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Winter of the World | [Ken Follett]

Winter of the World

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (236 )
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4.5 (201 )
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Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Rachel Fitzroy, Australia 02-27-13
    Rachel Fitzroy, Australia 02-27-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
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    5
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    "Just as good as the first"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steve Tapping, Australia 01-30-13
    Steve Tapping, Australia 01-30-13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    15
    3
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    Story
    "Wow - Fantastic the best book Ken has written!"
    Would you listen to Winter of the World again? Why?

    Absolutely i will read this book again when the next instalment is getting close to release. i have really enjoyed all of Ken work and this was no disappointment.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The character development and attention to detail for the period was superb, i really can’t wait for the final instalment in the millennium series and i am sure i will be left feeling hollow and wanting more when it is finished as I have with Ken’s other great series.


    Which character – as performed by John Lee – was your favorite?

    They were all great and i have enjopyed all of Johns work on Ken's books, John kept the characters voices consistent throughout the book, if i had to pick a faviourite it would be Ethel Leckwith


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Not really the whole book was emotional up and down


    Any additional comments?

    Cetainly a must read

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    sherry Salamina, Greece 01-29-13
    sherry Salamina, Greece 01-29-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    3
    3
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    "Ken Follett...need I say more?"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Definitely. It is an interesting tale, woven thru WWII history, told thru the eyes of very real and vivid characters.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I learned so much about the facts behind the facts of WWII.


    What about John Lee’s performance did you like?

    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.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    lloyd mollymook, Australia 01-25-13
    lloyd mollymook, Australia 01-25-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    70
    63
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    "ALONZO"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joon USA 01-08-13
    Joon USA 01-08-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    7
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    "A solid follow up to Fall of Giants"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Phil Wollongong West, Australia 12-28-12
    Phil Wollongong West, Australia 12-28-12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    1
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    "Not bad, but not Follett's best work"
    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brodie Mornington, Australia 12-04-12
    Brodie Mornington, Australia 12-04-12 Member Since 2009

    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.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    181
    ratings
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    148
    100
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    "How does he do it?"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brian BALMORAL,Brisbane Australia 11-13-12
    Brian BALMORAL,Brisbane Australia 11-13-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellent Entertainment"

    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.

    Brian

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nicola 10-29-12
    Nicola 10-29-12 Member Since 2015
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    2
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    "Enjoyable and addictive Ken Follett epic"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes. It's a stand alone, although nice if you have read the first one. It draws you in following all the interwoven characters.


    What other book might you compare Winter of the World to and why?

    I'm not sure anything can compare to Pillars of the Earth but it is similar.


    Have you listened to any of John Lee’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    John Lee always does a great job. It wouldn't be the same to listen to anyone else read a Ken Follett!


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    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


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Glenhazel, South Africa 10-29-12
    David Glenhazel, South Africa 10-29-12 Member Since 2009
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
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    "Great read, great history, but average writing"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Rachel
    Ireland
    10/6/12
    Overall
    "Winter of the World"

    I'm a Ken Follett historical history fan from way back. There has never been anything other than a well-researched, brilliant novel. John Lee narrates the books like they were written for him. But Winter of the World has proved even Ken Follett can outdo himself! This should be required reading for history classes in England and the U.S. I have never been a real fan of the history of WWII but this was the easiest and most captivating history lesson I have ever had. Couldnt stop listening. You just cannot go wrong with this book it's a real winner.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Kirstine
    Bonnyrigg, United Kingdom
    5/4/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A heart-breaking but wonderful sequel"

    This is part 2 of the Century Trilogy and I strongly recommend listening to part 1 first (Fall of Giants) as it introduces the characters and their offspring who straddle the series and whose lives illuminate the horrors and heroics of war more effectively than a merely historical account. As in part 1 of the trilogy this sequel blends fictional characters and real people together to achieve a narrative that left me feeling deeply involved in the lives of the imagined players before, during and after the Second World War. Both books powerfully evoke what life was like during these turbulent times in world history and help the listener to understand how and why these destructive wars came about. I found this second book more depressing than the first as the senseless inhumanity and cruelty was so extreme. Nevertheless I loved this magisterial book and felt sorry that it ended and eagerly look forward to part 3, Edge of Eternity, which, unfortunately is not yet available as an audiobook on this website, though it has been recorded.
    John Lee is a superb narrator who brings all the characters to life.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Mr
    Bicester, United Kingdom
    9/26/12
    Overall
    "Fantastic"

    Right, I have just finished listening to this epic story and I have to say I have not had an audio book like it. Having listened to the previous book in the series (Fall Of Giants) I thought that it would be impossible to top, well this one is even better. Great character development, well narrated and gripping. The story lines are interesting and in some parts deeply shocking with some, not graphic but disturbing descriptions of human behaviour. I noticed that this was a good book when I woke up in the middle of the night and started listening to the audio book hoping to drift off to sleep, then 4 hours later still awake I had to get up and go to work! The sooner the next book in the series is released the better. I would recommend this book to everyone!

    20 of 22 people found this review helpful
  • Steve
    Germany
    12/14/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Enthralling Follet"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Winter of the World to be better than the print version?

    The audible version is precisely that, it enabled me as a long distance Truck driver to listen to this book whilst driving . The printed version might have taken a whole lot longer to read and digest


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Follett's characters are all so real , I had no favourites they were all so well described and written


    What does John Lee bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    The narration was superb , the characters brought to life through the change in his Voice


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    There was no particular moment , all historical facts and events were so well intertwined .The Death of the Jewish Doctor was particularly upsetting and made you realise how frustrating it must have been to be an educated Jew under the Nazi Regime.


    Any additional comments?

    Follet, as never disappointed to date. With his trilogy of the world he as written Classics that will last forever

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Stuart007
    10/19/12
    Overall
    "Another cracker from Ken!"

    I love Ken's writing style, it's so easy to read and thus translates very well to audio. Well done John Lee. Beautifully read bringing another dimension to the characters and realism. This middle chapter of the trilogy was slightly too long - but what to leave out??? Super story cannot wait for number 3.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Ian
    Kilkenny, Ireland
    9/28/12
    Overall
    "Setting a standard"

    There are many stars in this audiobook. Obviously, the author is one - Ken Follett's majestic sweep both stirring and emotional. The next star is John Lee, who captures a wide variety of accents, from different countries and regions, as well as carrying off both male and female voices. He sets a standard for other narrators. Finally, the various characters shine like stars. Although it is obvious where Follett's sympathies lie, all the fictional characters are brought to life, while the 'real life' characters are realistic and invest the novel with further authenticity. You'll be sorry when you have finished, but then, in two years' time, we'll have the final installment. It is unlikely to reach the heights of this novel, though, given the history that 'Winter of the World' covers.

    11 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    Kempton Park, South Africa
    11/20/12
    Overall
    "The horror of war"

    Follet's story unfolds in a manner that really clamps ice around your heart, and vicariously one gets a feel for the horror that both civilians and soldiers experienced, and for the utterly bizarre social circumstances that war creates

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Barbara
    Merseyside, United Kingdom
    11/11/12
    Overall
    "Brilliant"

    Such well developed characters. I even felt for the Germans in this battle, you find yourself wanting them all to come out of it well.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Kurt
    Tunbridge Wells, United Kingdom
    11/8/12
    Overall
    "Great author, Brilliant narrator"

    I have enjoyed every one of Ken Follet's historical novels and this is certainly one of his best. But, what really makes the audiobook special is the narrator, John Lee. I am in awe of his narration skills and have begun to search for his books, regardless of the author. Thank you John for bringing great books to life.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • zomodo
    10/25/12
    Overall
    "Hmmmmmnnn....."

    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!)

    6 of 10 people found this review helpful

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