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Fall of Giants Audiobook

Fall of Giants: The Century Trilogy, Book 1

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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.

Exclusive interview: Ken Follett and John Lee Talk about Fall of Giants.

©2010 Kevin Follett (P)2010 Penguin Audio

What the Critics Say

"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 Rating

4.4 (13211 )
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  •  
    Marlene Wolfville, NS, Canada 12-21-13
    Marlene Wolfville, NS, Canada 12-21-13 Member Since 2010
    ratings
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    5
    2
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    "this is really over rated"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    I really dislike everything about the book.


    Has Fall of Giants turned you off from other books in this genre?

    Yes!


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

    Probably not


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Disappointment


    Any additional comments?

    I want to return this, and have tried to follow the 'you can return' path, but it leads in circles. Frustrating.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sophia Charleston, SC, United States 12-08-13
    Sophia Charleston, SC, United States 12-08-13 Member Since 2010
    ratings
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    1
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    "Really Good Listen"
    What made the experience of listening to Fall of Giants the most enjoyable?

    Great stories and great story telling. I enjoyed the reader's grasp of accents. There are several story lines all woven beautifully together. This is by far my favorite book by Ken Follett.


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

    It follows history adding in fiction to historical events.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marcus Amsterdam 11-29-13
    Marcus Amsterdam 11-29-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Ken Follett proofs to be my favorite writer ever!"

    I loved Pillars and World Without End, but somehow wasn't drawn to the idea of listening to a book set in the 20th century, especially with all the drama in WWII and my me not being a great fan of "war books".

    But after a few flings with other authors I kept thinking how nothing compared to the epic tales of Ken Follett. With my new job ahead of me and having to drive 2 hours everyday I needed something to make time fly, something that could absorb me. So I went for it and bought Fall of Giants, and I was hooked immediately!! The thorough character building, the switching from character to character, it was all there and I loved every second of it. Everything I loved about the other Ken Follett books was there, and more! My drives to work flew by, sometimes I caught myself wishing I lived further from work so I could listen to the book a little longer, it's that good!

    Aside from it being a great story of different people in different countries set in the early 20th century, it's also a great history lesson. I feel like a WWI expert now! Ken knows how to make the political events really interesting! And even though it's a story about historical events affecting millions of people, he zooms in to the lives of a few key players which gives it the typical Ken Follett feeling.

    I loved it!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    diane 10-08-13
    diane 10-08-13

    graphic & fine artist

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    "lost interest after a while"

    This story received good reviews - i lost interest after a bit - i think that the resaon is highly personal - it's just not a subject i was interested in, nor a time period and i dropped it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Debi Garden Grove, CA, USA 10-05-13
    Debi Garden Grove, CA, USA 10-05-13
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    "Terrific Listen"

    John Lee does an amazing job with the accents and personalities of the characters. His female voices are even good . None of his accents seem forced or artificial. The story itself reaches out to you and you are immediately swept away into the coal mines and then whisked into the magnificent home of the Fitzherberts. Ken Follett has always been one of my favorites because he is able to draw you into the scene and you almost believe you are there with the characters. Follett puts an incredible amount of energy into researching his stories and John Lee brings it all too life!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jenessa 10-04-13
    Jenessa 10-04-13 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "History's much better as a story!"

    Ever wondered why the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand caused the whole world to get into World War I? In history class, it was hard for me to hold the whole story in my head. It always seemed a mash-up of unrelated events. And the concurrent social influences of the day - women's suffrage, labor unions, Russian Bolshevism, the beginning of prohibition in America, racism, homophobia, and classism everywhere, etc. - were all neatly compartmentalized in my mind, almost as if each issue affected a different people from a different time. What Ken Follett's done with this book was to make it all into one compelling story. He made me feel the helplessness that Lady Maude, an English aristocratic suffragette, and William Von Ulrich, a German officer, felt when their two nations decided to go to war because of a long domino chain of events that all had to fall just so. Suddenly their English/German budding romance was considered an act of treason, when only days before, these characters had been socializing together at fancy English parties. There were so many likable, believable characters like this, all tangled up in ways designed to show the irony of their political world. I think this may be Ken Follett's specialty, making us care about the real struggle the real people who came before us must have experienced as a result of these well-known historical events. If you slept through your history lecture about World War I, this is your chance to get an idea of how it all would've affected real people at the time. Great book!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brian Bennett San Something, CA 09-28-13
    Brian Bennett San Something, CA 09-28-13 Member Since 2014

    The Dude

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "WW1 Soap Opera"

    Ok, so I love history but this was more of a 50 Shades of Gray in 1914. The book was overall fine but very long and read more like a soap opera at the end of the day. I don't know if I will pick-up book II or not.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elvin T. Bounds San Clemente CA 09-20-13
    Elvin T. Bounds San Clemente CA 09-20-13 Member Since 2016

    Avid reader of histories and biographies. Also keep up on current science developments.

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    "Thirty hours of escape into another world"
    Would you try another book from Ken Follett and/or John Lee?

    Yes


    What did you like best about this story?

    Excellent story with a great collection of characters whose lives intersect in a variety of ways


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Descriptions of trench warfare


    Was Fall of Giants worth the listening time?

    Yes. I may even listen again!!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joan D. Wray OR 09-16-13
    Joan D. Wray OR 09-16-13 Member Since 2014

    Sylvia

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Gripping!"
    What did you love best about Fall of Giants?

    I learned about a period of history that I was not much familiar with.


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

    John Lee is a brilliant reader.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Johanna Turner Mayfield, KY 09-11-13
    Johanna Turner Mayfield, KY 09-11-13 Member Since 2013

    CPA, CFP, and serial audiophile.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great book, horrible narration"

    I have read all of Ken Follett's books, including the other 2 in the trilogy (on paper), so I was excited to get to listen to this one. The story is well-written, but it sounds as if it is being broadcast on the news. When I first started listening, I thought the reader was purposefully sounding dramatic to introduce the story, but I soon found out that this is his actual reading voice. And I need to add that I have listened to many books where the reader was heavily criticized for fake accents, etc. and enjoyed them thoroughly. This is a different level altogether - no intonation, no emotion, just that broadcaster effect.

    That said, Mr. Follett's writing never fails to please, it's just a little painful to listen to.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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