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
Definitely. It is an interesting tale, woven thru WWII history, told thru the eyes of very real and vivid characters.
I learned so much about the facts behind the facts of WWII.
I usually prefer to hear a man reading; I don't know why, but there it is. John Lee has a strong easy to listen to voice.
A book easily read, my first Kollett book. I will certainly read others. The characters, as well as the times are well drawn.. Whilst I generally thought the book met all criteria as far as entertainment went, I felt there were times that it dragged perhaps it is to long and at times a little to much detail. Was I pleased to have bought it?, certainly, would I recommend purchase? very much so.
I read it almost immediately after Fall of Giants. Maybe for that reason, the characters came alive and more vivid. I could get a better feel for the period and the circumstances surrounding some momentous events in WW2 than any history books.
This was an ok effort but not Follett's best work. The narration was high quality and the accents helped keep track of the characters.
An unashamed Audiophile who has his own studio and business called iZENEARS which brings Australian travel and history to life for locals and visitor's alike.
When you have a book of four or more 'discs' you have a long tale. Migrating a positive army of characters through time and place and keeping them working is a masterful skill and Follett is indeed a master. John Lee takes a bit of getting used to but when you get into his idiosyncratic delivery it works and works well. If you are a 'boomer' from this period it will have extra resonances bringing things into focus often not explored in period specific books. If you like modern history that is tweeked with a reasonable amount of literary spice licence then put this on your list.
This is a great story. Ken Follett's stories are magnificent, the characters woven with the history is so stimulating. I really liked the interweaving of the cultures, nationality and classes. The children of the characters of the first book grow and take centre stage.
I really like the way Audio books makes really large books accessible, I used to find them daunting , now I enjoy the alone times in cars, in motels, doing the washing and ironing and sharing the time with "my friends" in these long wonderful stories ...
If you read the first ... you cannot miss this one.
Yes. It's a stand alone, although nice if you have read the first one. It draws you in following all the interwoven characters.
I'm not sure anything can compare to Pillars of the Earth but it is similar.
John Lee always does a great job. It wouldn't be the same to listen to anyone else read a Ken Follett!
I certainly laughed and had a tear in my eye at times, but now its finished I'm missing it! Looking forward to the next instalment
If you like Ken Follett (I do) you will not be disappointed with the this continuation of Fall of Giants. It carries on with the same characters and same style; lots of historical detail, amazing coincidences where his characters by chance meet on city streets or in the midst of battle, and unfortunately many anachronisms. Still the ride is a fun one. John Lee is an excellent narrator. Each book is about 30 hours, so you need to enjoy his voice to get through them. He does the various accents and women's voices well without overdoing it or intruding into the story.
What I think Follett does best is provide good historical background and insights into the great events of the twentieth century. I am 53 and after reading (hearing) this book I have a clearer understanding of the rise of fascism in Europe than from all my previous reading.
The battle scenes and the romantic interludes are all rather predictable. It becomes hard to tell one from the other and the course of the relationships become so well worn that we feel we could write them for him.
Overall, I would say that Follett appeals to the boy in us. While I have enjoyed this and the previous book tremendously, I would not recommend them to my wife, who is quite a serious reader. I can just see her turn her nose up in in distaste. Rather it takes me back to the cracking good reads of my adolescence and for that I am very grateful.
Good story, but the characters' part in most historic milestones reminds me a bit of Forrest Gump and requires some naiveté. Still, can’t wait for the last instalment.
John Lee is a master, great narration.
"Gripping 20th Century Historical Drama"
the reading and the story are superb. Really brings the 30's and 40's too life.
I haven't listened to anything as good as this trilogy
Laugh out loud and moments of anger. Well told story that brought the horrors of 1930's Germany to life.
"An informative read"
Yes the book is very good, easy to get involved with the story.
I've already read Fall of Giants which was also excellent, I haven't read anything else like it.
Only Fall of Giants, he does a great job!
Hardly as its 36 hours long.
"What a way to listen to History"
Started to listen to the book, expecting it to be a bit of a drag, But the book was divided into parts Germans, Americans, Russions and the English, it started with the start of the Nazi,es and it finished with the start of the cold War.
The murdering of the disabled Men, Women and Children so that Hitler could have is perfect race, Pearl Harbour.
He puts youin the story.
It made me have a few tears
I once said to Audible that once i have listened to a book i need it to be removed But not this one
"Brings history and the world close"
Epic living history.
I had a particular soft spot for Chuck, whose story was touching and tragic, and for Daisy who in the end reminded me more of her uncle than her father.
John Lee is a delight to listen to, as he has been in all the audiobooks of his that I've had the pleasure of hearing. Particularly impressive in the Century series is that it seems John is able to give just about every one of the numerous characters their own voice, and make them easily recognisable to the listener from only hearing the character speak.
Where history and great stories meet.
Ken Follett's storytelling and John Lee's stellar performance combine to create an incredibly powerful and compelling experience that really allows the listener to actually empathise with individuals from just about every ideology and viewpoint.
The first book, Fall of Giants, had even more magic and depth than Winter of the World, but this is certainly a very worthy sequel. I would recommend it to anyone.
The second book in the Century Trilogy and was just as engaging and thrilling as the first. The 5 families are older and have their own offspring who now join in the story. This time the book moves alongside WW2 and it captures what ordinary people in the UK, US, Germany and Russia deal with it. Some surprising scenes that I didn't expect but the story wouldn't have been as good without them. Can't wait for book 3 to appear.
"Another great read"
John Lee is just the best narrator. He managed to continue with voices he had all ready created in the first novel and introduce a series of new ones for this.
I loved that the character focus had moved to a younger generation. Maud and her family's tale moved me the most.
All though Eric was only a small part character I enjoyed the opinion that his sister came to have for her brother
Yes John Lee was able to magician project the words of the novel to keep you listening
"Disappointing, cliche filled, cringe-fest"
Having quite enjoyed "Fall of Giants" I was happy to spend one of my credits on this sequel so I wasn't expecting it to be a great work of literature. However, I found this novel took the soap-opera nature of the first book and pushed it to its trash limits resulting in a story that was almost unreadable for me. I only kept listening in the hope it would improve but it sadly didn't.
I found the characters to be bland and one-dimensional meaning they were uninteresting and I was unmoved by their stories. I especially found "hero of the piece" Lloyd boring and couldn't really care about his storyline (especially the section in Spain) and found his eventual wife "snobby upper-class girl turned socialist" Daisy equally tedious. Their chemistry was non-existent and their relationship unbelievable.
I understand this book is the sequel to "Fall of Giants" and as such it focuses on the next generation of characters although I couldn't help but think some of the characters from the first book were treated rather badly in this! Characters I had grown fond of and was interested to hear the rest of their story were relegated to bit-players. I was especially disappointed by the sudden death of Walter and the lack of attention given to Maude's grief. Having followed this couple's story throughout the previous novel I felt a little short-changed. Fitz became more or less an extra, along with Billy. About the only original character that is treated well is Ethel (if verging on canonisation).
The story was full of cliches and therefore predictable which prompted many eye-rolling moments from me. I thought the writing was poor and clunky especially when it came to the dialogue which often felt stilted.
The novel is pushed further into trash territory by the cringe inducing sex scenes/references to sex! I'm no prude and not averse to a well placed sex scene/reference that advances the plot or contributes to character development. However, I felt in this novel they were often superfluous and felt a little voyeuristic.
I think John Lee as narrator was the saving grace of the audiobook. I think he did an excellent job providing different voices for each of the many, many characters. His foreign accents were excellent (to my ear anyway!). It really helped you to keep track of the characters as you instantly knew who was speaking.
Must do better Ken Follett! Although based on the deterioration present in this book from the first, I don't hold out much hope for the next in the series.
The various accents used by John Lee
Not yet, narration.but have just bought Fall of Giants, partly because of the excellent
Very emotional - I couldn't get it out of my mind for ages after each listening session
This is one of the best of have listened to After fall of giants which was excellent
There are several moments - the descriptions of the people of the east end stopping the brown shirts marching through their streets - the descriptions of the rise of the Nazis in Berlin in 1933 and the rise of the soviets in Berlin in 1948 so very sad
The sheer detail and life he gives the book.
Can't wait for the final book in the trilogy
What a wonderful way to learn history, the general outline of the story is all true and in my opinion the families depicted in this book could very well be our relatives stories. I know my family lived through very much the same things. Ken Follett is a master Story Teller!!
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