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
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.
I would recommend this Audio book to anybody, it is an amazing book.
The understanding I got from the history of the 20th Century, the motivations of actions that shook the world of my grandparents, described in a way that I could believe and understand.
I would choose another book read by John Lee, if it was a choice between him and anyone else. Some less than kind comments have been made previously. They are not what I have found.
This is a huge book, as are most of Ken Folletts books, which are particularly suited to audiobooks, due to the size, reading of a book of this length would take forever, and I probably would get sidetracked by something else before i finished.
The story is one of fiction wrapped amongst fact. The ability to read a story immersed in a great plot but at the same time learning fact is delightful and entertaining
The reader was amazing his ability to speak with authentic accents Welsh, Russian, Cockney,American,Upper class English, he could switch from one to the other easily . It made the story really come to life. The plot is interesting and engaging . I spent many nights until the early hours listening when I should have been sleeping.
It was an interesting way of learning the history of WW1 from a human point
They were all essential
billy rock solid character
Great story looking forward to no 3 and John Lee does a sterling job of Narration 5 stars John !!
Ken Follet has packed this epic with accurate information on the 2nd World War, its prelude and aftermath. I am going to have to listen a second time as there is much I would like to put into perspective.
It is difficult to say there is another book one can compare this one to, but from an historical perspective, much of what is captured in the following, one can appreciate in "Fall of Giants" is set out in some detail in: The history of the South African forces in France by John Buchan, and Pyramids and Poppies: The 1st SA Infantry Brigade in Libya, France and Flanders by Peter Digby.
Walter von Ulrich stands out as the most credible character for me - compared to most of the other characters, he was unaffected in playing politics and manipulation others.
Of Aristocrats and Comrades
As a reader of World War 2 History, I think this was the most enjoyable and refreshing overview of the Great War I have ever come across - and historically accurate as well!
Say something about yourself!
A great book and an exceptional story! The narrator does a great job, too. I couldn’t stop listening! A perfect combination of historical context and human character. Can’t wait to listen to its sequel “Winter of the World.”
"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 keep recommending this book to friends. It's one of those books that both educates and entertains - a real winner as I feel I'm improving myself rather than simply indulging in escapism. If the sheer size of the traditional paper version puts you off, then this is definitely one to do audio-style. The narration is spot on.
Rich story-telling in satisfying Follett style. I happened to be listening to the Battle of the Somme as we reached Remembrance Sunday this year - right at the time the papers were full of photos of the poppies at the Tower of London. Really quite poignant.
Setting the key families in the UK, Germany, Russia and the USA gives the listener a very full picture of the world at the time. A fabulous window to history.
I have just finished listening to book two in the series - just as good, though equally harrowing in places. Feeling slightly shattered - the world really did get itself into a right mess, didn't it? Book three has just been released.....fingers crossed it's of the same standard.
"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.
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.
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.
"Now't wrong with the book...but what a rip off"
I enjoyed Part one..and used a months credit in buying it...with the intention of buying part two with my next credit. But now it seems that Audible have decided to sell the whole book together.......now I have to use a credit to get a single part and anyone else can get the whole book. What a rip off Audible....spoiling an excellent book by leaving a bitter taste because I feel rippped off.
The huge scope of this story makes for great listening. Although I found John Lee a little difficult at first - he actually does an excellent job and I was soon enjoying it all tremendously.
.... 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.
Great story switching from peace time to the horror of the trenches,the harsh life of welsh mining villages compared to the different cossseted life lived by the landed gentry.Also the extremley harsh existance of Russian peasants compared to the Russian royalty,the defeat of Germany and the Russian revolution.A great story very well told
"A Great Listen"
I was all prepared to be a bit dismissive about this book but I have to admit to being hooked from the beginning by the mixture of characters, social and political history and plot. I felt the author drew me very skilfully into the lives and worlds of the characters and the book moved easily between countries and themes. My only quibble would be about some of the Welsh accents, hence 4 starts for narration rather than 5. Highly recommended.
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