Thursday, September 11, 2014

Review: Fall of Giants by Ken Follett

Title: Fall of Giants   
Author: Ken Follett     
Series: Century Trilogy, #1      
Published: September 2010, Dutton Adult   
Format: Hardcover, 985 pages    
Source: Personal copy   

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.…

My thoughts: Once again I am coming to the party late...I am only just starting this fantastic series as the third and final book is due to be released soon. Did I purposely wait so I could read all three books back-to-back? Perhaps, though knowing the length and the time needed to invest into each book to fully enjoy them, maybe it was more that I just kept putting them off until I realized I had run out of time! Plus, I was fortunate to be given an advanced copy of the final installment and in order to read and review that book in a timely manner, I knew I had to read the prior two books first.

When I first started this book, I was a bit overwhelmed the by list of characters at the beginning of the book, which is six pages long. Talk about intimidating! But, it turns out that the book really focuses on only a handful of primary characters throughout and you quickly figure out who is who as the story moves back and forth amongst the different characters. There were times, though, that some characters would not make appearances for quite a while and then all of a sudden pop up again. But for the most part, it was very easy to become invested in all the main characters - whether you liked them or not. Their personal stories really draw you in and I am very anxious to see how their stories continue in the next book.

I also felt this was a great way to brush up on the events leading up to WWI and about WWI itself. I admit history isn't my strong point, which is why I love reading engaging historical fiction and this trilogy is certainly starting off that way.  Taking historical fact and combining it with fictitious characters make for an exciting and informative read. In fact, when I finished this book, I was left wanting to read more about the war itself - perhaps some of those History-in-an-Hour books. Maybe once I finish this series, I'll look into some of those books again, because I'm sure I'll have a whole list of topics I'll want to read further into!

I'm so glad I read this book and have already started reading the second book. I will say if the size of the book intimidates you, know this - once you get through the first 100 pages, when Ken Follett introduces all the characters and really sets everything up, the rest reads quite quickly. At least with this book. I'm hoping the next two books read just as quickly, too!

Books in this series:
  1. Fall of Giants
  2. Winter of the World
  3. Edge of Eternity


  1. The variety of the characters is enough for me. Sounds very good.

  2. I believe I have this on my Classics Club Challenge list. If I don't, then I need to add it. I love sweeping sagas with an historical angle.


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