Synopses & Reviews
Ken Follett's World Without End
was a global phenomenon, a work of grand historical sweep, beloved by millions of readers and acclaimed by critics. Fall of Giants
is his 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 twentieth 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.
"This first in a century-spanning trilogy from bestseller Follett (Eye of the Needle) makes effective and economical use of its lead characters, despite its scope and bulk. From a huge cast, eight figures emerge to play multiple roles that illustrate and often illuminate the major events, trends, and issues of the years leading up to and immediately beyond WWI: American diplomat Gus Dewar; Earl Fitzherbert, a wealthy Englishman; Fitz's sister, Lady Maud; German military attaché Walter von Ulrich; Russian brothers Grigori and Lev Peshkov; Welsh collier Billy Williams and his sister, Ethel, whom Fitz hires as a housemaid. Ingenious plotting allows Follett to explore such salient developments of the era as coal mine safety in Wales, women's suffrage, the diplomatic blundering that led to war, the horrors of trench warfare, and the triumph of the Bolsheviks. While this tome doesn't achieve the emotional depth of the best historicals, it is a remarkable and wonderfully readable synthesis of fact and fiction. 1,000,000 first printing; author tour. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
"Follett is masterly in conveying so much drama and historical information so vividly.... [H]e is a tireless storyteller, and although his tale has flaws, it's grippingly told, and readable to the end." New York Times
"It...will suck you in, consume you for days or weeks, depending upon how quick a reader you are, then let you out the other side both entertained and educated." 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
"Follett's latest work is epic in scale, meticulously researched and deftly weaves together historical fact, fictional characters and engrossing storytelling." The Associated Press
"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's greatest virtue as a novelist that he has been able to bring forward a writing style he perfected in his earlier thrillers....Essentially, he's writing several interrelated books at once, without ever losing the inevitable forward impulse. And while it sounds bizarre to consider a book this huge a 'page-turner,' that's exactly what Fall of Giants is." The Seattle Times
"Follett is particularly adept at balancing multiple storylines, patiently building a portrait of interconnected lives. And he consistently gets the physical details right....Perhaps the major reasons for the novel's ultimate success are Follett's comprehensive grasp of the historical record and his ability to integrate research into a colorful, engaging narrative." The Washington Post
"[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
The first novel in The Century Trilogy 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.
Ken Follett’s magnificent new historical epic begins, as five interrelated families move through the momentous dramas of the First World War, the Russian Revolution, and the struggle for women’s suffrage.
A thirteen-year-old Welsh boy enters a man’s world in the mining pits.… An American law student rejected in love finds a surprising new career in Woodrow Wilson’s White House.… 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 a German spy.… And two orphaned Russian brothers embark on radically different paths when their plan to emigrate to America falls afoul of war, conscription, and revolution.
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, Fall of Giants takes us into the inextricably entangled fates of five families — and into a century that we thought we knew, but that now will never seem the same again.…
About the Author
Ken Follett is the author Eye of the Needle, an award-winning thriller that became an international bestseller. After several more successful thrillers, he surprised everyone with The Pillars of the Earth, about the building of a cathedral in the Middle Ages, which continues to captivate readers all over the world. His last book was the long-awaited sequel, World Without End, a number one bestseller in the United States, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, Spain, and France. He lives in England with his wife, Barbara Follett.