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)
Fall of Giants is a highly detailed, fiction-based-on-fact novel, that winds together the narratives of five separate families before, during, and immediately after World War I. While i have understood that WW I was trench warfare, I did not understand why this war had to happen, or how the alliances were formed. This was highly educational, very entertaining, and I'm eager to hear the second volume in the series.
The narrator, John Lee, is particularly adept at a wide range of accents that really enhance the reading of the text.
I have read a number of WWI non-fictions, and had always been interested in early twentieth century history, but this was my first time reading historical fictional and I didn't know what to expect.
Although it was a little slow in the beginning, the characters grew on me fast, and the audio book just got harder and harder to put down. I agree with some other reviewers that parts of the story line seemed a stretch, but I wasn't too bothered by them.
I can't wait to start on Winter of the World.
I love the development of characters and the fact that you grow with them for significant parts of their lives.
I think it must be Ethel as she is just feisty and strong. I look forward to finding out what drama she gets into in the next book.
I loved how he would change his accent for each of the various characters.
I am not a history buff, but this is a wonderfully written book. I thoroughly enjoyed the story. It also encouraged me to learn a little more about WWI. I immediately started on his second book in the Century Triology - Winter of the World. I would recommend this book. The narrator was great. John Lee also narrated Follett's last series, which I listened to and really enjoyed.
As a teenager I was entrawled with 007 (James Bond). So I love spy novels even the ones where the hero doesn't get the girl. Now that I have outed my guilty pleasure, I have to say that I do other types of books.
Definitely. In addition to an interesting story i learned a lot too!
I don't know. I haven't read a historical novel before.
A quick fun listen that will leave you wanting more.
John Lee does an impeccable job of delivering this well crafted story. Though it is clearly fictional, the historical accounting of key events is incredibly factual. I'd recommend this to anyone who enjoys an enthralling story with rich characters, a solid story line, and a historical depiction that is both educating as well as relatable, regardless of the listeners familarity of the actual events.
Avid general reader with a fondness for British and Irish Writers and world history.
If I had purchased this as abridged, I would have been disappointed with the repetition but this purchase was deliberate (to keep me busy checking time-lines, dates and facts.)
An amazing bit of literature with very little (except as noted above) which could be a matter of complaint. Actually loved it because I have come to history as an interest rather late in life - lots to catch up with.
In the top 5.
I enjoyed Ethel. Her story reminded me of the Downton Abbey television program. A story of the relationship between the haves and the have-nots. Ethel's character has been knocked down by circumstance and yet she perseveres. She is tough and smart and I found myself rooting for her and awaiting the next part of her story line. I also enjoyed her brother, Billy. He grows so much in this story: from a 16 year old kid to a war-seasoned veteran with real motivation to see meaningful change in the world.
I enjoyed the clandestine wedding between Walter and Maude and how they went ahead with their plans in spite of the world situation, believing that love would overcome.
No, not really. Parts of it made me chuckle, and there were certainly sad parts but it didn't cause any extreme reaction.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and John Lee is an incredible reader. I think I would enjoy listening to the phone book if he read it! He turns a very good book, into an excellent one. If you enjoy history, this is the series for you. I can't wait to get started on Book 2: Winter of the World. I don't know if Ken Follett has finished the third book. If not, I hope he is a fast writer!
So far this book is in my top 10
I can't really compare this book to another because this is my first read from the World War period. I really enjoyed it.
Tragic lives of war
Yes. It was a long involved book with lots of characters. I loved the length of it. It kept my interest throughout.
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