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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

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  •  
    Wendy Flagstaff, AZ, United States 02-04-11
    Wendy Flagstaff, AZ, United States 02-04-11 Member Since 2005

    aznurse

    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
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    "Not Follett's best work...."

    I didn't think this would ever end... Too many characters, too many plot lines, and since I really am not interested in WW1 history, I was relieved when it was over. Unlike Follett's Pillars of the Earth and World Without End, I could not really embrace the characters (except for Billy-With-Jesus who ended up playing a minor role). Most of the stories revolved around more despicable individuals and the "accidental" meetings tried to tie the threads together. I was pleased to see Follett include the Christmas soccer game in No Man's Land, but the rest felt contrived and overwritten. I won't be buying the sequels. The Two Star rating is more for John Lee's wonderful narration than for the content. Lee's voice and pacing are simply amazing but not enough to overcome the content.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marcia Yarmouth, ME, United States 01-24-11
    Marcia Yarmouth, ME, United States 01-24-11 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "As long as both world wars"

    I loved, loved, loved Pillars of the Earth and had such hopes for this book.... it nevers ends... I actually think I finished it but I am not sure... I am blocking the whole experience. It was good to listen to in bed. It put me right to sleep.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James McGinley 01-23-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Sorry Ken"

    Follet's last trilogy (Pillars of the Earth) was on of my favorite novels of all time; edge of the seat nail biting, can't pause masterpiece. Fall of Giants fails to grip. The characters fall short on every level. It's a great time period to do historical fiction, and I did learn some great historical facts, but I just could not get involved with this novel as I did his previous. I don't think I'll be reading the follow up to Fall of Giants.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathryn Pearblossom, CA, United States 01-15-11
    Kathryn Pearblossom, CA, United States 01-15-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "INTERESTING, BUT NOT EXCEPTIONAL"

    An interesting tale that weaves together several families, from the time of the Russian revolution, to the end of WWI. Not on the same plane as Pillars of the Earth.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daniel Santa Fe, NM, United States 01-01-11
    Daniel Santa Fe, NM, United States 01-01-11 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
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    6
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    "Cardboard Characters, Wooden Dialog, Creaky Plot"

    I have read and enjoyed Ken Follett going back to Key to Rebecca. This book, however, features carboard cutout characters, colliding against one another by improbable plot turns, with the story carried forward by lengthy exposition rather than description or dialog.

    But--the events are compelling, and I am finding parts of it very interesting in spite of the barely hidden creaking and groaning of plot and character. The narrator is excellent (insofar as I can determine from the west side of the pond) with his British accents, not bad with his North American, and verging on the comic with his German and Russian.

    I had thought for a while I would not be able to finish, but now I find I am looking forward to the next twist and turn.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Connie H. Liddiard 12-31-10 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Too much like a romance novel"

    This is the first Ken Follett novel I have listened to and it will be the last. None of the other reviews clued me in to the fact that this is historical fiction that reads like a romance novel. I calloused my finger fast forwarding past all of the descriptions of each character's sexual encounters. Lots more f-words than my little virgin ears could handle too. Yes I am a prude and judging from the other reviews I am in the minority but I thought I'd warn others out there who think a story can be realistic without gratuitous sex and profanity. Although there was a nice mix of characters representing different countries and classes, many of the "chance" encounters between the members of the English, Russian, German, and American families were totally unbelievable. I did learn some interesting facts about the politics of WWI - especially in Russia - which kept me going to the end. No complaints about the narrator.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    KirstenP 12-24-10
    KirstenP 12-24-10

    mskp

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    "Could have been half the length"

    I love history but this depiction of WWI is overly long and repetitive. When I lost my place I had a hard time finding it again because each chapter sounds so much like the next. Sex and war, sex and politics.
    Some good characters though.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    mommaval 10-22-10
    mommaval 10-22-10 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    148
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    "world war 1 from every viewpoint ..."

    which is a problem for me. too wide, not deep enough. and it felt like a history lesson. i'm a follet fan from eye of the needle thru pillars, but by the end of this 30 + hour book, i feel a bit shell shocked.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    10-27-10
    10-27-10 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Sexually explicite and disgusting!"

    These books are well written and read, however the author must have a real problem with his sexualtiy. The story line is very interesting, however the profanity and vulgarity are insulting.

    2 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Skeptical consumer East coast, USA 10-26-10
    Skeptical consumer East coast, USA 10-26-10 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "unreadable"

    I enjoy Follett's writing but couldn't get past two hours worth of listening, tops. It was painful.

    1 of 5 people found this review helpful
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