Five linked families live out their destinies as the world is shaken by tyranny and war in the mid-20th century. Berlin in 1933 is in upheaval. Eleven-year-old Carla von Ulrich struggles to understand the tensions disrupting her family as Hitler strengthens his grip on Germany. Into this turmoil step her mother’s formidable friend and former British MP, Ethel Leckwith, and her student son, Lloyd, who soon learns for himself the brutal reality of Nazism.
He also encounters a group of Germans resolved to oppose Hitler - but are they willing to go so far as to betray their country? Such people are closely watched by Volodya, a Russian with a bright future in Red Army Intelligence. The international clash of military power and personal beliefs that ensues will sweep over them all as it ranges from Cable Street in London’s East End to Pearl Harbour in Hawaii, from Spain to Stalingrad, from Dresden to Hiroshima.
At Cambridge Lloyd is irresistibly drawn to dazzling American socialite Daisy Peshkov, who represents everything his left-wing family despise. But Daisy is more interested in aristocratic Boy Fitzherbert - amateur pilot, party lover, and leading light of the British Union of Fascists. Back in Berlin, Carla worships golden boy Werner from afar. But nothing will work out the way they expect as their lives and the hopes of the world are smashed by the greatest and cruellest war in the history of the human race.
Winter of the World is the second novel in Ken Follett’s uniquely ambitious and deeply satisfying trilogy The Century. On its own or read in sequence with Fall of Giants, this is a magnificent, spellbinding epic of global conflict and personal drama.
©2012 Ken Follett (P)2012 Penguin US/Macmillan Digital Audio
Some interesting facts and gives a good point of view how lives in different socialites were at different times. Liked the portrait of Soviet Union and now in book 2 you feel like you know and are caring for the different families.
I liked it because of a) nice weaving of stories of 5 families b) my way of learning about Europe through the two wars (Finished the first two of the trilogy).
Cast of thousands, story of the century, excellent use of idiom. It doesn't matter which characters you latch onto, the others are capable of holding your attention as well.
When the narrator describes the torture and murder of a character, the birth of a baby and the love of a man for his lady (or of lady to man) with the same impersonal description he'd use for describing the parts of a washing machine, you know he shouldn't be reading. Remember when you were five and wanted everyone to "do the voices"? Well, this narrator wouldn't know what the voices were. So insensitive that it's almost laughable.
An excellent listen. Really hope young people read this book, we should never forget! Highly recommended. Brilliant author and brilliant narrator!
I rally enjoyed listening .Feel I know more about botn sites .I am looking forward to the nezt book.Hopefully Ken Follet focus even more on the political situation and the changes in the society . Too many lovestories may distroy the historical importance of the series.
Another great book in Ken Follett's series - I love most of his books and John Lee is a fabulous narrator
I found it quite confronting but having a rough idea what was coming next , found I could not stop listening. it was compelling and the interweaving of characters was clever rather than annoying
Fall of GIants
John Lees narration was excellent , being able to maintain character was amazing , I may search him as a narrator an excellent fit for Ken Follets Books!
Lloyd Williams but just a touch naïve
worth a listen
Yes, follet is a great writer, it is a pity the recording is not well produced.
All the book is great
no, he is great
It does, in fact I believe it is a trilogy, we are missing one last book, it should be published late this year.
Great follow on and looking forward to book 3. Well told story and if you have watched Downton Abbey then it gives some idea of the other lives
Maud - Complex and difficult choices she made
I find listening I get more out than reading and remember far more. Reading I do to relax whilst listening is more entertainment. This was more of a mini series of the mind.
Upon finishing "Fall of Giants" and checking out other books by Ken Follett I was thrilled to discover that there was a sequel! I downloaded it instantly and listened in every available moment until I finished.
Building on the background of Fall of Giants, Winter of the World picks up a fair few years after Fall of Giants finishes, and focuses on the children of the characters from Fall of Giants. I found this a refreshing way to go about writing a sequel; it had the perfect combination of familiarity and novelty.
While I recommend listening to/reading Fall of Giants first, that is by no means essential, with the two books complementing each other rather than requiring each other.
There are some scenes in this book that I think will stick in my brain forever. I enjoyed it just as much as the first and cannot wait for the third book to be published.
So. How to begin? I would love to say this was a great book, I enjoyed the first one. But I felt this book was more of an historical book rather than a literary novel. Ken Follet really knows his stuff however so I cannot fault him on that and I learned a few things! On a negative side there were far too many silly coincidences. Everyone crosses everyone else's path across Europe, Britain, USA and Russia, what are the chances! I even began to roll my eyes and I guessed that the British brother in the French resistance would be the one to discover his other brother in the fighter plane over France. And it becomes a little condescending when ken reminds us of things more than once, like he doesn't trust us to remember, I didn't like that, it wasnt helpful. And I actually listened to a whole part of a book on time and a half speed, the narration was just a little too slow for me. If u have read the first book I suppose you have to listen to this one but otherwise I wouldn't really recommend (saying that tho, I will probably read the third one when it comes out!)
"Poor prose and characterisation begin to grate"
Having found the initial volume of this quite interesting, despite the clunky prose and somewhat obvious characterisation, I was ready to give this a go. However, after nearly fifty hours of these books, I am finding it really heavy going, despite the valiant best efforts of John Lee as the excellent narrator, who deserves huge praise for sticking with it as he negotiates the stilted narrative and for keeping the individual voices of his characters going over such a massive span. The prose is so inelegant and the descriptions of characters so obvious and superficial it often made me sigh out loud; the dialogue is often written as if the characters are reading a history book to each other; the sex-scenes are so toe-curling and weird that I had to fast forward through them; the amazing ability of characters to just eavesdrop on Hitler, Stalin and others at historic turning points is just too convenient; and the extraordinary international coincidences which allow the characters from different countries (and continents) to meet for the sake of the narrative, which was forgivable as a device in the first volume, becomes bordering on ludicrous. This book never develops a convincing individual take on that history, beyond the generally accepted take which you can read in the classic literature on the period, or one in which the characters are anything other than convenient automatons driving the narrative. This history is too important to have such an average novel written about it.
"Brilliant .A well done story of family and history"
A well painted picture as characters from each country and the history is honestly told.
"Difficult review to write."
This book is so well written and transported me into the war-torn times in Germany, Russia, Britain and America. I have got to know the characters - (I re-read the first book in the trilogy before starting this - the second).
My problem is that I now have such a heavy heart - feeling as if I was 'there'. Such desolation and cruelty made me weep.
So, my reason for my troubled review, is that I was absolutely hooked- yet at the same time I could not carry on listening and had to give it a rest frequently. Excellently drawn characters that I grew to love - (or hate) such detailed insights into behaviour during the war - this really is a brilliant book - but I just feel SO sad.
John Lee reads well, and adds to the story.
"John Lee fails to ruin another book"
I really quite dislike John Lee's narration of this and the other books in the series. During periods with little dialogue and just his monotonous rhythm it us difficult to pay attention. However, to be fair he comes into his own when giving character to the voice parts. his characterisation is really very good.
As for the story: I felt it was a little more rushed and less detailed than the first book, but I very much enjoyed the characters old and new. There are thrilling bits, titillating bits and dramatic bits. All in all a pleasant historical romp.
I've not read the print version
There are so many. But I think is has to be when Carla sacrificed herself in place of Rebecca with the soldiers. I think I also have to say when Woody lost Joanne at Pearl Harbour.
A bit warped but I actually enjoyed the bit where Maude and Carla killed the Nazi soldier and had to dispose of the body. The subtle humour Ken Follett had added was brilliant.
Yes, if I could have sat for 30 hours or so and listened I would. I went late into the night many a time not wanting to 'put my iPod down'!
Totally absorbing. I love the way the real history is interwoven with the story and the way all the families are linked. I listened to all 3 in the series and felt a bit 'bereft' as there was no more to listen to. An absolutely must if you like real history interlinked with drama. And John Lee is absolutely amazing. His accents are brilliant and has such a listenable voice.
I was sorry it ended, every time I listened to more, there was less left.
Very fitting configuration to the first book.
"Winter of the World Ken Follett"
Another exquisite book in the series well read with an actor who articulated the characters really well
As always I would recommend that the actor checks up how to pronounce The Welsh language ?
"The 2nd book goes to a new level"
This covers the next generation from the 1st book, therefore works as a stand alone, but I wouldn't recommend not reading Fall of Giants. The 2nd world war is back drop to our families and adds to the previous stories and intertwines the story line at a pace, The length of the book does not seem noticeable as all to soon the closing statement from audible was heard.
Excellent story, as you would expect from this author. Very good narration. Overall well worth it in every aspect.
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