A huge novel that follows five families through the world-shaking dramas of the First World War, the Russian Revolution, and the struggle for votes for women.
It is 1911. The Coronation Day of King George V. The Williams, a Welsh coal-mining family, is linked by romance and enmity to the Fitzherberts, aristocratic coal-mine owners. Lady Maud Fitzherbert falls in love with Walter von Ulrich, a spy at the German Embassy in London. Their destiny is entangled with that of an ambitious young aide to U.S. President Woodrow Wilson and to two orphaned Russian brothers, whose plans to immigrate to America fall foul of war, conscription and revolution. In a plot 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.
©2010 Ken Follett (P)2010 Penguin Audio
I loved the way the characters were woven into actual events with seemingly historical accuracy.
The families were easy to follow and the characters were really well developed.
All of the characters were great and the narration was excellent.
It is too long to listen to in one sitting but I spent too many late nights up because of it. It is a masterpiece. Before this one, Pillars of the Earth was my favourite book but it sure has opposition in this one.
It does us well to recall the sheer stupidity of the 1st world war, which seems to achieved nothing for the advancement of humanity. The characters were lifelike and believable. If not their precise story, than one very close I am sure. The book is beautifully narrated in my view. I really enjoyed it and am so pleased this is a series. Assume the next one will be the events leading to the 2nd world war and beyond - not that I relish this era of history but it does me well to remember the huge sacrifices that were given by men and women to ensure a free world
Awesome story online and outstanding performance of John Lee. This is the first time I rate an audiobook with five stars.
The sense of eternity.
This book is so extremely well written that I have no words to describe it.
I love most books about history and historical events. This one just gets around to everything relevant for that period. Fabulous.
For people who like long books and complex plots, as well as a great history background, this is the one! Involving, interesting characters, most well explained historic events, makes you feel like time travel while participating in the lives of the different families, throughout Europe.
Just waiting for the third volume!
I love learning thru books, about life, people and ways to be better. My best listen so far? The Power of Now, have a good listen!
I loved the book because it helped me understand history by passing it thru the caracters stories. Its not an incredibly exiting book, and is not as good as Pillars of the Earth, but I loved reading it. its caracters as always display all sorts of emotions, and there are some sex scenes. If you like Ken Follet and history, you will like this book
Yes. John Lee's reading takes me into the story.
I loved Eth. Her ability to rise above mysogisistic jibes. A woman before her time.
A great story, with a good smattering of history to educate us.
"Fall of Giants"
Ken Follet at his best, well written with fantastic plot and great characters. I cant wait for his next block buster.
"A Huge book read by a Master"
I have almost finished listening to John Lee read this book. He is fantastic at doing all the voices and accents. I'd certainly look out for any other books he has narrated. The story of Fall of Giants is astonishing in its scope. It really gives the background to the complicated start of WWI through the lives of the characters. It highlights the differences in lifestyle and expectations in Wales, England, France, Germany, America and Russia. Especially how people are inter-related through their families and servants and make diplomatic connections in the circles in which they move. Most enjoyable listening - but inevitably some very sad scenarios. However, hope shines through.
A mammoth task achieved by Ken Follet. Can't wait to listen to the sequel.
I loved this book it's in my top ten best audio books and it's a joy to know I have the next installment yet to listen too. I usually lose interest or find myself needing to skip parts of this type of book they can easily be just too big and padded out with irrelevant chapters not so with this one. John Lee delivers excellent narration.
"Historical events, personalised"
I would change the narrator's style and cut some of the background action that was less relevant to the story.
For me, the more interesting parts were those that focused on the lives of the individual characters, rather than descriptions of the wider political events or WWI battles.
I've listened to other books narrated by John Lee and have enjoyed them, but I often found this book hard work because of the narration. As long as he was doing dialogue it was fine, but otherwise it felt like every sentence had the same feel - loud, loud and dramatic, fading gradually towards the end...not only was this monotonous at times but it also felt inappropriately overblown at times. For example, how can putting the kettle on for a cup of tea carry the same dramatic weight as a pit explosion?
I think it would make an excellent TV series and that might have something to do with Ken Follett's ability to make you visualise characters and their situations.
I do like Ken Follett's sagas because he can place you alongside significant historical figures and at the heart of past events; for me, it personalises history and it makes me want to read/know more about the era, However, the connections between all the major players sometimes feel a bit too unlikely or unbelievable. Whilst there were parts of the story I would have cut out, I think other people with an interest in the details of WWI battles or early 20th century politics might find that side of things rather more interesting than I did. I also like that Follett tries to put the reader into the shoes of most characters, even if that means seeing WWI from the German's perspective one minute, an upperclass British Officer or a regular British soldier or Russian revolutionary the next - you're on everybody's side, always, Overall, it's a good start to the trilogy although I'd be inclined to read the sequels myself rather than listening,
"A wonderful book"
A book that covers all the major events of The Great War. Starting out in a Welsh mining village in 1912 we go through a fantastic journey to the Peace Treaty of Versailles. Whilst using fictitious characters the events they are placed in are real. Now moving on to book 2.. I can't wait.
I didn't finish this and that is unusual. I found it all fairly cliched and boring to be honest. I accept I am in the minority here judging by the other reviews.
.... just finished listening and feel like I've lost "an old friend". I loved the characters and the setting but it's the story which is haunting. An outstanding book.
"just that bit too predictable"
I found the plot concerning the five families too predictable, it was easy to guess how their stories would fit in with the world events unfolding. However the description of WW1 and other historical events was detailed and interesting.
Loved everything about this book. The historical aspect both fact and fiction, the characters and the story line. An excellent narrator was the cherry on top. For me a book that had to be listened to at every opportunity. Can't wait to read the next one.
Loved the audible version. Well read and well written. I look forward to the follow up.
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