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Fall of Giants [Hardcover]

Ken Follett
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
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Library Binding CDN $18.72  
Hardcover, Sept. 28 2010 CDN $32.00  
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Book Description

Sept. 28 2010 Century Trilogy (Book 1)

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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.

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Review

"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

"Fall of Giants stands with Ken Follett's best... Fall of Giants is classic Follett. It's long - almost 1,000 pages; it's populated with hundreds of characters whose lives are intertwined; it's set on a tumultuous world stage; it's a good read....Everything in this novel is oversized, from the scope of history it covers to the characters he creates. It's a book that 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. That's quite the feat."
-USA Today

"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

About the Author

Ken Follett is the author of fourteen bestselling books, including The Man from St. Petersburg, Lie Down with Lions, and Night Over Water. Among his most recent works are A Place Called Freedom and TheThird Twin. His new book The Hammer of Eden was published in November, 1998, by Crown. He lives in London, England.


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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
126 of 137 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A BIG book! Aug. 15 2010
By Jill Meyer HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Ken Follett's new novel, "Fall of Giants", is a big boy. It's so big that it could be used as a door stop for a steel door. But I have a feeling that most people reading this review already know it's a big book and don't expect anything less from Ken Follett.

"Giants" is the first in a trilogy about the 20th century. At least I assume it is, because this book is about the run-up to the "Great War" (WW1) and the four years of war. Follett, as usual, has many characters from Europe and the United States. Most are fictional but some are real. He has the talent to draw these many fictional characters with a deft brush, nuanced-enough to be distinguishable from each other. That's no mean feat, actually; how many novels have you read whose characters just blend into each other and you're never sure about who's who? To help out, though, Follett puts a "character page" in the front of the book.

I can't decide if the reader has to have fundamental knowledge of WW1 to appreciate this book. Follett is a pretty good amateur historian and he's written an excellent "historical novel". So, I guess it would appeal to, and help teach, readers of any kind. I thought the same thing about his novels about medieval England.

Follett follows the fortunes and fates of roughly 10 main characters. All intersect to a certain extent - thwarted lovers, Welsh miners-from-Russia, and diplomats-trying-to-prevent-war - in Follett's pages. I'm looking forward to Follett's next two books in the trilogy to learn what happens to these people as the 20th century unfolds. He's a good writer, as most anyone reading this book would probably agree.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fall of Giants: FANTASTIC! Nov. 23 2011
Format:Paperback
Years ago I read a few of Ken Follett's thrillers: Lie Down With Lions comes to mind. I think I also read Key To Rebecca and Man From St Petersburg. Honestly, they were fun reads but none of them got under my skin like Pillars of the Earth released in 1989. Or eighteen long years later, World Without End.

I suppose Follett is best known for his thrillers. Goodness knows he's written twenty-odd. But it's his historical fiction I love. As far as I'm concerned the guy is a genius of the genre.

I don't know where Follett falls in literary circles. My guess is his work wouldn't be considered 'Literature' with a capital "L". Who cares? When it comes to storytelling, the man is pure gold.

His most recent work is Fall of Giants, Book One of the Century Trilogy. And the only negative thing I can say about it is I have to wait until the Fall of 2012 for the next installment, Winter of the World.

Fall of Giants is a giant of a book. Just shy of 1000 pages, it's a veritable door stopper. Despite its length, I read it faster than books a third of its size for the simple reason I couldn't put it down. It is the kind of read that you happily lug around so you can snag a few extra pages here and there. By the same token, I was sad when it ended. Now that's a good book!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Why change history? Oct. 10 2012
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I have long been a fan of Ken Follett, who usually writes brilliantly. But this time? Well, I agree with the other reviews I have just read that gave Follett only one star. I am not a professional historian (although I am a professor emeritus of Russian Language and Literature) but why would Follett change well-known historical facts?

I mention only two. The cruiser that fired on the Winter Palace in 1917, bringing about the Bolshevik Revolution, was not the Amur but the Avrora, which is still moored across the River Neva today--it can be visited. And Germany's surrender to the allies took place not in the Palace of Versailles, but in a railway carriage--which the Germans later used again, as a piece of deliberate humiliation, for the Allies' surrender in 1918.

I was looking forward to these two well-known events in history. The fact that Follett changed them leads me to wonder how accurate his other historical descriptions are.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
"Like a cloak You will fold them up,
And they will be changed.
But You are the same,
And Your years will not fail." -- Hebrews 1:12 (NKJV)

Isn't it interesting that on the day I wrote this review, the hardcover book retailed for quite a bit less on Amazon than the Kindle version? Who would have thought that could be possible for a book that's almost 1,000 pages long?

As a youngster, I was fascinated by the CBS televised history series, "You Are There," which was narrated by Walter Cronkite. These re-enactments of critical moments made history interesting and understandable to me in a delightful way that helped turn me into a history major in college. I'm deeply grateful for the experience.

I was fascinated to see that Fall of Giants was designed to take a similar approach, while adding the desirable qualities of multiple narrators with different perspectives, much interaction among the characters, and a family saga element that provides even more depth of understanding. Even though I am quite familiar with the histories that are related here, I found myself wondering what historical lessons would be added to the comments made by the "future-looking" characters who often serve as quasi-prophets in the stories. A lot of historians must have worked very hard to be sure that so many historical insights made it into this novel. Fall of Giants has a surface accuracy that's quite impressive. I suspect that a lot of people will learn more about 1911 through 1923 in the UK, Russia, Germany, and the United States from this book than from any history courses that have taken or might take in the future.

When I saw the list of characters, I couldn't for the life of me imagine how they might relate to one another across cultures.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars enjoyable.
Easy read I had a difficulty putting it down. The plot was easy to follow and I felt part of that history.
Published 17 days ago by cederic mallais
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
Great story, I loved reading it. Shipping was fast but it was missing pages in one chapter. I was disappointed at first but I contacted Amazon and they were great about it. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Student
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Follett...and a wonderful tale
I've read everything Follett puts out, as well as seen all the adaptations of his novels for television. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Dr. Tim Parker
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally another Ken Follet classic
sometimes his classics are a little long, but overall they are his best work. Pillars of the Earth, World without end and Fall of Giants were far superior to White out. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Frances
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved this book. A great read!!
This was a well written book, with great characters, and I can't wait to read the other books in the series.
Published 2 months ago by Steve Berger
5.0 out of 5 stars I hadn't read Follett since the 70s
Wonderful reading, the book completely exceeded all my expectations. Compelling characters, and an excellent plot. I'm looking forward to the sequel.
Published 2 months ago by sam sablff
5.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing
Exciting page turner. Ken Follett did a great job with the historical research again. Well put together. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Acadian Jo
5.0 out of 5 stars Great history reminder .Awesome story
Loved it ,edge of my seat all the way.would of liked to hear more of the Canadians involvement in WOW
Published 2 months ago by Kevin Forshner
5.0 out of 5 stars Felt I was in the trenches with them such a good writer.
This is my first Ken Follett book...loved it....I am now on the second book in the Century Trilogy and enjoying it so much...will now have to start going through all of his books.
Published 2 months ago by Thomas Hall
5.0 out of 5 stars Overview of an age.
Wonderful use of the English Language .Ability to paint the picture of an age gone by.Shone new light on the mess that was the First World War
Published 4 months ago by Rosemary Poyser
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