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)
“A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading.” ― William Styron, Conversations with William Styron
So far, this is the best book of the series that I've listened to so far.
It's hard to pick a favorite character because I liked something about all the characters because of how John Lee brought life to each of them. His range of believable accents were amazing, even with the female parts, I could picture the women saying the things in the way that John said them. I identified most with Ethel, who didn't allow herself to be typecasted by others.
This was my first experience listening to John Lee and all I can say is "Wow!" It took me a bit to get used to Lee's style until the character began to "talk" and he had me from that moment on.
It was hard to put my earphones away and go to bed because the story line was so riveting.
History is a weak spot for me because I didn't enjoy it as a youth. This made me wished that I read more as a youth and I might have come across great writers who made history come alive like Ken Follett does. Bravo for the performance and bravo for the duo!
We seem to come up good reasons to start wars then decide that loosing is better than stopping. The people who make money don't want to stop. If the cost is hidden many like to ride on the wagon.Victims seem to be the the only real loosers.
Avid reader turned "listener" when I had to learn to fit reading and cleaning into one nap time.
An absolutely beautiful combination if fiction and history, it is beyond entertaining, especially for those interested in world history. Loved it.
yes, Follet writes amazing stories...
Ethel, because of the causes she defends and how she does it.
This is another great epic saga from Ken Follett. As usual, he has done a superb job of researching his subject matter, and he brings to life the lives of five different intertwined families around the time of the First World war.
The character depictions are done well, and John Lee is a great narrator who has an excellent command of dialects and voices. His American accents are less convincing than his English. Welsh, Russian and German accents, but that's only a very minor flaw.
Follett manages to bring to life all of the political and social issues without being pedantic or overbearing. All the characters are related to one another by six degrees of separation, and there are some very satisfyingplot turns.
This is a book which engages the mind and the heart. It's as rich and satisfying as a seven-course meal.
I love the story. Ken Follett does a great job of connecting the characters in ways you would not immediately assume. The story has a lot of characters but it is necessary in a book of this length.
I love how he changes his voice for different characters. It makes the book more interesting to listen too.
No, the book is much to lengthy to listen to in one sitting. Personally, I like that. It is great for runners or for a long car ride!
I have to say that even though the story is compelling the narrator makes the whole experience. He is incredibly talented. There is no way I would have enjoyed this book as much if I read it and only had my own voice in my head. I will seek out books from now on that are narrated by this man.
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.
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