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
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.”
Buena novela histórica con personajes llenos de virtudes y defectos, todos pueden pasar de queridos a mal queridos. Historia rápida que mezcla la historia con la ficción y te hace querer saber mas de la verdad pero también de las relaciones ficticias. Lev es un campeón!
I downloaded this audiobook somewhat on a whim. Four and a half stars from a few hundred ratings, sounds like it will be a good book, and then over 30 hours, how's that for value for money?!
Then I started listening... and I basically didn't stop. I was hooked from the first chapter. The writing is brilliant, and the characters even better. I usually struggle with books with heaps of characters, but Ken Follett introduces all the characters gradually and in a logical order so I didn't struggle even once.
As well as really enjoying the specifics of each characters story and becoming really invested in how their lives will turn out, the historical context of this book was fantastic for me. I'm ashamed to admit that my history knowledge is shockingly bad; I'd like to blame my schooling but that only takes me so far. So now, my favourite way to learn about history is like this; by reading (or more commonly listening to) a well researched historical fiction book, where the story keeps me listening but I learn all sorts about that period in history at the same time.
This book had me laughing out loud, and at one point tears running down my cheeks. John Lee did an amazing job at narrating an even more amazing story. I could not recommend this enough.
Yes, actually I read the book twice and listened once, I believe the author achieve a good mix between historic facts and fiction to develop an amazing novel
Conspirata of Robert Harris, he also achieve a great story mixing reality with fiction
Great book. A story that will keep you wanting to listen to "just one more chapter". Great reading also. John Lee makes it perfect by his use of accents and the perfect pitch in his voice. I just love Ken Follet and now John Lee. If you liked Pillars of the Earth this book is for you. I can't wait to get my hands on the sequels.
This is the first. I hope he does the sequels.
That's a hard one. Billy, Ethel, Maude... all of them.
A very detailed and most enjoyable story that flows well. Narration was clear lively and accurate. Another excellent boom by Mr . Follett
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.
"A true classic"
An exceptionally well written classic about an tumultuous time in history.
I thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone who likes well written and exciting novels that also are historically correct.
Looking forward to start on part II.
Absolutely - this is one of those books that caused me to sign up for Audible..... It would take me years of bed time and weekend reading to get through just one of the three books. But putting my headphone in my ears and sorting out the weed in the garden while listening to a great story, well told solved several problems: my garden looks decent (I even enjoyed the weeding), I had a great summer outside and I have spare time to do other things than read for several years... such a good story too.
Yes - if I had the time.... a bit big for it though. But I listened when I drove, cooked, did the garden ... any time I did something where my mind was not needed for the job.
Three books is not too many!
I loved the sweep of history and the story which gave it context. However I could not say that I was captivated.....it felt more like a familiar friend.....an easy, enjoyable listen, and very forgiving if you fall asleep and need to resume without actually knowing where you last were!
"Too Many Coincidences"
I understand that fiction, even that based firmly in the context of real historical events, does rely on devices to make the story work. And this is a gigantic, sweeping story, with a cast of hundreds!
But the device that Ken Follett favours most is that of coincidence. The book is littered with coincidences of a such fantastically unbelievable scale, it ended up (almost) ruining it for me.
Time after time, across years that have passed, across continents and class, and across a world war, the characters coincidentally meet again, or meet someone known to their circle of family and friends.
That aside, I still quite enjoyed the story - more so for the first half, because after this point, the device of chance meeting/involvement, began to spoil it for me. If gripped by a story, I keep going with it until the end. This book - partly, to be fair, due to its vastness - I left for days at a time, before picking up the story again. So I was mildly engaged, but not gripped.
I love long books - so that worked well for me. I also love books set in 'real' history. The narration worked quite well for me too, despite an odd habit of pausing in unexpected places, mid-sentence (I got used to it quite quickly) - and I was impressed with the dozens of accents he mastered.
I didn't, however, in the end, really believe in any of the characters, except maybe the Welsh sister and brother. Nor did I find myself 'worrying' about their fate. Three stars is a low score for me, as I am very rarely disappointed with my choices, relying heavily on reviews by other members, and being pretty sure of my own ground - this purchase was an experiment. I was quite disappointed with this volume and I won't invest a credit on the next installment.
It is not a bad book, and the scale of its sweeping story is impressive. It's just not the book I hoped it would be.
"a bit disappointed and it was so predictable"
I would try another book by Ken Follett because I have enjoyed his other epics, I got through those very quickly but this one did drag on somewhat.
Although the historic facts seemed to be about right the main characters and the coincidences are altogether too far fetched, I sent this book back and can't think that I will be purchasing the next in the series, it is fair to say disappointing is the right word
"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.
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