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Fall of Giants: Book One of the Century Trilogy Audio CD – Audiobook, August 28, 2014
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"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
"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
"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
"Fascinating, in a big way." —St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"A suspenseful epic." —The Seattle Times
"Follett conjures the winds of war." —The Washington Post
"Grand in scope, scale, and story." —The Associated Press
About the Author
Ken Follett is one of the world's best–loved novelists. He has sold more than one hundred million copies. His last book, World Without End, went straight to the No. 1 position on bestseller lists in the United States, Spain, Italy, Germany, and France.
He first hit the charts in 1978 with Eye of the Needle, a taut and original thriller with a memorable woman character in the central role. The book won the Edgar Award and became an outstanding film starring Kate Nelligan and Donald Sutherland.
He went on to write four more bestselling thrillers: Triple, The Key to Rebecca, The Man from St. Petersburg, and Lie Down with Lions. Cliff Robertson and David Soul starred in the miniseries of The Key to Rebecca. In 1994 Timothy Dalton, Omar Sharif, and Marg Helgenberger starred in the miniseries of Lie Down with Lions.
He also wrote On Wings of Eagles, the true story of how two employees of Ross Perot were rescued from Iran during the revolution of 1979. This book was made into a miniseries with Richard Crenna as Ross Perot and Burt Lancaster as Colonel "Bull" Simons.
Ken Follett then surprised readers by radically changing course with The Pillars of the Earth, a novel about building a cathedral in the Middle Ages. Published in September 1989 to rave reviews, it was on the New York Times bestseller list for eighteen weeks. It also reached the No. 1 position on lists in Canada, Great Britain, and Italy, and was on the German bestseller list for six years. It was voted the third greatest book ever written by 250,000 viewers of the German television station ZDF in 2004, beaten only by The Lord of the Rings and the Bible. When The Times (London) asked its readers to vote for the sixty greatest novels of the last sixty years, The Pillars of the Earth was placed at No. 2, after To Kill a Mockingbird. (The sequel, World Without End, was No. 23 on the same list.) In November 2007, Pillars became the most popular choice of the Oprah Winfrey Book Club, returning to No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list. The miniseries, produced by Ridley Scott and starring Ian McShane and Matthew Macfadyen, is due for broadcast in 2010.
After Pillars, Ken Follett abandoned the straightforward spy genre for awhile, but his stories still had powerful narrative drive, strong women characters, and elements of suspense and intrigue. Night over Water, A Dangerous Fortune, and A Place Called Freedom followed.
Then he returned to the thriller. The Third Twin was a scorching suspense novel about a young woman scientist who stumbles across a secret experiment in genetic engineering. Miniseries rights were sold to CBS for $1,400,000, a record price for four hours of television. The series, starring Kelly McGillis and Larry Hagman, was broadcast in the United States in November 1997. (Ken Follett appeared briefly as the butler.) In Publishing Trends' annual survey of international fiction bestsellers for 1997, The Third Twin was ranked No. 2 in the world, beaten only by John Grisham's The Partner.
The Hammer of Eden, another nail–biting contemporary suspense story, came in 1998. Code to Zero (2000), about brainwashing and rocket science in the fifties, went to No. 1 on bestseller lists in the United States, Germany, and Italy, and film rights were snapped up by Doug Wick, producer of Gladiator, in a seven-figure deal. Jackdaws (2001), a World War II spy story in the tradition of Eye of the Needle, won the Corine Prize for 2003. Film rights were sold to Dino De Laurentiis. Hornet Flight, about two young people who escape from German–occupied Denmark in a Hornet Moth biplane, is loosely based on a true story. It was published in December 2002. Whiteout, a contemporary thriller about the theft of a dangerous virus from a laboratory, was published in 2004 and made into a miniseries in 2009.
World Without End, the long–awaited sequel to The Pillars of the Earth, was published in October 2007. It is set in Kingsbridge, the fictional location of the cathedral in Pillars, and features the descendants of the original characters at the time of the Black Death. It was a No.1 bestseller in Italy, the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and Spain, where it was the fastest–selling book ever published in the Spanish language, outstripping the last Harry Potter book.
A board game based on The Pillars of the Earth was released worldwide in 2007 – 2008 and won the following prizes: Deutscher Spielepreis 2007, Game of the Year 2007 in the United States (GAMES 100), Jeu d'annee 2007 (Canada), Juego del ano 2007 (Spain), Japan Boardgame Prize 2007, Arets Spill 2007 (Norway), and Spiele Hit 2007 (Austria). It was a nominee in Finland, France, and the Netherlands, and got a recommendation in Germany by the Jury "Spiel des Jahres."
In 2008 Ken was awarded the Olaguibel Prize by the Colegio Oficial de Arquitectos Vasco–Navarro for contributing to the promotion and awareness of architecture. A statue of him by the distinguished Spanish sculptor Casto Solano was unveiled in January 2008 outside the Cathedral of Santa Maria in the Basque capital of Vitoria–Gasteiz in northern Spain.
His next project is his most ambitious yet. The Century Trilogy will tell the entire history of the twentieth century as seen through the eyes of five linked families: one American, one English, one German, one Russian, and one Welsh. The first book, Fall of Giants, focusing on the First World War and the Russian Revolution, will be published worldwide simultaneously on September 28, 2010. He is already at work on the second book, provisionally titled The Winter of the World, about the Spanish civil war, the Second World War, and the development of nuclear weapons.
Ken Follett is married to Barbara Follett, a political activist who was the member of Parliament for Stevenage in Hertfordshire for thirteen years and minister for culture in the government of Gordon Brown. They live in a rambling rectory in Stevenage and also have an eighteenth-century town house in London and a beach house in Antigua. Ken Follett is a lover of Shakespeare and is often seen at London productions of the Bard's plays. An enthusiastic amateur musician, he plays bass guitar in a band called Damn Right I Got the Blues and appears occasionally with the folk group Clog Iron playing a bass balalaika.
He was chair of the National Year of Reading 1998 – 99, a British government initiative to raise literacy levels. He was president of the charity Dyslexia Action for ten years. He is a member of The Welsh Academy, a board director of the National Academy of Writing, and a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. In 2007 he was awarded an honorary Doctorate in Literature (D.Litt.) by the University of Glamorgan as well as similar degrees by Saginaw Valley State University, Michigan—where his papers are kept in the Ken Follett Archive—and by the University of Exeter in 2008. He is active in numerous Stevenage charities and was a governor of Roebuck Primary School for ten years, serving as chair of governors for four of those years.
He was born on June 5, 1949, in Cardiff, Wales, the son of a tax inspector. He was educated at state schools and
- Publisher : Penguin Audio; Abridged edition (August 28, 2014)
- Language : English
- ISBN-10 : 1611763428
- ISBN-13 : 978-1611763423
- Item Weight : 6.4 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.1 x 1.1 x 5.8 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #987,229 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
"A timely novel highlighting the worth and delicate nature of Nature itself." -Delia Owens Learn more
Top reviews from the United States
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Unfortunately by the time I had read most of the third book, I realized Follett was an extremist in his socialist, political beliefs, especially with regard to American politics. I am an Independent, and I hate reading anything so far left and so far right, when it provides no basis for reality. I would rather see both the warts and the dimples, rather than be told a fairy tale of half-truths. His viewpoint is very singular in his condemnation for all things Republican, and nothing but praise for all Democrats; even to the extent that he gives Pope John Paul II's great success in Poland to President Carter...utterly ridiculous. Follett praises by intimating Carter's dealings with the communists was "cautious", yet Reagan was supposed to take on the Kremlin during the Solidarity movement perfectly exhibits the bias in his writing.
As I was reading the book, I reflected that all of the Follett books I had ever read, prior to the Century Trilogy were period pieces from a time I had not lived; however, "Edge of Eternity" covered a place in time I know very well. His revisionism of more modern times has left me bereft of any pleasure for reading the first two books. If I can't trust his completely biased viewpoint of modern history, than how can I trust any of his research. Unless you want to read a socialist manifesto, concealed in the vein of storytelling, I would strongly recommend you not purchase any of the books in this series. As for me, I will not be buying another Follett book. It really is sad, because I would have loved to find an author who would have me explore my Welsh heritage.
I stumbled onto this series by mistake: While shopping at a store this past summer I saw "The Edge of Eternity" (book #3 in this series). When I realized it WAS the 3rd installment of a series I decided to give it a read anyway, since I had enjoyed "Pillars of the Earth" & "World without End" some years ago. That book was very enjoyable so I decided to go for the series and read book #1 (THIS ONE).
Again I was captivated by the characters and the events of world history. There is only one thing I had a problem with...SPOILERS AHEAD...!!!!!!
When the closing years of WWI were covered (1918-1919) there was literally NO mention of the worst pandemic in modern history!!! He didn't write those events into his narrative fiction!! How could Mr. Follett NOT write about the 1918-1919 flue pandemic?! From online sources (and I quote): "It infected an estimated 500 MILLION (my emphasis) people- about one-third of the planet's population at the time, and killed an estimated 20-50 MILLION (!!!) victims." !!! But our characters go through Europe and the aftermath of the war, the signing of the Peace Treaty, etc., etc., without any concern. But it would have been a DEVASTATING time, to have made it through WWI only to have entire families DIE at the hands of the worst influenza outbreak in modern times. That is my only real gripe. Otherwise, it's pretty much straight forward Ken Follett: Good folks & really nasty characters who ALWAYS live to torment and remember & be vengeful another day. Fun stuff.
Would I recommend it? Sure.
But then, as I said, probably half of the book went into great detail about the planning, logistics, maneuvres, execution politics, arguments and results of WWI, and it became tedious, tiresome and, for me, just plain boring. I am assuming that a century trilogy will include the wars of WWII, Korea, Vietnam and the middle east. If they are as tedious as Fall of Giants, I may bow out and find another author to spend my time reading.
Top reviews from other countries
Descriptions of servile "peasantry", the arrogant upper class, & the huge differences in the way each viewed the other are superbly portrayed. The class system was, (& perhaps still is to a lesser extent?) the same in every country portrayed. I thought I knew a lot about the period covered, however this account gave me a deeper insight into the possible thought processes which determined so many strange & sometimes tragic actions on the part of the various governments. If I was more able to impart the atmosphere & depth of characterisation I would perhaps make this review even longer. I hope I have written enough to encourage you to read this great book!
This edition is an 'enhanced' edition, which I think is just brilliant. Unfortunately I mostly read on my kindle and it is not compatible so I haven't used it so much. I like the pictures and videos at the back. Part two is not enhanced :(
It's a fascinating insight into life in the early twentieth century. With my limited prior knowledge of pivotal events that occurred during this era, it fuelled my desire to learn more, along with the lives and loves of the main characters. Despite its 852 pages in length, with short bursts of repetitive prose, it's a delightful un-put-downable read. I have since committed myself to completing the trilogy, (hopefully by the end of the year!)
I urge anyone unfamiliar with this genre to give it a go, up won't be disappointed.