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    Before, During, After

    Richard Bausch 9780307266262

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Century Trilogy #01: Fall of Giants

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Century Trilogy #01: Fall of Giants Cover

ISBN13: 9780451232571
ISBN10: 0451232577
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Make this your next book club selection and everyone saves.

Get 15% off when you order 5 or more of this title for your book club.

Simply enter the coupon code FOLLETPILLARS at checkout.

This offer does not apply to eBook purchases. This offer applies to only one downloadable audio per purchase.

Ken Follett has 90 million readers worldwide. The Pillars of the Earth is his bestselling book of all time. Now, eighteen years after the publication of The Pillars of the Earth, Ken Follett has written the most-anticipated sequel of the year—World Without End.

View our Ken Follett feature page. In 1989 Ken Follett astonished the literary world with The Pillars of the Earth, a sweeping epic novel set in twelfth-century England centered on the building of a cathedral and many of the hundreds of lives it affected. Critics were overwhelmed—“it will hold you, fascinate you, surround you” (Chicago Tribune)—and readers everywhere hoped for a sequel.

World Without End takes place in the same town of Kingsbridge, two centuries after the townspeople finished building the exquisite Gothic cathedral that was at the heart of The Pillars of the Earth. The cathedral and the priory are again at the center of a web of love and hate, greed and pride, ambition and revenge, but this sequel stands on its own. This time the men and women of an extraordinary cast of characters find themselves at a crossroad of new ideas— about medicine, commerce, architecture, and justice. In a world where proponents of the old ways fiercely battle those with progressive minds, the intrigue and tension quickly reach a boiling point against the devastating backdrop of the greatest natural disaster ever to strike the human race—the Black Death.

Three years in the writing, and nearly eighteen years since its predecessor, World Without End breathes new life into the epic historical novel and once again shows that Ken Follett is a masterful author writing at the top of his craft.

Synopsis:

In 1989 Ken Follett astonished the literary world with The Pillars of the Earth, a sweeping epic novel set in twelfth-century England centered on the building of a cathedral and many of the hundreds of lives it affected. Critics were overwhelmed—“it will hold you, fascinate you, surround you” (Chicago Tribune)—and readers everywhere hoped for a sequel.

World Without End takes place in the same town of Kingsbridge, two centuries after the townspeople finished building the exquisite Gothic cathedral that was at the heart of The Pillars of the Earth. The cathedral and the priory are again at the center of a web of love and hate, greed and pride, ambition and revenge, but this sequel stands on its own. This time the men and women of an extraordinary cast of characters find themselves at a crossroad of new ideas— about medicine, commerce, architecture, and justice. In a world where proponents of the old ways fiercely battle those with progressive minds, the intrigue and tension quickly reach a boiling point against the devastating backdrop of the greatest natural disaster ever to strike the human race—the Black Death.

Three years in the writing, and nearly eighteen years since its predecessor, World Without End breathes new life into the epic historical novel and once again shows that Ken Follett is a masterful author writing at the top of his craft.

Synopsis:

Make this your next book club selection and everyone saves.

Get 15% off when you order 5 or more of this title for your book club.

Simply enter the coupon code FOLLETPILLARS at checkout.

This offer does not apply to eBook purchases. This offer applies to only one downloadable audio per purchase.

Ken Follett has 90 million readers worldwide. The Pillars of the Earth is his bestselling book of all time. Now, eighteen years after the publication of The Pillars of the Earth, Ken Follett has written the most-anticipated sequel of the year—World Without End.

View our Ken Follett feature page. In 1989 Ken Follett astonished the literary world with The Pillars of the Earth, a sweeping epic novel set in twelfth-century England centered on the building of a cathedral and many of the hundreds of lives it affected. Critics were overwhelmed—“it will hold you, fascinate you, surround you” (Chicago Tribune)—and readers everywhere hoped for a sequel.

World Without End takes place in the same town of Kingsbridge, two centuries after the townspeople finished building the exquisite Gothic cathedral that was at the heart of The Pillars of the Earth. The cathedral and the priory are again at the center of a web of love and hate, greed and pride, ambition and revenge, but this sequel stands on its own. This time the men and women of an extraordinary cast of characters find themselves at a crossroad of new ideas— about medicine, commerce, architecture, and justice. In a world where proponents of the old ways fiercely battle those with progressive minds, the intrigue and tension quickly reach a boiling point against the devastating backdrop of the greatest natural disaster ever to strike the human race—the Black Death.

Three years in the writing, and nearly eighteen years since its predecessor, World Without End breathes new life into the epic historical novel and once again shows that Ken Follett is a masterful author writing at the top of his craft.

About the Author

Ken Follett is the international bestselling author of suspense thrillers and the #1 bestseller The Pillars of the Earth, about the building of a cathedral in the Middle Ages, and its long-awaited sequel, World Without End, a blockbuster bestseller in the United States, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, Spain, and France.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 10 comments:

Edward Hahn, November 5, 2013 (view all comments by Edward Hahn)
I am an unabashed Follett fan. While this book did not measure up to the two medieval novels, it was a very readable story. I finished it quickly and picked it up whenever I had a spare moment.

It follows the fortunes of five families through the run-up, main event, and result of WW I. Each family, British, Welsh, German, Russian and American are impacted differently by the events of the time. Follett does a good job of moving from focusing on one area to the other. The aspect of members of each family coincidentally running into one another throughout the book detracts from the believability of the story.

He does a good job, though, of weaving together the major themes of the time: class differences, political reform in Great Britain, social upheaval in Russia, U.S. emergence as a world power and, of course, the Great War as it was called then.

I had some trouble with the romances he develops as people seem to fall in love at the drop of a perfumed handkerchief. Upon reflection, though, given the restraints of society in those days, these instant, emotional connections made more sense.

With Follett's attention to accurate historical detail, the book deserves a recommendation. I look forward to reading the next volume in the trilogy, "Winter of the World".
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Amy Wachsmuth, June 4, 2013 (view all comments by Amy Wachsmuth)
The story begins in the year 1911. Unbeknownst to the civilized world, it is on the cusp of the first World War. A Bosnian Serb student, Gavrilio Princip, assassinated the heir to the Austrian throne; thereby knocking over the first domino that ticked through diplomatic efforts so pathetic as to be tantamount to a farce, drawing in Germany to support Austria. Then the regrettably located, France. Dominoes ticked through trade routes pulling in the resource and leadership poor Russia. Then pompous England waved their flag, while then the dominoes clattered through the minor powers, finally drawing in a reluctant United States. The tumbled dominoes are then erected as tombstones for the nearly ten million fallen soldiers. An atrocity that precipitates the fall of the remaining major aristocracies. The Fall of Giants. Indeed.

Had I not read two of Ken Follett’s other historical novels, I never would have even set my finger on the binding to pull it from the shelf. I have long believed that war doesn't decide who is right; only who is left. The gore of the battlefield is too real in my overactive imagination, war strategy too far beyond my intellect and our world leaders are too oft obstinate old men who happily trade their country's brave young soldiers for mangled corpses, all to play some great game.

Despite all that, I loved this book.

The characters compelling and real. As I watched events spiral through their eyes, I found myself hopeful that events already written in the tomes of world history wouldn't happen. I despaired with them as it all happened anyway. I felt the percussion of mortar blasts as I curled up in my dugout. I heard the whiz of bullets as I leapt from mortar hole to mortar hole. I felt the hunger that compelled soldiers to sit and eat captured food stores as corpses cooled on the ground.

I felt exalted as the Russian people rose up against the Tsar and their ridiculously corrupt government. I held Lenin in equal parts awe and distaste, and was saddened when the revolution went sour. I felt proud of my fellow American, Gus, when he stopped a Russian policeman from brutalizing a peasant girl, then treated her with kindness. “No Russian would address a peasant so courteously.”

I cheered for Billy Twice when he spoke against the English aristocracy with the wisdom to effect change while avoiding outright revolution. I cheered for Ethel and Maud as they fought for women’s suffrage and equal rights for women workers. I was relieved when Germany signed the armistice and was disappointed when the allies used it as an opportunity to revile Germany and impose impossible reparations, making World War II an all but foregone conclusion.

I learned more about this time period than ever before because I wasn't subjected to some dry, third person, Americans-are-so-great version of events, I lived it through these remarkable, albeit fictitious, characters.


Synopsis

This story begins in a fictional small mining town called Aberowen, England, where we meet our first two main characters, newly initiated miner, Billy and his sister, Ethel. Then we follow Ethel to Earl Fitzherbert's country estate where she works as the head housemaid. At Fitz’s estate we meet his Russian princess wife, Bea, his feminist sister, Maud, his boyhood companion,Walter, who is also a German diplomat, and an American diplomat, Gus. Later, we follow Gus to Russia where we meet Grigori and Lev, two young men that work for Putilov Machine Works building wheels for locomotives. Each of these strategically placed characters revealed a view of everyday life and politics from a new angle giving a fairly balanced view of the war.

Billy (Welsh)
From Billy we see life as a coal miner living in a community of prefabricated homes working on a mine owned by an English earl. Mining coal in the early 20th century is incredibly hard labor and ridiculously dangerous. The mine operators are far more willing to sacrifice miners than they are willing to part with the funds to provide even the most basic safety equipment. Laborers are a commodity of inexhaustible supply.

Billy doesn't particularly favor being a commodity. He is bright, brave and a natural leader. Once drafted, these qualities keep him and most of his Aberowen Pals alive during their service in the war. He exposes the ineptitude of the aristocracy that commanded them in battle and fights to end their power.

Ethel (Welsh - Sister to Billy)
Ethel’s quick wit and passionate visage captivates Earl Fitzherbert. After a short romance she becomes pregnant. Fitz attempts to pay Ethel off in attempt to discard her and the scandal that grows in her womb. She spend the rest of the story fighting for women’s suffrage and equal rights with Fitz’s sister, Maud, while also raising her son.

Earl Fitzherbert (English Earl owner of the land containing Aberowen)
Fitz is a generally likable enough guy. He is courageous and believes what he does is the right thing, even when it isn't. You almost can’t blame him because he comes from a long line of aristocrats and to a large degree was born (or made) that way. He suffers from an inferiority complex in which his constant desire to prove he’s worthy of his title drives him to make bad decisions.

Princess Bea (Russian born wife of Fitz)
Through Princess Bea we see how the Russian royalty holds the peasantry in utter disdain. They don’t believe themselves simply separated by class so much as separated by species. Through her, we also feel the pain of the loss of her heritage and the brutal death of her brother during the Russian revolution.

Maud (Sister to Earl Fitzherbert)
Maud’s is a woman for the people, but certainly not a woman of the people. She has an enviable intellect, poise and bottomless pocketbook thanks to her indulgent brother, Fitz. I had to excuse her hypocrisy in favor of what she was trying to accomplish. She befriends Ethel to further her causes but never sees her as an equal, though both women are formidable. She and Walter fall in love prior to the war and spend most of the book in anguish as they remain loyal to their countries, while doing all they can for peace.

Walter (German diplomat and friend to Fitz)
I had the most empathy for his character. Walter is an intelligent man with a good heart, whose ideas and maneuvering for peace are ignored again and again to the ruin of his beloved homeland, Germany. He spends the war separated from Maud and in a constant state of deprivation as he serves as an intelligence agent in the front lines of the war.

Grigori (Russian metal worker and soldier)
Easily the toughest and most earnest character, Grigori raised his younger brother Lev, after his father was hanged for the crime of grazing his cattle land belonging to Princess Bea, and his mother was shot during a protest march in front of the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg. Soon after the war begins, he is drafted in to the military and we see first hand the brutality of the officers, rampant corruption as the military supplies are sold on the black market, and terrible strategic moves as they waste the lives of their soldiers. We see the growing dissent of the soldiers which culminates into mutiny and revolution, of which Grigori's point of view provides a front row seat.

Lev (Russian, Grigori’s brother)
Lev is all charisma and no scruples. He takes Grigori’s seat on the boat to America to escape the Russian police. The boat lands in Cardiff, England and he realizes he (well, his brother) has been conned. He eventually makes his way to America and we see life for a Russian immigrant working for a Russian mob boss.

Gus (American diplomat)
Gus is easy to like. Tall, gangly, idealistic, and wicked smart he keeps the reader abreast of what is happening in the U.S. Government during this time. Through him we meet Woodrow Wilson, whom I admired and disliked all at once. He was a brilliant leader with the utmost of integrity, but growing up in the South left him bigoted. He conceived of the idea for a League of Nations that would later become the U.N., for the purpose of resolving conflicts between great nations.

Once the United States joins the war effort, Gus enlists as an officer. Gus arrives in France as an officer in the Expeditionary Force and through him we witness the famous battle, Chateau-Thierry.


The heroes in this particular story aren't forged in the heat of battle against the enemy. They are the peasants, mine workers, factory workers and soldiers who fought their respective imperial rulers to form a new government that would allow their children to grow up served by their government rather than exploited by it; where leaders are chosen by virtue of their abilities and ethics rather than their breeding.

Imperfect as democracy is, I’ll take it, and I extend my deep gratitude for all of the lives lost fighting during our own revolution and civil war to make our country free, and to those who defend it to this day.

Now for two minor gripes:
Ken Follett, writes a scene where Lev is nearly molested by a priest. I know this sort of thing happens, clearly, from his other books, but it seemed gratuitous. It makes me wonder if he has a personal bias as it was otherwise irrelevant to the story. He gets another dig in when Grigori is talking to a girl about the incident and she says something to the effect of, well--duh.

I thought it a bit odd how many women were lost their virginity in this book. The scenes were fairly graphic too. Almost as if "Phil" from the marketing group said, “Ken our demographic for this book is xyz, so you need to write in more sex scenes and make ‘em virgins. …and go.” Then he punches him in the arm and winks at him. Ken, next time tell that guy to go get bent.
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luvisnotluv, January 28, 2013 (view all comments by luvisnotluv)
I was hooked from the beginning. This is a great book!
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780451232571
Author:
Follett, Ken
Publisher:
New American Library
Author:
F .
Author:
Ken Folle
Author:
tt
Author:
ollett, Ken
Subject:
Historical
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
Suspense
Subject:
Thrillers
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Century Trilogy
Series Volume:
1
Publication Date:
20110831
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Pages:
1008
Dimensions:
9 x 6.16 x 1.65 in 2.52 lb
Age Level:
from 18

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Century Trilogy #01: Fall of Giants Used Trade Paper
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Product details 1008 pages New American Library - English 9780451232571 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
In 1989 Ken Follett astonished the literary world with The Pillars of the Earth, a sweeping epic novel set in twelfth-century England centered on the building of a cathedral and many of the hundreds of lives it affected. Critics were overwhelmed—“it will hold you, fascinate you, surround you” (Chicago Tribune)—and readers everywhere hoped for a sequel.

World Without End takes place in the same town of Kingsbridge, two centuries after the townspeople finished building the exquisite Gothic cathedral that was at the heart of The Pillars of the Earth. The cathedral and the priory are again at the center of a web of love and hate, greed and pride, ambition and revenge, but this sequel stands on its own. This time the men and women of an extraordinary cast of characters find themselves at a crossroad of new ideas— about medicine, commerce, architecture, and justice. In a world where proponents of the old ways fiercely battle those with progressive minds, the intrigue and tension quickly reach a boiling point against the devastating backdrop of the greatest natural disaster ever to strike the human race—the Black Death.

Three years in the writing, and nearly eighteen years since its predecessor, World Without End breathes new life into the epic historical novel and once again shows that Ken Follett is a masterful author writing at the top of his craft.

"Synopsis" by ,
Make this your next book club selection and everyone saves.

Get 15% off when you order 5 or more of this title for your book club.

Simply enter the coupon code FOLLETPILLARS at checkout.

This offer does not apply to eBook purchases. This offer applies to only one downloadable audio per purchase.

Ken Follett has 90 million readers worldwide. The Pillars of the Earth is his bestselling book of all time. Now, eighteen years after the publication of The Pillars of the Earth, Ken Follett has written the most-anticipated sequel of the year—World Without End.

View our Ken Follett feature page. In 1989 Ken Follett astonished the literary world with The Pillars of the Earth, a sweeping epic novel set in twelfth-century England centered on the building of a cathedral and many of the hundreds of lives it affected. Critics were overwhelmed—“it will hold you, fascinate you, surround you” (Chicago Tribune)—and readers everywhere hoped for a sequel.

World Without End takes place in the same town of Kingsbridge, two centuries after the townspeople finished building the exquisite Gothic cathedral that was at the heart of The Pillars of the Earth. The cathedral and the priory are again at the center of a web of love and hate, greed and pride, ambition and revenge, but this sequel stands on its own. This time the men and women of an extraordinary cast of characters find themselves at a crossroad of new ideas— about medicine, commerce, architecture, and justice. In a world where proponents of the old ways fiercely battle those with progressive minds, the intrigue and tension quickly reach a boiling point against the devastating backdrop of the greatest natural disaster ever to strike the human race—the Black Death.

Three years in the writing, and nearly eighteen years since its predecessor, World Without End breathes new life into the epic historical novel and once again shows that Ken Follett is a masterful author writing at the top of his craft.

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