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Publisher's Summary

Fall of Giants is Ken Follett's magnificent new historical epic. The first novel in The Century Trilogy, it follows the fates of five interrelated families—American, German, Russian, English, and Welsh—as they move through the world-shaking dramas of the First World War, the Russian Revolution, and the struggle for women's suffrage.

Thirteen-year-old Billy Williams enters a man's world in the Welsh mining pits…. Gus Dewar, an American law student rejected in love, finds a surprising new career in Woodrow Wilson's White House…. Two orphaned Russian brothers, Grigori and Lev Peshkov, embark on radically different paths half a world apart when their plan to emigrate to America falls afoul of war, conscription, and revolution…. Billy's sister, Ethel, a housekeeper for the aristocratic Fitzherberts, takes a fateful step above her station, while Lady Maud Fitzherbert herself crosses deep into forbidden territory when she falls in love with Walter von Ulrich, a spy at the German embassy in London….

These characters and many others find their lives inextricably entangled as, in a saga of unfolding drama and intriguing complexity, Fall of Giants moves seamlessly from Washington to St. Petersburg, from the dirt and danger of a coal mine to the glittering chandeliers of a palace, from the corridors of power to the bedrooms of the mighty. As always with Ken Follett, the historical background is brilliantly researched and rendered, the action fast-moving, the characters rich in nuance and emotion. It is destined to be a new classic.

In future volumes of The Century Trilogy, subsequent generations of the same families will travel through the great events of the rest of the 20th century, changing themselves—and the century itself. With passion and the hand of a master, Follett brings us into a world we thought we knew, but now will never seem the same again.

©2010 Kevin Follett (P)2010 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"A big Book, Follett''s hugely ambitious saga is a sweeping success. Ken Follett has hit another one out of the park with the initial installment of the hugely ambitious Century Trilogy. His fans will rejoice at the richness, complexity, historical sweep and simmering lust in a saga spanning the years 1911 to 1923." ( Newark Star Ledger)
"A dark novel, motivated by an unsparing view of human nature and a clear-eyed scrutiny of an ideal peace. It is not the least of Follett''s feats that the reader finishes this near 1000-page book intrigued and wanting more." ( Chicago Sun-Times)
"[Follett] meticulously reconstructs an era and leads us through the follies and occasional heroics of its protagonists real and imaginary. He is masterly in conveyers so much drama and historical information so vividly...Grippingly told, and readable to the end." ( New York Times Book Review)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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    8,829
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    1,133
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Performance

  • 4.6 out of 5.0
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Story

  • 4.5 out of 5.0
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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Entertaining, Informative a bit too Steemy

Any additional comments?

I enjoyed this book. It's been a long time since I sat in a history class, so I am glad to feel more up to speed with the specifics of this time period. The fictional characters are a bit like Forest Gump, showing up at many major battles and historic events, but it helped to tell the story and was able to portray the events from multiple perspectives. I spend a lot of time in the car, so the length worked in my favor.There are a few parts where the book gets to specific in describing sexual encounters of the characters. It felt a bit out of place to me, and prevents me from being able to recommend it beyond the adults I know very well.The narrator does an excellent job with the various accents required for this book. Well done Mr. Lee!

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Epic tale great characters

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes...I tend to like epic sci fi books like Time enough for love by Heinlein...this book/series has a similar scope but weaving through a narrower time period

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Fantastic! Excellent narration as well.

After reading Pillars of the Earth and World Without End I came into Fall of Giants with high hopes, and I was not let down. Again Follett creates a rich world full of interesting characters. Now that I have young children I could not find the time to read even the first book in this trilogy and so I purchased the audible version. The narrator John Lee does an amazing job, switching between the different accents and even does wonders with the female characters. I feel that his narration really added an extra dimension to the story. When I finished the book I was holding back tears and I still cannot pinpoint why I was on the verge of crying. I suppose it was just because I felt I had gone through such a journey with the characters, and was amazed at where their lives had led them. I cannot wait to start the second book in this trilogy and I'm ecstatic that John Lee narrates that one as well. It has also had the unintended side effect of making me want to get PotE and WWE as audible books to revisit those characters and their stories. Well done, Ken Follett and John Lee.

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  • Carol
  • United States
  • 11-18-14

Wonderful Historical Review!

What did you love best about Fall of Giants?

The weaving of different characters, with varied backgrounds, into a moving story that blends with historical facts.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Fall of Giants?

Seeing the development of strong women who take on increasingly important societal roles.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Would have wanted to, but it's way to long for one sitting!! I wouldn't recommend going long periods of time between listening - too hard to keep track of plots and characters.

Any additional comments?

I have begun listening to the sequel and it is just as good!

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Excellent historical insight

Undeniably well done, the reader is excellent. I love history and while I was not "invested" in the story, I certainly found the context infinitely listenable and if you have an interest in history I have not found much better.

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Glad I took a chance

What made the experience of listening to Fall of Giants the most enjoyable?

The reader is all tens and well worth the time.

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

He is what made the book to me.

If you could rename Fall of Giants, what would you call it?

betrayal of giants

Any additional comments?

This was just an all around great combo of reader and writer. I will get book 2.

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nither good history or good story telling

The story/stories tend to jump all over the place with nothing to hold them together. I will not buy anything else in this series.

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I was bored and thought it would never end.

Is there anything you would change about this book?

It was a decent overview of the events surrounding WWI but it would have been better with fewer characters that were developed more fully.

If you’ve listened to books by Ken Follett before, how does this one compare?

I had read Pillars of the Earth which I thought was very good. I had not listened to any of his books before.

Would you be willing to try another one of John Lee’s performances?

Absolutely not. I thought he read like he was reading an instruction manual instead of a novel. His voice sounded forced and rushed. I wonder if I would have liked the story better if he had not been the narrator.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

No

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Follett's finest!

Would you consider the audio edition of Fall of Giants to be better than the print version?

John Lee's voice and talents are perfect for this book. Every character is distinctive, male or female, without seeming to strain. I read this book once and have now listened to it three times. (I decided to re-listen to the 1 and 2 to get my memory ready for Edge of Eternity.) Every listen is like a long vacation with a treasured old friend, even better if possible than the one before. I loved Pillars and its sequel, but this is I believe the finest of Follett's work. Fantastic characters bring history to life. My first trips through this book, reading and listening, actually made World War One interesting, which takes some doing. And the rest of the century makes so much sense through the eyes of its first twenty years. Follett does such a great job of making characters you can truly see and understand that you can appreciate why they believe as they do regardless of what you might believe yourself or what knowledge of how history's experiments worked out reveals that they could not know.

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  • Timothy
  • Springfield, OR, United States
  • 09-27-14

Not my bag

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I'd recommend this book to those of my friends that loved history and politics. Personally, there wasn't enough love for the characters to hold me through all the political maneuvering.