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)
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!
He's just perfect. I can't imagine anyone else reading Follett's books.
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.
i drive a truck on the night shift. i love hearing interesting stories, i need some action to keep me awake :)
this was the best so far.
the narrators accents.
i liked the welsh minors and their stories in particular.
absolutely. i listened every chance i got.
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.
Audible make my long commute so enjoyable! I love historical fiction, Nora Roberts, and any science related audibles (not enough of those).
The history was good... but the complete characters and descriptions and events wonderful!
The personal scenes are all so very good
I am so looking forward to more Ken Follett books!!
1913 to 1923.
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.
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.
Yes, the last scene, but I won't disclose it!
Historical novels are about my favorite genre, and this is a great one. I had fun and learned alot. What could be better?
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.
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.
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.
I had many reactions to this book, especially the loyal, yet complex relationship between the Russian brothers.
If you've never read Ken Follet, please, please read this one.
WW1 History was the most interesting - Follett's rather liberal take on everything turned me off.
Interminable...actually living through the war would've seemed to take less time...
I loved the depth of the story, and the performance was spectacular.
Obviously, this book is very much like Follett's Pillars of the Earth and World Without End.
John's ability to do the myriad accents adds much to the story, and he adds a great depth of emotion to the dialogue.
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.
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.
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.
I cried many times from the strong committment and compassion people had for each other. The characters have such great depth.
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