Fall of Giants, Hardback
4 out of 5 (4 ratings)


This is a huge novel that follows five families through the world-shaking dramas of the First World War, the Russian Revolution, and the struggle for votes for women.

It is 1911. The Coronation Day of King George V. The Williams, a Welsh coal-mining family, is linked by romance and enmity to the Fitzherberts, aristocratic coal-mine owners.

Lady Maud Fitzherbert falls in love with Walter von Ulrich, a spy at the German Embassy in London.

Their destiny is entangled with that of an ambitious young aide to U.S.

President Woodrow Wilson and to two orphaned Russian brothers, whose plans to emigrate to America fall foul of war, conscription and revolution.

In a plot 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.




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Showing 1 - 4 of 4 reviews.

Review by

Follett is very much a hit and miss author; his first book, Pillars of the Earth, and its sequel, published a couple of decades later, are compelling, well researched historical sagas, but others in his back catalogue just average thrillers at best. This, an account of the inter-related lives of individuals in the UK, Germany, the US and Russia (oddly no significant French characters) in the build up to, during and just after World War 1 falls into the first category. It is pacy and eminently readable, if contrived in places; the characters well rounded, though Follett has no qualms adopting a stereotype; it is clearly carefully researched. It isn't great literature, but it is a good, enjoyable read. I'm sure the TV serialisation won't be that far off.

Review by

Ken Follet????World Without End??????????????????????????????????The Pillars of the Earth????????????????????????? ?????????????????????????????????7~8??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? ?????????Fall of Giants?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? ??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Ken Follet????????????????????

Review by

This is the second work of historical fiction I’ve read by Follett (the first being <i>The Pillars of the Earth</i>) and my first impression has been strengthened – that Follett has great storytelling scope, but falls too easily into the habit of using one voice for everything and levelling out even scenes which should be highly emotive. I still found this historical fiction based around the events leading to and including the First World War very readable, with the history accessibly integrated into the fiction element, but his prosaic style really lets the novel down. I enjoyed the weaving of the fictional characters and each of their journeys (this is the first of a trilogy, but I have no idea if the next book picks up the same families) especially as each of the primary characters were more than just observers of history; Follett gets each of them firmly embroiled in an aspect of political history, and through them paints an impressively wide picture of the world stage at this point in humanity’s turbulent co-existence. I’m not enough of an historian (or naïve enough) to call it complete, but the British aristocracy, the Welsh miners, the battlefield troops, the American dilemma of involving themselves in a European bloodbath, the rise of feminism in politics and – particularly interesting to myself, who’d only read about WW1 in European or American context – the effects of Russian revolution on the war, and the results of the revolution. If I’m going to learn some history, this is the way I want to learn it, through well-paced story. I may find Follett has flaws as a writer, but he more than makes up for it by being a great story-teller.

Review by

After being completely enchanted by Pillars of the Earth and World Without End, Fall of Giants failed to mesmerise me as much. Follet's proven mix of rather different characters with intertwining lives set in an important, well researched, historical background still worked for me. However, in his previous historical books he used four main characters, whereas Fall of Giants follows over 5 different characters and families. I found that a little too much perhaps. The main characters also follow similar steps in their lives: forbidden loves, unanswered passion and babies... lots of babies. At first it bothered me, but then I realised that the Century Trilogy needs this at this point, as the next book will cover the lives of these newborns as main characters (again a trick the author played in his first two books, albeit as less important a theme then). Moreover, the book sometimes doesn't read as a novel, but as a political and/or historical school book.<br/><br/>Concluding, I really liked the book (4 stars), and I finished the whopping 800 pages in less than 4 days. I'm definitely going to read the rest of the trilogy, but I hope the next book will be significantly different than this first one in the ways described above.

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