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Fall of Giants: Book One of the Century Trilogy Mass Market Paperback – September 4, 2012
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Praise for Fall of Giants
"Follett is masterly in conveying so much drama and historical information so vividly . . . grippingly told." —The New York Times Book Review
"Follett conjures the winds of war." —The Washington Post
"A good read. . . . It's a book that will suck you in, consume you for days or weeks . . . then let you out the other side both entertained and educated. That's quite the feat." —USA Today
"Grand in scope, scale, and story." —The Associated Press
"Follett entwines fiction and factual events well. . . . This is 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 thousand-page book intrigued and wanting more." —Chicago Sun-Times
"Fascinating, in a big way." —St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"Fall of Giants is a book for you to savor, one in which you can lose yourself for hours on end. It is a big book that tells a big story, but it is one you will not want to end." —The Huffington Post
"Follett once again creates a world at once familiar and fantastic. . . . A guiltless pleasure, the book is impossible to put down. . . . Empires fall. Heroes rise. Love conquers. After going through a war with these characters, you're left hoping that Follett gets moving with the next giant installment." —Time Out New York
"A suspenseful epic." —The Seattle Times
About the Author
Ken Follett is one of the world’s best-loved authors, selling more than 160 million copies of his thirty books. Follett’s first bestseller was Eye of the Needle, a spy story set in the Second World War.
In 1989 The Pillars of the Earth was published, and has since become the author’s most successful novel. It reached number one on bestseller lists around the world and was an Oprah’s Book Club pick.
Its sequels, World Without End and A Column of Fire, proved equally popular, and the Kingsbridge series has sold 38 million copies worldwide.
Follett lives in Hertfordshire, England, with his wife Barbara. Between them they have five children, six grandchildren, and three Labradors.
Top customer reviews
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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!
The book follows the lives of five interrelated families from different social classes, countries and religions. Each member was part of that period, affected by its events and trying to adapt his life to survive in such a harsh era.
The vast number of main characters are all well described, and the reader can easily build a connection with each one of them. Also the story is strong, complex, and well researched making the book a page turner and a historical reference. Minor events can be described as lucky co-incidents if not to say unrealistic happenings but they do not come up lousily or inferior to the rest of the book.
Back to social injustice, there are welsh coal-miners and British aristocracy, Citizens of St. Petersburg and the Russian royalty, and a French revolution that brought an end to all that in France. People across Europe were starving, unions were weak or non-existent and women had to fight for their vote in Britain. Jews were of a lower class especially in Russia and Germany, and the only light that seemed to be shining came from the land across the Atlantic. All these points were clearly described as a prerequisite for the Bolshevik revolution and for the socialist parties across the continent.
Some descriptions of that injustice were so intense and disturbing, women prostituting in Russia for a loaf of bread, overnight queues in front of bakeries, widows cruelly kicked of their homes in wales in front of helpless unions.
War covered the biggest part of the book and was detailed in an objective manner although it should be said that the Welsh and Russian troops had more focus compared to the rest of the troops especially Austria and Germany. While reading about the war, I felt that the author was emphasizing more the casualties and destruction than the winnings and glory as if to say that when it comes to soldiers and to humanity, wars are always lost on both sides of battle.
I would recommend this book for readers interested in history, politics, societies or war. It is packed with fiction yet historically accurate. The book is very interesting but will require a lot of time to finish as it has more than 850 pages.