Fall of Giants, Paperback Book
4.5 out of 5 (2 ratings)


The first in Ken Follett's bestselling Century Trilogy, Fall of Giants 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 with 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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Review by

First in a new immense and sweeping historical saga covering much of the twentieth century, this was brilliant. I thought it was better than Pillars of the Earth (much though I loved that). The run up to the outbreak of WWI was very gripping and dramatic: the sense of incomprehension that the great powers of Europe can really be headed towards conflict, the desperation of the efforts of those striving for peace, then the horrors of war itself. The chapter on the first day of the Battle of the Somme is immensely moving. There is a rich cast of characters from English and Russian aristocrats, Welsh miners, Russian revolutionaries, American and German diplomats, Russian and American gangsters and thugs. The characters were generally more rounded and believable than in Pillars, though the author's sympathies are pretty clear. By the end it was 1923 and the scene was well set for the sequel, with the first (minority) Labour Government elected in Britain, disillusion settling in among some Russian revolutionaries as the Bolshevik Government's tyranny becomes more evident, and the failure of the Munich beer hall putsch and the trial and imprisonment of the demagogue Adolf Hitler. I look forward to the second volume, The Winter of the World. 5/5

Review by

At 850 pages, the kind of book that could convert even the most ardent fan of print-on-paper to succumb to the delights or otherwise of e-books. Follett impresses with his ability to take the reader inside the lives of so many and such disparate people and families and keep one turning the pages despite the some deeply unlikely (but also predictable) events that bring them together and force them apart. A good read.

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