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)
Follett is best when he is writing a saga, like Pillars of Earth, etc. This certainly qualifies! Developing the story line across the key nationalities and socio-economic classes leading up to WW1 brings the history to a personal level.
John Lees's narration is excellent. The characters are given consistent voices that enrich the story. Personalities are made real.
I give this four stars, and not five, for one reason. All the liberal-minded characters are good. All the bad and evil characters are right-wing, money-grubbing conservatives. Surely in the thousand plus pages of this book, history would have found a few exceptions!!
I commute daily for work. My brother introduced me to audio books to allow me to get quality entertainment while captive on the highways.
Truly drawn into the lives and times of the day. Great points of view from the different families. Always left wondering, between listens, what was coming next and how the families are connected, or not connected.
Yes, accurate history meets well rounded characters, and the narrator is terrific!
Maybe to kill a mockingbird because each character is so interesting to meet.
My favorite scene was when Ethel starts taking over London beginning at the factory.
When Ethel was turned away from her job for being pregnant and unwed, and negotiated her way out of it
My review is inherently bad not due to the book, but due to Audible customer service. I bought the book but was unable to load it on to my Kindal Fire. After over 3 hours on the phone (I know because my phone has a timer) with tech service. I was still unable to download the book. At this point I was told to send a bug report to a higher level tech dept and that I would be called in no more than 48 hours. Needless to say this did not happen. About 4 days later I called again and asked to be connected to the next level tech dept that had not called. The new service person insisted she had the same expertise as anyone there. So more than another hour later she gave up and told me this next level tech dept would call me back for sure in a few minutes. Again this did not happen. So the next day I called and demanded my money back and to cancel my membership. I was thinking at this point surely they would get me the help I need (ASAP). Not! It was nothing to the guy I was talking to. After explaining why I wanted this to happen it was like (no big deal) nothing to them they had plenty more. What is one less customer.
The sad thing is I really wanted audio books I like to listen while I do other things.
I am posting this here because Audible as far as I can tell has no complaint dept. And I searched their site and on the net for a good wile. Believe me, It does not exist; why have one when it's not a problem, if you drop a customer here and there. I hope this is noticed but it will more likely than not just be removed. Just another small annoyance to brush under the rug.
Just a fly spec in the pepper
I really enjoy sagas and I would consider this story one. I liked getting to know all the different families and other characters. I didn't mind going from one family to another, it kept my attention by wanting to hear more about each family. I enjoyed this book enough to purchase the second in this trilogy and have already begun listening to the story of the next generation.
The narrator was pretty good. I wouldn't say he was great but good enough to not be a distraction to the story. I don't really care for his version of female voices, he sounds a bit like a drag quessn but story was interesting enough to get past that.
Ken Follett did a remarkable job blending the complex politics in Europe leading up to the First World War with an entertaining story told through some well developed characters. While I have studied Military History, I didn't have enough appreciation for the political dynamics (and hubris of European leaders) that led the world reluctantly into war.
John Lee does a solid job of narrating the story.
No,it's not my practice.
Captures accents and dialects well.
I'm going to read all three books.
Yes. The story is an entwined history lesson.
His ability to capture the different accents of the different families.
I believe I would listen to it twice to take in more of the history.
For background, my favorite authors are George R. R. Martin, Robin Hobb, Jacqueline Carey, Ken Follett, Bernard Cornwell, Kevin Hearne, Jim Butcher and Margaret George. My favorite illustrators are Johanna Basford, Millie Marotta, Richard Merritt, and Claire Scully (just to name a few).
Following the thread of so many different people's stories.
Maud! I loved following her story so much because she was just a spunky character and I enjoy that. But to be honest? There wasn't a character that I didn't enjoy hearing about.
He was easy to listen to and he didn't pull me out of the story with weird vocal things.
This is kind of a silly question and why would the answer make anyone want to listen to it?
If you enjoyed Ken Follett's other works, you will enjoy this! If you like historical fiction? You will love this. If you are just wanting to try something outside of your usual range (if you aren't a historical fiction fan) give this a try and it just might surprise you!
Grandma bibliophile! Audible books make reading with an active life possible.
I absolutely loved this book. I just listened to it a second time, and it reminded me of why I'm such a fan of Ken Follett. He makes history engaging and not at all boring. I totally get sucked in when I get started. John Lee has a wonderful voice and was a great choice for narrator. Mr Follett's stories are just meant for John Lee's narration. I loved the two previous titanic historical novels Mr Follett wrote and am so grateful for his research and dedication, plus his ability to write a story that keeps me snared.
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