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Fall of Giants by Ken Follett

Fall of Giants (2010)

by Ken Follett

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Century Trilogy (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,6791611,429 (3.98)121
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Showing 1-5 of 134 (next | show all)
Couldn't keep this down. It's not as great as Pillars of the Earth, but it's great regardless. ( )
  capiam1234 | Oct 20, 2014 |
I have to fess up and admit I only read the first third of the book. And I can't help but disappointed. I used to love Follett when I was 30 years younger. I think I read everything he'd published up to that date. And the reason was he was so EASY to read and he wrote with such interesting information about his topics. I learned more about cathedral construction from Follett than anyone else.
But times make ancient good uncouth and these days I am looking for more challenge from my books and get a bit tired of everything so neatly laid out that I don't have to put much effort in. This is hardly Follett's fault, of course. His scrupulous talent for plotting his mass of characters and helping the reader to never lose the thread is a feature of his writing. But I need a bit more these days not to get bored. Sorry for me, eh? ( )
  PhilipJHunt | Oct 14, 2014 |
Ken Follett is a very good writer, although the same themes repeatedly appear in his books (like in [b:The Pillars of the Earth|5043|The Pillars of the Earth |Ken Follett|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1309285683s/5043.jpg|3359698]): the privileged and powerful do not deserve their power, those in power may be good people but their positions lead them to abuse their power, the privileged believe they deserve their privilege, those who have no power must do anything possible to survive. He also likes to reuse the same "surprises," so we are "shocked" to find out that so-and-so is the secret/long-lost son/daughter of the earl/king, etc. However, I enjoyed this book for its insights into the period leading up to and including World War I. ( )
  piersanti | Sep 28, 2014 |
This historical fiction tells the story of 5 families in different parts of the world: Wales, England, Russia, America and Germany. It takes place before, during and right after World War I. Ethel and Billy Williams are siblings in the poor mining town of Aberowen, and they want to make a better life for themselves. Earl and Maud Fitzherbert are brother and sister in the English aristocracy but they don’t agree on politics. Grigori and Lev Peshkov are brothers in Russia who have been traumatized by their parents’ death at the hands of the regime of the tsar. Gus Dewar works for the US President Woodrow Wilson, and he travels extensively to Europe and Russia. Walter von Ulrich is a German intelligence officer who is against the war. In spite of their disparities, the characters’ lives are all interconnected. However, they will each experience the war differently, and it will change all of them.

At the beginning of the book, Earl Fitzherbert’s estate in Wales reminded me of the TV series Downtown Abbey, all the more so because the story was taking place in the same time period. Since I am a big fan of the series, and I have been waiting impatiently for season 5 to start, it completely drew me to the story. Fall of Giants is a compelling and well-constructed saga covering World War I, the Russian Revolution and the fight for women’s suffrage in Great Britain. Ken Follett has conducted an impressive amount of research for this book, and I learned a lot about the history of WWI. There was a bit too much politics for my taste though but I understand that this was necessary to explain how the Great War came about. However, the book was thought-provoking and suspenseful, and the multiple story lines allowed the reader to see the war from different points of view. I especially liked the strong female characters who were trying to change their lot amid all this turmoil. The size of the book may seem a bit daunting to some readers but the 922-page volume is so gripping that they will be surprised at how fast they read it.

Fall of Giants is the first book in the Century Trilogy, and I can’t wait to read the other two volumes in the series.

To read the full review, please go to my blog (Cecile Sune - Book Obsessed). ( )
  cecile.sune | Sep 18, 2014 |
The adjective "sweeping" has to be used to describe it, so there you are. Credit to Follett for keeping this WW I saga moving at a clip. I stayed with it and can now talk it over with by book club pals. Not my genre, however, and this experience confirms it. Characters are über-critical to historical events, too much romance, no literary depth or nuance (styles that I prefer), and military-political events are far over-simplified and frosted with too much prejudice (in this book at least)...onward to Jose Saramago to realign my brain. ( )
  JamesMScott | Sep 2, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 134 (next | show all)
Trotz peinlicher Sexszenen auf Groschenromanniveau und wie Untertassen dahinfliegender Dialoge: Ken Folletts neuer Roman ist gut recherchiert und freundlich-sozialdemokratisch - einer Verfilmung im Öffentlich-Rechtlichen steht nichts im Weg.
Die Aufteilung von erfundenen Schicksalen und weltgeschichtlich verbürgten Ereignissen löst Follett perfekt.
added by lophuels | editFocus, Jobst-Ulrich Brand (Oct 12, 2010)
Overall, Follett is ­masterly in conveying so much drama and historical information so vividly. He puts to good use the professional skills he has honed over the years — giving his characters a conversational style neither pseudo-quaint nor jarringly contemporary. That works well. And for all his belief in the redemptive quality of liberal humanism, he makes sure not to endow his characters with excessively modern sensibilities. As for the occasional cliché — well, unless you’re Tolstoy, you’re not going to have the time or the ability to be original throughout your 1,000-page blockbuster. Ken Follett is no Tolstoy, but he is a tireless storyteller, and although his tale has flaws, it’s grippingly told, and readable to the end.
added by lophuels | editNew York Times, Roger Boylan (Sep 30, 2010)
Despite all this, "Fall of Giants" offers pleasures that more than compensate for its lack of literary finesse. Follett may not be Tolstoy, but he knows how to tell a compelling, well-constructed story. Once its basic elements are in place, the narrative acquires a cumulative, deceptively effortless momentum.
A lot happens on the first page of Ken Follett’s “Fall of Giants.” King George V is crowned at Westminster Abbey. A Welsh boy named Billy Williams turns 13 and begins his wretched life as a coal miner. And Mr. Follett, who was once a Welsh boy himself but grew up to become his generation’s most vaunted writer of colorless historical epics, kicks off a whopping new trilogy. His apparent ambition: to span the whole 20th century in blandly adequate novels so fat that they’re hard to hoist.

» Add other authors (24 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Follett, Kenprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
AnuvelaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lee, JohnNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mas, ElisendaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To the memory of my parents, Martin and Veenie Follett.
First words
On the day King George V was crowned at Westminster Abbey in London, Billy Williams went down the pit in Aberowen, South Wales.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
In 1911 verandert de wereld voorgoed. Arbeiders laten zich niet langer onderdrukken, vrouwen eisen hun rechten op, de rijke aristocratie kan haar macht niet langer handhaven. En overal fluisteren diplomaten elkaar woorden in die het lot van miljoenen mensen over de hele wereld zullen veranderen.Aan de vooravond van de Eerste Wereldoorlog proberen acht mensen hun weg in deze roerige wereld te vinden: Gus Dewar, rechterhand van de Amerikaanse president; Lev en Grigori Pesjkov, twee arme Russische broers op zoek naar een beter leven; mijnwerker Billy Williams en zijn ambitieuze zus Ethel, huishoudster van de vermogende graaf Fitzherbert; de vrijzinnige lady Maud en haar geliefde, de Duitse diplomaat Walter von Ulrich.Terwijl hun levens elkaar kruisen, dragen deze mensen ieder op hun eigen manier bij aan een titanenstrijd die zijn weerga niet kent… Met Val der titanen, het eerste deel in de Century-trilogie, staat Ken Follett garant voor levensechte personages, een feilloos historisch decor en een onvergetelijke leeservaring.

A thirteen-year-old Welsh boy enters a man's world in the mining pits; an American law student rejected by 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 readers 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.

[retrieved from Amazon 2/16/2012]
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Follows the fates of five interrelated families--American, German, Russian, English, and Welsh--as they move through the dramas of the First World War, the Russian Revolution, and the struggle for women's suffrage.

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