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Fall of Giants: The Century Trilogy, Book 1 | [Ken Follett]

Fall of Giants: The Century Trilogy, Book 1

Ken Follett's World Without End was a global phenomenon, a work of grand historical sweep beloved by millions of readers and acclaimed by critics. Fall of Giants is his 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.
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Publisher's Summary

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

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    Alison essex jct, VT, United States 06-03-12
    Alison essex jct, VT, United States 06-03-12 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Enjoyable Predictability"

    Very interesting to hear how the war affected people of all walks of life. The story was pretty formulaic. But it was easy to read and enjoyable. The american accent of the story teller was a bit hard to take but other than that it was a really good job.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    gary Santa Barbara, US, Canada 06-03-12
    gary Santa Barbara, US, Canada 06-03-12
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    "Follett must be over the hill"
    Would you try another book from Ken Follett and/or John Lee?

    No way? He has lost his touch.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Not follett? Something with some action.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    None.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Fall of Giants?

    All war time.


    Any additional comments?

    Really slow and boring. Follett was great in the distant past.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    HIII 05-31-12
    HIII 05-31-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Follett follower!"

    Almost did not purchase this book because I was disapointed in World Without End. When Ken Follett is 'on' his characters step off the page and walk and talk right next to you. The story is attention binding and that is Fall of the Giants. Rich, poor, pampered or hardworking Follett brings them all to life. Cannot wait for the next part. John Lee does a great job especially when a book is this long - perfect summer read!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    gary 05-29-12
    gary 05-29-12 Member Since 2014
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    "Follett is addictive"

    Despite the fact that this book is a little slow, and descriptions of battle scenes and the like are, perhaps,unnecessary, this is classic Follett, and I'm happy that I listened to it. The narrator does a really nice job, too.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gary Regan New York 05-29-12
    Gary Regan New York 05-29-12 Member Since 2014

    With Lotsa Love from gaz regn

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    "Follett is addictive"

    Despite the fact that this book is a little slow, and descriptions of battle scenes and the like are, perhaps,unnecessary, this is classic Follett, and I'm happy that I listened to it. The narrator does a really nice job, too.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ursula Maple Valley, WA 05-29-12
    Ursula Maple Valley, WA 05-29-12 Listener Since 2001
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    "Could not stop listening"

    I was fascinated by the characters in this book. I don't normally like these kind of "epic" books but I love this one. Can't wait for Book 2 to see how the characters develop.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Suzanne D'bourget Portland, ME United States 05-28-12
    Suzanne D'bourget Portland, ME United States 05-28-12 Member Since 2010

    mainemamma

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    "waiting for the next part with baited breath!"

    I became so attached to the characters in this book! They all felt so real and imbedded in the history of the time. I enjoyed it and learned a lot about the early part of the 1900's as well.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kristi Richardson Milwaukie, OR, United States 05-27-12
    Kristi Richardson Milwaukie, OR, United States 05-27-12 Member Since 2014

    An old broad that enjoys books of all types. Would rather read than write reviews though. I know what I like, and won't be bothered by crap.

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    "Lovers of dynastic epics rejoice!"
    What did you love best about Fall of Giants?

    This is a story of five families at the start of the 20th Century thru the end of World War I. I loved the historical detail and wonderful characters that were developed during the novel.

    The characters are so fleshed out and realistic. No one is without flaws and some become full fledged villains before the story is over.

    This is exactly what I love about a good novel.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    So many characters, it's hard to choose just one. I loved Ethel Williams the most. I think she grows and changes the most. She starts off a housekeeper for the Earl and by the end of the novel she is elected to the House of Commons as one of the first woman ever to do so.
    She was feisty and intelligent and very human. A real hero!


    Have you listened to any of John Lee’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    John Lee is one of the top narrators on Audible. He is in top form on this performance. I love him!


    Who was the most memorable character of Fall of Giants and why?

    Again, a tough question. I will say Billy twice, better known as William Williams, who is the youngest character at the start of the book. His first day in the mines until his court martial and finally his election to the Commons are just some of the highlights.

    I am looking forward to seeing what happens to Billy in the next book of the series.


    Any additional comments?

    Anyone who enjoys dynastic novels will like this book. It is similar to Winds of War and War and Remembrance by Herman Wouk.
    The next book is due out this fall and I am looking forward to reading it. This is the first book in a planned trilogy of the 20th Century.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dan WINDSOR, CALIFORNIA, United States 05-23-12
    Dan WINDSOR, CALIFORNIA, United States 05-23-12 Member Since 2013
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    "Really enjoyed everything about this."
    What did you love best about Fall of Giants?

    Well written historical fiction is such a great way way for me to get a feel for historical events. Ken Follet is a great writer. John Lee is a very good reader. Engaging, not overly dramatic, great accents, doesn't force voices. Really enjoyable.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Billy Williams. Good man.


    Any additional comments?

    John Lee is a great reader.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Melanie Leominster, MA, United States 05-22-12
    Melanie Leominster, MA, United States 05-22-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Wonderful!"
    What did you love best about Fall of Giants?

    The interesting way the characters were connected fascinated me. Being able to view WWI from all different national views made it much easier to understand the vast scope of the war, the reasons behind it, and how each battle would have been like if you were there.


    Which character – as performed by John Lee – was your favorite?

    I fell in love with Billy, because of his spirit and determination to do the right thing. Lee's Welsh accent was spot on and wonderful to listen to.


    Any additional comments?

    I knew nothing about the Russian Revolution going into this book and found the way the story was told through the eyes of someone who was living it made it easier to remember exactly what happened and why. I think anyone who enjoys historical fiction will love this and I cannot wait for the next book!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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