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Publisher's Summary

Edge of Eternity is the sweeping, passionate conclusion to Ken Follett's extraordinary historical epic, The Century Trilogy.

Throughout these books, Follett has followed the fortunes of five intertwined families - American, German, Russian, English, and Welsh - as they make their way through the twentieth century. Now they come to one of the most tumultuous eras of all: the enormous social, political, and economic turmoil of the 1960s through the 1980s, from civil rights, assassinations, mass political movements and Vietnam to the Berlin Wall, the Cuban Missile Crisis, presidential impeachment, revolution - and rock and roll.

East German teacher Rebecca Hoffman discovers she's been spied on by the Stasi for years and commits an impulsive act that will affect her family for the rest of their lives. George Jakes, the child of a mixed-race couple, bypasses a corporate law career to join Robert F. Kennedy's Justice Department, and finds himself in the middle not only of the seminal events of the civil rights battle, but a much more personal battle of his own. Cameron Dewar, the grandson of a senator, jumps at the chance to do some official and unofficial espionage for a cause he believes in, only to discover that the world is a much more dangerous place than he'd imagined. Dimka Dvorkin, a young aide to Nikita Khrushchev, becomes a prime agent both for good and for ill as the United States and the Soviet Union race to the brink of nuclear war, while his twin sister, Tania, carves out a role that will take her from Moscow to Cuba to Prague to Warsaw - and into history.

As always with Follett, the historical background is brilliantly researched and rendered, the action fast-moving, the characters rich in nuance and emotion. With the hand of a master, he brings us into a world we thought we knew but now will never seem the same again.

©2014 Ken Follett (P)2014 Penguin Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Some good, some bad

Would you try another book from Ken Follett and/or John Lee?

Yes.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

Interesting to have the various simultaneous historical streams, but the dialog was terrible, most of the (excessive) sex scenes cringe-worthy, and the characters and situations (apart from historical ones) very contrived. I almost felt bad for the narrator, having to keep a straight "face" while reading some of the scenes.

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

I think he did well, considering the material. He's a very good reader in general, but there were parts of this book that were not meant to be read by him.

Was Edge of Eternity worth the listening time?

I would have cut parts of the book, or at least edited it. Having to listen to contrived situations and unnatural sex scenes got old after a while, but it's hard to skip because the story moves fast.

Any additional comments?

More amusing than a history book, but definitely not a literary novel.Also, some of the characters change personality too much, or simply disappear without notice, throughout the saga.

51 of 54 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Weakest of Trilogy

I have been anxiously awaiting this third book of what had been a great series. I have read everything written by Ken Follett and loved them. I was severely disappointed by this book. It not only did not have the interesting characters that made the prior two books great, the stories not very engaging and dragged. Whereas I had trouble putting down the prior books, I could not wait to reach the end of this one.
I was very disappointed. If this were the first Ken Follett book that I read, I would not have gotten any others.

86 of 93 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Disappointing End to the Trilogy

I very much enjoyed the first two book in this trilogy. The thing that made the first two books so good is exactly what made the last book so poor - CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT!

It is simply amazing to me how this happened. The initial characters, who were obviously the parents and grand parents of the characters in the final book, were simply swept to the side, and the new characters were simply introduced as if their characters were already defined by the parents and grand parents.

Likewise, there was no real story line outside of the activities surrounding the historical events that occurred through the timeline of this third edition.

I am a HUGE fan of Follett and will anxiously await his next book. If you are a Follett fan, you still have to listen or read the trilogy. It's worth it, but keep in mind the last book just goes through the motions. I would also recommend any of his other books, most of all the Pillars and World without End books.

John Lee is masterful as always, truly one of the best narrators in the business.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Borderline Trashy

For a story I can say I liked, I have a lot of complaints.

Something bothered me about the book… I can’t quite put my finger on it, but if I could I would have to wash it. It felt so 80s to me and I am not sure I can explain that sentiment. Is it because it was in the 80s that first read sweeping dramatic sagas written by Judith Krantz and Barbara Taylor Bradford? Normally Ken Follett’s books are great, but this one was borderline trashy.

Here are my top 2 complaints:

1 – It’s just too long. I didn’t feel that way with Books 1 and 2 (perhaps because the events are closer in time to my reality and therefore more interesting by default) but on so many occasions I felt like it was dragging on with pointless scenes and I often found myself wondering what was the point? It was as if he was writing just for the pleasure of it, as opposed to advancing the story.

2 – The Sex. Dear Lord! Ken Follett just needs to write a dirty book and get it out of his system. Skimming over other reader’s reviews, I see I am in the majority on this one. It was so gratuitous and cringe-worthy that it became simply ridiculous. Every single scene winds up with someone in the sac, or talking about it, or fantasising about it, or reminiscing about it, or planning it, or being coy and alluding to how much (and how hard) they want it. I felt like the actual story was just filler to get to yet another sex scene. It was awkward after a while and extremely tiresome.

This book could have used a strong and merciless edit to cut it down to half the length, then it would have been a page-turner!

32 of 35 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Good thing this isn't Follett's 1st novel.

I felt I was watching a version of Forrest Gump where we follow the girlfriend Jenny Curran and her messed up life.
I've always thought Follett was fair with all characters but, this book is just over the top. Over half the book is getting through the Kennedys.
Reagan funds terrorism and is a murderer, in fact, all republicans, the CIA, the FBI and military are the bad guys. The heroes are journalist, lawyers and rock stars. Thatcher doesn't even get mentioned. Gorbachev and the price of oil ended the USSR. I could go on and on about huge events that were ignored but Follett fans are going to buy this just as I did.
The only redeeming part is the wrapping up of the trilogy.

68 of 77 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Write By Numbers

SO incredibly disappointing. At first I was OK with listening to the ridiculously trivialized view of history, but then it got simply BORING. To be honest, I have a mere 45 minutes left to listen to and I had to go off and read a 'real' book. ZERO character development: The thing that made Follett's previous pseudo-historical pieces fun was that the characters seemed to come to life. NONE of that here. The characters are cartoon stereotypes who are obviously 'acting' with the benefit of historical hindsight. ZERO subtlety, Mr. Follett. Did you have interns write this or did you simply phone it it? (And ZERO plot: A fast-forward through the last century's main events with the characters--every single one of them--having inane discussions or thoughts about the other characters' butts or nipples or the possibility of sleeping with them...even as cataclysmic events are supposedly taking place.) #ACartoon

37 of 43 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

EXTREMELY Disappointing

I loved the first two installments of this series and could not wait for the final chapter to be released. I pre-ordered the Edge of Eternity and dove in on the day it was released. The first two books made you deeply connected to a fantastic cast of characters and provided a history lesson wrapped in a captivating set of story lines.

Edge of Eternity unfortunately goes off the rails because of a clear and frustrating political bias. The agenda is so transparent and angry that it not only makes the book difficult to listen to at times but the anti-republican bias leads to a disjointed read. The author goes so far out of his way to take shots at conservatives and ignore any possible positives stemming from the actions of players like GW Bush, Ronald Reagan, and Richard Nixon that the book ignores relevant events. I don't enjoy overt bias from Republicans or Democrats. I feel that it takes away from the experience and, in my opinion, it all but destroys this book and spoils the series. I gave the first two books five stars. This installment will get one star from me.

As an example, the Berlin Wall plays a prominent part in the book but never once does the book mention Reagan's demand that Mikhail Gorbachev tear down the wall. As a matter of fact, as you read you will learn that not only did Reagan and Bush have nothing to do with the fall of communism (according to Follett's book it was the media and liberals in the US but the real hero was Gorbachev) but they had to be stage managed in order not to destroy the world and it is in spite of them and their foolishness that the iron curtain came down.

You will also hear Reagan referred to as a mass murderer several times while middle eastern terrorists are painted as reluctant men simply retaliating for American atrocities. Nixon at least is portrayed as a fumbling criminal (not completely untrue) but Reagan receives much harsher treatment.

The book has other flaws. The majority of the characters are rich and famous. Those that aren't rich and famous are powerful players on the international political scene. It reaches a point where you simply cannot suspend disbelief. The only characters that do not end up super successful are those with a conservative bent. They are miserable, bitter, petty and even evil. Every Vietnam era soldier written about is a criminal the commits rape and murder while the courageous actress who poses on a enemy tank is penned as a heroic figure.

It's all just a bit much. I don't bother reading books that vilify liberals and I dearly wish this book didn't go out the way to make devils of all conservatives. John Lee does a brilliant job as always. I gave him five stars. Sorry if this turned into a rant but I am deeply disappointed by a book I looked forward to for so long.

127 of 150 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Disappointed

Would you try another book from Ken Follett and/or John Lee?

I'm not sure. I really liked the first two and I was looking forward to this one. But I don't think it measures up to the others.

Has Edge of Eternity turned you off from other books in this genre?

No, not at all. I like the genre very much.

Which scene was your favorite?

Martin Luther King's meeting with George

Was Edge of Eternity worth the listening time?

Mmm. Well, some of the time. But I wanted it to get better and it didn't. There was such an opportunity to tell this story well but there were quite a few discrepancies.

Example: "the FDP was not socialist like the SPD" when the FDP was a lot more liberal leaning.

The parts about East Germany. I was in East Germany several times as a child. My parents couldn't afford camp in the West, so I went to the camp in the East. Lots of love and good food is what I remember. It's a bit one-sided. I also know a lot of "Fluechtlinge" (refugees) from the East and they didn't always have an easy time.

Maybe I didn't like it as much because this was "my" times and I was so familiar with the happenings.

Any additional comments?

The performer has a very nice voice and reads well. However, his accents are not always on the mark. Particularly, the Maryland and DC accents are way to southern.

What really turned me off were the sex scenes every few minutes. They really didn't add anything to the story and just made me cringe. I won't even mention the Kennedy affair. We all know it went on but it was just a bit much.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Edge of Reality

Edge of Reality vs. Edge of Eternity

I am saddened to say that Mr. Follett has let his leftism ideology overwhelm his work. It’s not the Edge of Eternity it’s more like the edge of reality.
Mr. Follett’s previous book Pillars of the Earth was a wonderful book, with compelling characters against a backdrop of English history. The sequel World Without End was not bad. I mention these two books as it was due to these two books, and my interest in WWI that I read the trilogy that Edge of Eternity finished. I must say, with regret, that this final book in the trilogy was just terrible. The characters were not compelling and the history was distorted.
Mr Follett slanders his opponents (mostly American conservatives / Republicans), sets up situations and antidotes that are half truths and are designed to make his larger points but are just silly if the reader has any understanding about the history of the time. This happens over, and over, and over in the book to the point I struggled to keep going to the end.
Why not present the best argument and ideas and values of your opponents? Put their best ideas forward and then put yours forward and then make your case. In other words first tell the truth and then give your opinion. Mr. Follett cheats. Apparently truth is not a value to him.
In the end the book is awful and I pity the folks that get their history from this work.
This will be the last book by Mr. Follett that I will read.

80 of 97 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Romance novel mislabed as an historical epic.

What did you like best about Edge of Eternity? What did you like least?

Disappointing follow-up to Pillars of the Earth series, but it provided me an adequately long distraction from a boring commute. Fictional characters are predictable and non-engaging. Plot covers huge events in history without any interesting revelations to anyone who's taken a high school 20th century history course - not even the alleged multiple sexual encounters of JFK which are gratuitously described .

What three words best describe John Lee’s performance?

Tested beyond ability. I am a huge fan of John Lee but he couldn't believably do the multiple American, German, Russian, Cuban and Polish accents, much less imitating the well-known JFK, Martin Luther King, LBJ or Nixon voices.

Could you see Edge of Eternity being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

Yeah, sure. TV mini series would certainly match the superficial quality and gratuitous sex of this novel series.

37 of 45 people found this review helpful