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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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    8,849
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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
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  • Margaret
  • Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada
  • 01-21-13

Lengthy Dialogue

Long story. One thing it points out is the lack of accountability of leadership in times of war.

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very rich and detailed storytelling

Like his other historical fiction such as Pillars of the Earth and World Without End, Ken Follett pulls you into a very detailed and full wourld full of interesting characters you truly start to cheer for.
Narrator John Lee does an exceptional job bringing life to the words which allows you to follow all the different characters, even when you are not able to be 100% committed to listening to the story.
Looking forward to finishing Winter of the World, but not looking forward to waiting another year+ for the final installment of The Century Trilogy!

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  • Peter
  • Berlin, MA, United States
  • 01-18-13

Flawlessly Written and Performed

Ken Follett is the master of weaving a tale that compels you to read further. John Lee is a master of narration that puts you in the heart of the story. A fantastic team and every minute a pleasure.

Of particular note were Lee's accents - he nails Welsh and Cockney, upper-class Brits, Russians, Americans and Germans, female and male all masterfully.

I would have to rank this as the best audiobook I have listened to. Ever.

I cannot wait for more from Follett and Lee.

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  • Rob
  • Lewisville, TX, United States
  • 01-17-13

Awesome - Learned a lot about World War I

I was reluctant to purchase this audio book because it was a long book, but it was so entertaining that the 30 hours flew by. I just downloaded the second book, and it is captivating from the start.

I didn't realize how little I knew about World War I. Although this is a fiction book, it provides a thorough history of World War I probably better than a history book. The narrator is one of the best I've heard.

I highly recommend this audio book.

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Another triumph

He has don it again...taken a history lesson and turned it into a spellbinding story. Well done, Ken!

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  • PAUL
  • show low, az...usa
  • 01-16-13

great book

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

didn't realize the "greatness" of this book

Who was your favorite character and why?

all were teriffic

What about John Lee’s performance did you like?

very good

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

impossible...too long...listened to as i did my daily walks of 5-10 miles...made the miles fly by!!!

Any additional comments?

read both of the books....follow up with winter world...must read

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  • Sinclair
  • Fort Worth, Texas, United States
  • 01-16-13

Fall of Giants-wonderful historical fiction

What did you love best about Fall of Giants?

Great characters to represent the period and the different world players.

What did you like best about this story?

I love the historical accuracy.

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

John Lee holds my attention throughout the story.

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

Perefect name already.

Any additional comments?

Cannot wait to read the next work in the series.

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  • Charles
  • Indian Wells, CA, United States
  • 01-16-13

Too much fantasy

What did you like best about Fall of Giants? What did you like least?

Excellent narration, but I was turned off by the focus on erotica and fantasy sexual relations which had little to do with the primary theme, which is the twentieth century.

What was most disappointing about Ken Follett’s story?

too much emphasis on the sexual relationships of the characters, rather than focusing entirely on the political and living conditions of the characters in the class settings.

Which scene was your favorite?

The discussions of trench warfare in World War I, and the lack of understanding by the leaders of the several countries in launching the war without realizing how fighting that war would decimate their respective male populations.

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

No

Any additional comments?

I have enjoyed Folletts books in the past, and will enjoy this trilogy, but the length of the story could have been shortened if there were more emphasis on reality rather than trying to spice up the narrative with fictional references to the sexual feelings of the characters. I see these novels as telling something about the history which is the background of the story, but inserting a heavy bit of erotica tells me nothing.

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Fantastic read

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

I'm still listening to this book but this the 4th Ken Follett book I've read/listened to. They are all amazing. I really enjoy how Ken weaves generations of people together and combines his characters with actual historic characters. For me, I didn't learn much about World War I in school so this book fills in some facts about the war that I wasn't aware of.

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

I actually listened to winter of the world first. So my favorite part is hearing how the stars of the next book came to be in this book.

Which character – as performed by John Lee – was your favorite?

I love his Welsh accented characters.

If you could take any character from Fall of Giants out to dinner, who would it be and why?

Ethel, she's seems like a firecracker. Plus, they say she's beautiful and who wouldn't like to dine with an interesting and beautiful young lady.

Any additional comments?

It's a long book but well worth the time. Do it. You'll love it.

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  • Bryan
  • Seattle, WA, United States
  • 01-14-13

Patience paid off

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

Yes. I found the setting of the story very interesting, which was of course the appeal from the get go. You won't earn a history degree here, but I thought it painted a great picture of how people lived during this time in history.

Any additional comments?

It took awhile to get into the book and the characters. It seemed kind of like 'work' for the first 20%, but then I was hooked.