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 love stories that can bring actual history to life. This one does exactly that. This is an era of history which I studied very little about in college and it was fascinating to watch it develop.
Billy Twice (William Williams). Because he is demonstrates such good judgement and because he is a man of his convictions.
Never before, but John Lee did an incredible job with a very complex set of characters. His dialect and accents covered British aristocracy, cockney, Welsh, Russian, German, French, and American. All brought the characters to life. Masterful.
One of the best I listen to thus far
Winter of the world, writen by the same author
The emotions of characters come across and move you.
The first world war comes to life like never before.
I loved this book, it gave me more information on life during this important time than I have ever found elsewhere.
Love, Pride, and Injustice
Characters are colorful, story is captivating. One of the books that you just can’t put away until you are done. Writer creatively transitions from one part of the world to other, keeping all characters intertwined with their complicated lives. None of the leading characters are “just bad” or “just good”, which makes them more believable. The imaginary characters fit in so well with real people, events, and places. While you are drawn into love stories and hardships and victories of people of those times, you are also getting a good refresher lesson on WWI events.
John Lee is an excellent story teller, pausing and speeding up in the right places. You don't get tired of listening to him!
One thing that I found irritating was his imitation of Russian or German accents in English, while the characters theoretically were speaking in their native language to each other. Russians in Russia would not be speaking to each other in English (except for very few instances in the whole book), therefore, narrator's accents sound mocking. On other hand, using thick accents while narrating dialogues among Welsh gives the story more credibility.
All the information about the beginning of WW1, negotiations, progress of the war, resolution and development of Soviet Russia.
Can't pick. Both Ethel and Maud together were great. They were form 2 different classes in England and yet their lives became very intertwined. They were both very strong women and involved in women's suffrage together. They were the center of the book. Although for a male character, I like Gregori in Russia. All three of these people's lives changed significantly from before the war until it's end.They carried the story for me.
Gregori. He got the accent down pretty well. Also he did all of the American accents particularly well given that I think he's English.
The fight over no man's land. Thanks to the author, I got to see both the German and English point of view. His depiction of this heartbreaking conflict was particularly poignant .
This book was very compelling with good character development, plotting, weaving of character throughout the book. It's long, but listening went fast. I never finished my book group read because I was too involved with Fall of the Giants. This is a much better book than Pillars of the Earth.
So much information and the characters were so real.
Ken Follett's books are in a class by themselves.
can not even begin ....
Live and learn................
Really enjoy having history interwoven with a fictional story. I've always found history dry, but this I enjoy. I used to love Michener, because he was so talented in the same way. I don't usually care for Oprah's book selections, but I loved Pillars of the Earth and World Without End by Follett. I definitely recommend this new trilogy.
No, I wouldn't ever listen to a book twice. There are too many other great books out there on my list.
This book is composed of many memorable moments, nicely distributed throughout the whole book. It gives the book a great pace. It's beautifully written, and masterfully performed.
I read a lot of history, but what Lee does is bring it to life. He captures the issues of the times that set the plate for the larger events, and each segment of the story is filled in nicely without ever overdoing it. It's a great blend of history and fiction.
Never underestimate man's capacity for self-destruction.
I can't wait for the other books of the trilogy!
historical, sweeping, excellent
I often listen while jogging (hate jogging), and found myself smiling and laughing at times.
Ken brings you into the times he is writing about. You can see how & why events affect each of us.
Yes - lots of history and great character development.
He is an incredible narrator, the myriad of accents he has in his repertoire is very impressive, makes the characters come alive.
It's hard to say there were so many; Maude, Ethel and Billy come to mind
Well worth listening to every minute!
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