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Fall of Giants by Ken Follett

Updated on April 4, 2014

Fall of Giants is an epic by best selling author, Ken Follett. This is book one of the Century Trilogy and follows the lives of five families from diverse backgrounds in England, Wales, Russia, Germany and America as the events leading up to World War One cause the intertwining of their stories.

The book starts on the coronation day of King George V in 1911 in a mining village in Wales. Billy Williams starts his first day down the coal mine, while his sister Ethel works as a maid at the big country house of the Fitzherbert family, the owners of the mine and falls for the Earl, who's sister Lady Maud falls in love with Walter von Ulrich, a German spy. Meanwhile in Russia, two orphaned brothers, Grigory and Lev, who have links to the Earl's Russian wife are trying to emigrate to America. Gus Dewar is an aide to the U.S. President Woodrow Wilson and he is linked to Lev and to the Fitzherberts. The the war and revolution break out and everyone's life is changed.

This book may seem daunting, both in terms of it's size (and the fact it is just the first of three large volumes) but also the subject matter is about the devastation caused to people's lives during the First World War, but Ken Follett's writing style is, as always engaging and exciting, with the right balance of emotional and relationship stories and real-life historical information.

Ken Follett is a master of historical novel like this one: The writing is historically accurate, but manages to intertwine very readable fiction with the unfolding of the dramatic events of the twentieth century, so I felt that I was learning a lot about history and the politics of the day, as seen from various different social stand-points and from the perspective of people of all backgrounds in different countries. The enormous inequality between the aristocracy and the working class in Britain is very apparent, but also the effects of social and political changes brought on by the war, with men from all backgrounds fighting together in the trenches, while women at home are suddenly allowed and expected to work and even to vote.

The rest of the Century Trilogy, following on from The Fall of Giants:

Winter of the World starts in Berlin in 1933 as Hitler becomes more powerful in Germany before World War Two. It follows the lives of the characters from the Fall of Giants and their offspring, with intertwining story-lines and relationships across different counties, continents, classes and levels of social hierarchy.

Edge of Eternity is the final part of the Century Trilogy, completing the story of the lives of the five families across the rest of the century.

Winter of the World: Book Two of the Century Trilogy
Winter of the World: Book Two of the Century Trilogy

The second book in the enthralling Century Trilogy, by Ken Follett

Edge of Eternity (The Century Trilogy, Book 3)
Edge of Eternity (The Century Trilogy, Book 3)

The third book in the enthralling Century Trilogy, by Ken Follett


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