Friday, September 19, 2014

Review: Winter of the World by Ken Follett

Title: Winter of the World   
Author: Ken Follett    
Series: The Century Trilogy, #2      
Published: September 2012, Dutton Adult  
Format: Hardcover, 940 pages   
Source: Personal copy  

Picking up where Fall of Giants, the first novel in the extraordinary Century Trilogy, left off, Winter of the World follows its five interrelated families—American, German, Russian, English, and Welsh—through a time of enormous social, political, and economic turmoil, beginning with the rise of the Third Reich, through the great dramas of World War II, and into the beginning of the long Cold War.

Carla von Ulrich, born of German and English parents, finds her life engulfed by the Nazi tide until daring to commit a deed of great courage and heartbreak....American brothers Woody and Chuck Dewar, each with a secret, take separate paths to momentous events, one in Washington, the other in the bloody jungles of the Pacific....English student Lloyd Williams discovers in the crucible of the Spanish Civil War that he must fight Communism just as hard as Fascism....Daisy Peshkov, a driven social climber, cares only for popularity and the fast set until war transforms her life, while her cousin Volodya carves out a position in Soviet intelligence that will affect not only this war but also the war to come.

These characters and many others find their lives inextricably entangled as their experiences illuminate the cataclysms that marked the century. From the drawing rooms of the rich to the blood and smoke of battle, their lives intertwine, propelling the reader into dramas of ever-increasing complexity.

My thoughts: As I mentioned in my review of Fall of Giants, I am only just getting into this series, but let me tell you, I am absolutely loving the books. Despite the length of books - each of the three books is at least 900 pages - once you start reading, the story reads quite quickly, at least books one and two did (and I hope book three does, too!).  I feel that with each book, not only am I getting a great story, but a crash course in history.

Winter of the World picks up ten years after Fall of Giants ends. Many of the same characters are in the book but we are also introduced to the second generation of the families and it is these characters that really carry the story forward. I feel that by the end of each book, you really know these characters. Each and every character is completely flushed out and, while we see them go through some pretty heavy stuff, including all that comes with the war, we also see the interpersonal relationships the characters have and all the drama that goes along with that.

This book seemed to hit me a bit harder than the first book. There were a few more disturbing scenes included in the book that centered around WWII. It really reminds us just how horrific the war really was and how it wasn't just the soldiers that suffered. I appreciated reading about the attacks on Pearl Harbor - I was born on Pearl Harbor day, so that's a day that I never forget. Reading about accounts of it from the perspective Ken Follett gives us, in the eyes of our beloved characters, puts it in a new light.

There is one more book to this amazing trilogy and I cannot wait to start reading it. Although, like most series, I'm not sure I want it to end...

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


1 comment

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