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Fall of Giants: Book One of the Century Trilogy Paperback – August 30, 2011
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Amazon Best of the Month, September 2010: Welcome to the 20th century as you've never seen it. At over 1,000 pages, Fall of Giants delivers all the elements that fans of Ken Follett have come to treasure: historical accuracy, richly developed characters, and a sweeping yet intimate portrait of a past world that you'll fully inhabit before the first chapter is through. The story follows five families across the globe as their fates intertwine with the extraordinary events of World War I, the political struggles within their own countries, and the rise of the feminist movement. Intriguing stories of love and loyalty abound, from a forbidden romance between a German spy and a British aristocrat to a Russian soldier and his scandal-ridden brother in love with the same woman. Action-packed with blood on the battlefield and conspiracies behind closed doors, Fall of Giants brings the nuances of each character to life and shifts easily from dirty coal mines to sparkling palaces. There is so much to love here, and the good news is the end is just the beginning: Fall of Giants is the first in a planned trilogy. --Miriam Landis --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Using characters from different countries—Russia, Wales, England, the U.S., and Germany—and from different classes, Follett's first book in the Century trilogy provides a compelling mesh of interactions that push the story forward and allow a panoramic view of WWI's burden on five families. With over 30 hours, this audiobook would be a challenge for any narrator, but John Lee proves a solid and engaging choice. His deep voice moves through the prose smoothly and forcefully; he manipulates his tone, emphasis, and accent to develop vocal personas for the extensive cast of characters, and keeps a solid pace through the dialogue. It's a marathon performance of a mammoth book that will leave listeners eagerly anticipating the next installment. A Dutton hardcover. (Sept.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top customer reviews
But we all know that size doesn't matter when you've got an expert storyteller weaving an enthralling tale. I became so engrossed that I'd look up and 100 pages would have flown by. What is it that makes Follett so consistently "readable"? In "Fall of Giants" it's because the book is so well researched about the period (early 20th century especially WWI) with information on coal mining, trade unions, women's suffrage, protocols and manners of the minor royalty, politics, government, revolution and war. The story flows from this rich period but the riveting characters are at the forefront. Even the largely unsympathetic characters, such as the Earl, are made at least understandable because Follett thoughtfully portrays their motivations. There are few totally good or evil characters here, as it should be. (Though Follett seems none too fond of Russians and priests - be they Catholic, Anglican or Orthodox!)
In past reviews I have criticized authors that I believe would benefit from more editing (e.g., Steven King, John Irving) so why don't I find Follett's book to be too long? Because there are no slow spots, no political point pushing, and no self-indulgent purple prose.
I learned a great deal about WWI reading this novel, what led up to it and how it set the stage for WWII, which I hope is the subject of the next volume. It was fascinating to read about how the media and the governments of all the countries involved, lied to their people about how bad it was.
One other thing that I believe readers should know going in: as mentioned, this is Part One of a promised trilogy but, like "Pillars" and "World" it is a stand-alone novel. The reader is not left gripping a cliff at the end. I recently very much enjoyed Connie Willis' "Blackout" which DOES end with a cliff hanger and I am glad I knew that going in; some readers didn't and felt cheated. You will not feel at all cheated at the end of "Fall of Giants". Enjoy!
*Jackdaws, Man from St Petersburg, Eye of the Needle, and Hornet Flight
Obviously the author put a lot of research into this. This first book (seen through the eyes of three families living in four different countries) shows how a political crisis escalated into a gigantic war which wasn't expected, wanted and understood, and lead to the fall of the (long over-lived and outdated) aristocratic regent system in Europe.
This is history written how it should be, IMHO: not dates, facts and scholastic explanations but real people in a real world. Very recommended.
Starting with a 13 year old going to work in a Welsh coal mine in 1911, this is the hook that got me interested. It then establishes families of haves and have nots. Different themes are introduced including causes of WW1, the collapse of Imperial Russia and the rise of Hitler.
Most recent customer reviews
It really gets into the weeds, if that's your thing.Read more