how good this book is. I eagerly await the release of the final book and will buy it in audiobook form.
Don't know. Read Pillars of the Earth. I would say reading is typically better than audio. When the narration is as good as this, it is very close.
Ethel's brother is a hero of hero's
the book gave me a new sense of political thoughts relative to socialism, haves and have nots, freedom and progressive treatments.
the fast and involving action
The battle of the Marne.
The accents bring the book to life.
Ethel Williams is one of the most memorable and interesting caracters.
Jast starting the second book, and am looking forward to the story. The interplay of historical events entwined with the ficticious lives of the characters makes this story belivable.
This novel weaves together the stories of 5 families from Britain, Germany, Russia and the United States during the lead up to WWI until just before WWII. Fall of Giants beautifully highlights class and cultural differences during this time in history. Follet develops his characters in such an easy and enjoyable fashion that the long book is over too quickly. Fortunately, the sequel is just as enjoyable. John Lee does a perfect job as narrator.
A very compelling work.
Impersonal history made compelling through true to life circumstances and characters!
The opening chapter did it for me, I was suched into a new world!
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