Ken Follett here follows up his number-one New York Times best-seller Fall of Giants with a brilliant, pause-resistant epic about the heroism and honor of World War II and the dawn of the atomic age.
Fall of Giants, the first novel in his extraordinary new historical epic, The Century Trilogy, was an international sensation, acclaimed as "sweeping and fascinating, a book that will consume you for days or weeks" (USA Today) and "grippingly told and readable to the end" (The New York Times Book Review). "If the next two volumes are as lively and entertaining as Fall of Giants," said The Washington Post, "they should be well worth waiting for."
Winter of the World picks up right where the first book left off, as its five interrelated families - American, German, Russian, English, Welsh - enter a time of enormous social, political, and economic turmoil, beginning with the rise of the Third Reich, through the Spanish Civil War and the great dramas of World War II, up to the explosions of the American and Soviet atomic bombs.
Carla von Ulrich, born of German and English parents, finds her life engulfed by the Nazi tide until she commits a deed of great courage and heartbreak.... American brothers Woody and Chuck Dewar, each with a secret, take separate paths to momentous events, one in Washington, the other in the bloody jungles of the Pacific.... English student Lloyd Williams discovers in the crucible of the Spanish Civil War that he must fight Communism just as hard as Fascism.... Daisy Peshkov, a driven American social climber, cares only for popularity and the fast set, until the war transforms her life, not just once but twice, while her cousin Volodya carves out a position in Soviet intelligence that will affect not only this war - but the war to come.
These characters and many others find their lives inextricably entangled as their experiences illuminate the cataclysms that marked the century. From the drawing rooms of the rich to the blood and smoke of battle, their lives intertwine, propelling the reader into dramas of ever-increasing complexity.
As always with Ken Follett, the historical background is brilliantly researched and rendered, the action fast-moving, the characters rich in nuance and emotion. With passion and the hand of a master, he brings us into a world we thought we knew, but now will never seem the same again.
©2012 Ken Follett (P)2012 Penguin Audiobooks
I love books!
The second book in the latest Follett trilogy continues. This one starts in 1933 and ends at the beginning of the cold war, taking you through World War II. It doesn't really shed any new light on the history from this period but if you are a WWII buff, you'll enjoy the perspective this book brings. It continues the family histories begun in the first book and weaves the story from the Russian, German, British and American sides. It was an enjoyable listen and I look forward to the third book in the series, whenever it comes out.
Can't stop listening
Following the characters from the first book through the second book gave a very personal account of the political and economic events. Some periods, like Hitler's rise to power, have been covered in so many books, but other periods are rarely covered. Follett's books followed simultaneous stories. If you liked "Pillars of the Earth", you will love this.
John Lee's voice is very easy to listen to for long periods of time. Great for long car trips.
I'm starting to wonder, after hundreds of Audible books and four years as a subscriber, if I am burning out on listening to books. The last several I've listened to have been underwhelming. Winter of the World is, unfortunately, no exception, and even goes beyond underwhelming to just plain annoying.
I doubt anyone would imagine Ken Follett's work as literature. It can be entertaining, and I liked Pillars of the Earth and World Without End well enough.The characters were interesting and the way their lives overlapped and entwined kept me involved. But the wheels started to come off with Fall of Giants, where a suspicious character makes repeated appearances without his role ever coming to resolution. What was he doing there?
Winter of the World is, alas, not even entertaining. Much has been written with World War II as a backdrop, and perhaps there's not much new to say about it. If that's the case, then don't write a book. This one is just a rehash of things that have already been explored, and with far greater skill, by other authors - such as, but not limited to, Herman Wouk.
Plenty of things in Winter of the World ring hollow and fall flat. An acute example involves Robert, a man who lost his restaurant to the brown shirts in Germany, and who witnessed the brutal murder of a loved one at their hands (graphically described early in the book). Three years later, safe in England, he's talking to another witness to this awful event, and he comments that his old restaurant in Berlin is still open. The two pause as if in reflection, and Robert then comments, "They don't use white tablecloths anymore." Really? Is this the level of bitterness and regret engendered by witnessed - and narrowly escaped - brutality?
John Lee is a narrator I usually enjoy, but perhaps he realized he was not narrating a Great American Novel. He falls in and out of stereotypical accents, and worse, he whines to indicate a young woman's delivery of dialogue. It was bad enough that half the time, I couldn't figure out if I was listening to a sex-starved 10 year old or a lusty young woman scouting for a rich husband. The aforementioned Robert is said to speak flawless unaccented English, but then Lee slips into his dialogue with a German edge on the accent.
All in all, it's just tiresome. And at nearly 32 hours, that's a long time to feel tired.
I am sure historical fiction is tough, especially such a large book filled with details. I thought this book was a little too much history and not enough fiction to emphasize the characters. The narrator is good (not great). Would recommend. Hoping for a great finale.
For this fan of Fall of Giants there was nothing better than hearing John Lee pick up where my favorite players in Europe, Russia and America left off. Winter of the World covers the period leading up to and the resolution of WWII. It is not necessary to read the series launch, Fall of Giants (I do highly recommend that book on its own merit).
This was maybe even more enjoyable then the first book as I had a better grasp of the history shaping the lives of the characters. Once again Follet spoils his reader with fascinating historical detail and context. My only complaint is how Follet contrives to interweave these families and puts someone at almost every import event in the time period. 31 hours wouldn’t suffer from a new character or two.
Historical fiction fans should not miss this one.
John Lee is perfection. His heavily accented reads are a treat for the ears.
Ken Follett tells the World War II saga not only from inside Germany but inside German households, families and customs. After a long day I love coming home where life is peaceful and safe but German families lost this restorative tranquilness as the Natzi takeover grows into an uneasy lifestyle. The book is definately part of a series and is a better listen for having completed part one. John Lee, once again, does an outstanding job!
Here is the response I received from customer care regarding the missing sections:
My name is Giovanny and I am happy to help!
I understand that you would like to know what parts of the “Winter of the Worlds” was missing so you can re-download it.. In part 3 at 3:53:49 there was a gap of information missing. The characters were discussing a new music student suddenly the playback jumps from that to the characters talking about spying on WW2 and then it jumps again to a different section in the book. To access the missing part please delete the current copy that you have of part 3 and re-download it from your My Library section.
As for the book itself, it took awhile for me to get back into the characters. My first impression was that this was a cheap imitation of Herman Wouk's Winds of War / War and Remembrance -- a soap opera using WW2 as a backdrop for the lead characters to interact with historical luminaries as they struggle with their own trials and tribulations.For this type of fiction I have to give Wouk the edge, but that may be because I read him first. By the end of the book I felt it did stand on its own and was a worthwhile read, though not as good Fall of Giants. I will download part 3 when it is released.
I just achieved App Master!! I never thought I would make it this far!! Thanks Audible
I just finished the second book of the Century Trilogy, it was great. I thought Ken could have talked about the characters in the first book more,he went straight to all their kids and hit and missed with everyone else.I think the book is great with the history timeline how he puts everyone in the real true event is awesome!!! The love story's the family troubles makes the book real... I can't wait tell the third book.. Must read but start with the first book you will love it!!! One day the Century Trilogy will be on the big screen!!! I Hope!!!
The Book Snob for Paris Life Magazine.
Very enjoyable sweeping historical novel on WWII. Again amazed at Folet's ability to write a compelling story on so broad a subject in such an engrossing way. He's definitely grown as a writer. Also, I liked the narration.
So much of this story has been told before in the Herman Wouk book. At every turn of history there is a character present to witness the event.
The accent of the Buffalo woman is NOT a New York City accent - a very grating rendition.
I bought 2 of these audiobooks, not going to buy the 3rd one. Sorry, author... but enough is enough.
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