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
Ken Follett does a wonderful job of writing the history of wars between 1930's and 1950's. Through rich characters we see the effects of war on the US, British, Russians and Germans. Lives are torn apart, brought together, loves are won and lost through these countries as their citizens endure horror and hardships of war.
Should one just read the actual history for the time, one would miss the individual emotions, the mind numbing acceptance of some people and why, the breaking of hearts, the turmoil in families, the devastation to both land and humans, the fierceness of beliefs, the bravery, the self serving actions of some and the political thought behind some actions. Follett brings all of these things to life in his characters and descriptions.
Get ready for a long ride, but be sure not to miss a minute.
This is definitely in the top 10 for audio books.
I love that I am learning so much about historical culture. Ken Follett has an amazing ability to really bring a story to life. He describes the details you didn't think you needed to know, but somehow make a very vivid picture.
I recently began searching out books narrated by John Lee (that's how good he is). He flows between characters effortlessly & I can tell who's talking by his accents for each character. John Lee is the best narrator I have listened to yet!
Among the best I have heard.
Great story intertwined with historical events. Careful, time will pass in a hurry.
As the World War Turns.
Near the top of the list.
As good as the first book in the series. A can't miss purchase. I can hardly wait for the third book.
What I enjoyed about the listen was the excellent change in character and inflection in the narrator's voice. He invoked the feelings of pain and sorrow as well as heartfelt happiness. Great narrator!
The account of the bombing of Pearl Harbor was so moving and sad. The description of the event made me feel as if I were living that horrible attack in history.
Lloyd Williams and Ethel Williams were my two favorite characters. They were distinctly performed by John Lee. Excellent job!
Cycles of Power!
I truly can't wait for the third book!
Yes,Follett does not allow you to get board. John Lee takes words and makes then pictures.
History made personal with people that are believable.
He makes each one seam real. No favorite. If you took any character away you would loose a part of another character. You would have gray instead of color
Follett get better with every book!
Another narrator - couldn't listen to it!
Don't know yet
Don't know but I couldn't listen to John Lee.
Haven't read it yet
I have listened to many audiobooks over the years and this ranks right at the top.
The way the author humanizes world events and makes history come alive.
It is amazing all the dialecs that he is able to come up with for the characters from all parts of the world.
No, I listen to it as I drive to work. Much too long for one setting.
Makes me look forward to my drive to and from work.
Winter of the World is classic Follett. His control of narrative, here, is as strong as ever. Unfortunately, the material is not as strong as that of Fall of Empires, the preceding book in this trilogy.
And when the narrative is so tightly controlled, the weakness of the story-line becomes more obvious. There are many arcs and themes in Winter of the World that make me want to fast forward through certain scenes, and that's rare for me when it comes to Ken Follett.
Winter of the World sometimes seems pedantic in the way that Follett is so clearly trying to educate us. In Pillars of the Earth and World Without End, the story-lines and the characters were so strong that the history just blended seamlessly with the narrative.
In Winter of the World, the history-telling sometimes overtakes the story-line, and I feel I'm being instructed, rather than immersed in a fictional world.
Still, though, this is great writing, and I'm always eager to get back to my iPod to hear more. Winter of the World may not be Follett's best, but it's still better than most historical fiction out there. I still recommend it.
Ken Follett's sweeping historical stories are captivating, but John Lee's narration is unmatched. John Lee brings the characters and their stories alive with his accents and various voices. Quite a storyteller. Looking forward to the third novel!
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