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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 (207 )
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  •  
    03-11-13
    03-11-13 Listener Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "History with a good story"

    I have always enjoyed Ken Follett and he didn't let me down with this book. He once more had me confused for a while with keeping up with the different characters as he zig zagged round the world, but then all of a sudden everything fell into place... great historical story teller...

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. Kuschel-Toerber Frankfurt, Hessen 01-08-13
    C. Kuschel-Toerber Frankfurt, Hessen 01-08-13 Member Since 2006

    Christian Kuschel

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not as good as Herman Wouk's WW2 novels"
    Where does Winter of the World rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    The first novel in the series, "Fall of Giants" was a bit better, in my opinion, and compared to Herman Wouk's epic novel "The Winds of War", Ken Follett's book could have gone a lot deeper.Having just listened to Herman Wouk's World War II novels (very similar approach with fictional characters and real contemporaries mixed), Ken Follett's book just falls short.

    Nevertheless, it's a very good effort to bring the horrors of war closer to today's audience.


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

    See above - "The Winds of War" by Herman Wouk.


    What about John Lee’s performance did you like?

    Solid, reliable performance.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Raglan, New Zealand 11-04-12
    Mark Raglan, New Zealand 11-04-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Another rip-snorter from Ken Follett"

    I read Ken Follett's two mediaeval England books and they were riveting. Tremendous stories that kept me transfixed throughout. Next I read his World War I book and I have just finished listening to 'Winter of the World', the second book of this 20th century trilogy - the story of World War II.

    Like the above-mentioned three books, this was a good entertaining story and very enjoyable. The only trouble is that Follett has to manufacture the plot so that every major character from his two basic families (Russian and Welsh) appears at key moments in the war and intervenes to change the whole course of the conflict: inventing the atom bomb, stopping Hitler from systematically killing disabled people, forming the united nations, passing the Nazi invasion plans to the Russians etc, etc.

    Unfortunately, this stretches the credulity of the listener and it is always in the back of your mind that two families couldn't have had such an impact. This wasn't a problem with the mediaeval novels, because they were based in a small country with a small population , so it wasn't as far-fetched that the key characters could have such an influence on major historical events.

    As for the narrator, he was generally pretty good, but he struggled a bit with some of the accents. At one point I wasn't sure if his Welshman was a Geordie or an Indian!

    These were the only blemishes on what was otherwise a great listen.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anne Aarhus N, VA, United States 10-03-12
    Anne Aarhus N, VA, United States 10-03-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    "Listen and learn"

    I really looked forward to this book. I'm not disappointed.

    I must say that the most annoying thing about this audio book is that I personally really didn't enjoy the fact that John Lee makes voices - especially because it means that large parts of it is spoken in a German accent - sort of. I much prefer the reader to just READ the book aloud. I really think making voices are not suitable for a book for adults.

    But I do see that other reviewers like it so I guess it's just a matter of preference.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wendy Queenstown, New Zealand 05-31-13
    Wendy Queenstown, New Zealand 05-31-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Great Read Ken Follett Wins again"

    Another great book in Ken Follett's series - I love most of his books and John Lee is a fabulous narrator

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew Parker south australia 05-08-13
    Andrew Parker south australia 05-08-13

    werdna park

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
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    "An excellent follow up to Bk 1"
    What did you love best about Winter of the World?

    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


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

    Fall of GIants


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

    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!


    Who was the most memorable character of Winter of the World and why?

    Lloyd Williams but just a touch naïve


    Any additional comments?

    worth a listen

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alan Mexico 03-11-13
    Alan Mexico 03-11-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Great book, it is a shame the audio skips."
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Yes, follet is a great writer, it is a pity the recording is not well produced.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Winter of the World?

    All the book is great


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of John Lee?

    no, he is great


    Do you think Winter of the World needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    It does, in fact I believe it is a trilogy, we are missing one last book, it should be published late this year.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peter Randburg, South Africa 03-11-13
    Peter Randburg, South Africa 03-11-13 Member Since 2011
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    "History though story"
    If you could sum up Winter of the World in three words, what would they be?

    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


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Maud - Complex and difficult choices she made


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

    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.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rachel Fitzroy, Australia 02-27-13
    Rachel Fitzroy, Australia 02-27-13
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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
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    "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
  • Showing: 1-10 of 19 results PREVIOUS12NEXT
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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.

    8 of 8 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.

    6 of 6 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!

    19 of 21 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
  • Stuart
    Leicester, United Kingdom
    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
  • Zoey
    London, United Kingdom
    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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