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 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.
~Rhonda, aka the Slowpoke Colorista ;)
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.
Avid Audible listener, I have a long commute to work and these books help to quickly pass the time.
I was hoping for an interesting weave of history of the time and a narrative, the political history description was well done in my opinion, but what was annoyingly distracting about the story were the adolescent sex scenes in the book. Really?The description of the sexual encounter at the opera was simply tacky and the wedding night romp in which the marriage could no be consummated because of size issues was laughable. It was at that point I put the book down.I'll admit I am not normally drawn to books with strong sexual content, but I have no problem with them either. I was drawn to this book because I believed the setting of the book,pre-World War I era, were intriguing times, and I wanted to immerse myself in a book of that subject, and the narrative to boot would make the book even more compelling. But the sex in this book read like something you would read on a public bathroom stall wall. I read Eye of the Needle years ago and loved it, but the sex scenes in this book were really pointless and, frankly, childish. Beware this book.
make the sex scenes not so ridiculous and adolescent
Can I get my money back?-Just kidding.
Do you remember how World War I started? Something about a Grand Duke assassinated in Sarajevo and the Triple Alliance and Triple Entente, but how did shooting an Austrian grand duke lead to Prussia going to war with England and France, for Pete's sake? And why the US? Something about a Zimmerman note, whatever that was. Ken Follett makes this all live. Even though I knew that (spoiler alert) WWI was going to happen and that the US was going to join, and that it was going to be ghastly, horrible trench warfare, I still found it fascinating to watch history unfold. The various characters discussed the possible outcomes but events followed their own dreadful logic.
Most of the scenes in this book are 1. battles (street battles, trench warfare, whatever), 2. bodice-ripping love/sex, or 3. political discussions in which each of the (wooden) characters represents the ideas that would be expected of him or her. For example, we have the liberal young German diplomat and his traditionalist father; the conservative young British Earl and his bluestocking, suffagist sister; the liberal, young American presidential aide; and the Russian proletarian revolutionary and his ne'er-do-well brother. BUT, at the very beginning of the book, we meet the 13-year-old Welsh miner Billy Williams and live with him through his first day in the mine. We learn about Billy, his family, the mine, and his fellow miners and townsmen. I wish the rest of the book had been this vivid.
Yeah, right. After that first scene everything fades into types and cliches: liberal vs conservative; working class vs aristocrat; English, German Welsh, Russian, or American, male or female. Follet is, however, a skillful story teller and provides us with enough background on each character so that we can understand something about why they feel the way they do. The brutality of the Russia under the czars and the thinking that gave rise to this brutality is particularly well evoked.
Ken Follett took on a very ambitious project -- to tell the story of the 20th century in Europe and North America by telling the history of 5 families. So it's not War and Peace. It's still a fun listen. John Lee does a marvelous job of characterizing the speech pattern of each individual and that helps to individualize the characters. He is capable of switching accents from line to line. I particularly love his Welsh lilt.
Ken Follett brings history to life. His research into the causes and human motivations that bring war to our world are first-rate. Follett has become my favorite historical fiction author.
John Lee is nothing short of amazing as he brings the characters to life.
loved john lee. Amazing multiple accents.As for one of my favorite authors: Follett took a nose dive.
Fewer characters, less complicated plots.
yes, not finish it.
I would rate all of his other books, good or very good. This was extremely boring.Too much talk and not enough action.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.