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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

Critic Reviews

"[Follett] is a commanding storyteller who has taken on an impossibly large task and accomplished it with passion, intelligence, and skill. Like its predecessors, Edge of Eternity is a solid, rigorously researched work of popular fiction. It's an honest entertainment that brings back vivid, sometimes painful, memories of the not-too-distant past." (The Washington Post)

"Edge of Eternity is as compulsively readable a mighty page-turner as its two predecessors." (The Seattle Times)  

"Hugely ambitious, the trilogy serves as a massive history lesson as well as an example of good, old-fashioned storytelling." (The New York Daily News

What listeners say about Edge of Eternity

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What a disappointment

When I began this trilogy, I had such high hopes. Fall of Giants was an excellent book. The characters were richly developed and their stories kept me captivated. I felt I learned more about World War I and the Russian revolution than I ever had in school.

Winter of the World was a worthy follow up. World War II stories are a passion of mine, so I looked forward to following the characters from the first novel and their children through the turmoil of Nazi Germany and its aftermath. I found the characters were still interesting, and the story was historically accurate, but I began to notice the author's political views seeping into the story. It was a distraction, but not so much that I didn't enjoy the book.

But Edge of Eternity was a huge disappointment. The author's personal political beliefs completely overshadowed the story. Development of the new generation of characters was almost non-existent. And worse, the author's revisionist version of historical events was beyond the pale. Other than the acknowledgement of Jack Kennedy's womanizing, you would have thought the Kennedy brothers were saints sent directly from heaven to save America. Every conservative in the story is portrayed as an evil racist buffoon, and while every liberal character in the story is constantly having sex, the only conservative non-historical character in the book can't get laid by anyone but massage parlor prostitutes. President Carter's entire tenure of office is glossed over in about 15 minutes, and there is not a single mention of the terrible economy, lines at the gas pumps, or the Iran Hostage Crisis. President Reagan is actually called a mass murder several times. He receives zero credit for the fall of communism in eastern Europe - the author gives all credit to the Gorbachev and makes him out as a hero. George H.W. Bush was portrayed as a bumbling idiot, and it is implied that Hezbollah terrorism was actually caused by American and Israeli aggression.

Unlike the periods covered in the first two books, I lived through the 70s and 80s, and I found the author's portrayal of the times and the historical figures during these times to be disingenuous and despicable. I have enjoyed other works of historical fiction by this author, but this one really turned me off, and I'm not sure I'll try any other books of modern fiction by him. I would much rather find other authors who can tell a historical story without spinning it to suit their personal politics.

43 people found this helpful

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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.

21 people found this helpful

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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.

55 people found this helpful

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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!

47 people found this helpful

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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.

93 people found this helpful

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Revisionist history

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

John Lee is a great narrator and Ken Follettt should stick to spy novels.

Any additional comments?

I really like historical fiction, but this book has taken way too many liberties to be biased towards progressive politics. This could have been a great trilogy on the history of the 20th century giving perspectives from all sides.

7 people found this helpful

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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.

77 people found this helpful

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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.

12 people found this helpful

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way to one sided

Hard to finish when you have to hear how Ken thinks that only social moderates are the only holy and beautiful people of the world.
Ken and Bernie would make a nice couple.

5 people found this helpful

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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

41 people found this helpful