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444 of 463 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Enjoyable, Well-Researched, Memorable Trip Back In Time!
Fall Of Giants is another mammoth-size work of historical fiction from Ken Follett that you won't want to put down once you start reading it. I got so caught up in this 985 page advance reader copy that I finished it in about a week, which is super fast for me. Fall Of Giants, the first book in The Century Trilogy, follows the lives of five interrelated families as they...
Published on 28 Sep 2010 by Bobbewig

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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bit Corny
I don't often give negative reviews. There were elements of this book which were excellent and emotional. There are parts with heroism, areas of realism too. The problem I found was that the characters had little depth and often there were lengthy descriptions of people who are of no great consequence to the plot. There is also a lot of inconsequencial action. You could...
Published on 5 April 2012 by F. P. Nath


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444 of 463 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Enjoyable, Well-Researched, Memorable Trip Back In Time!, 28 Sep 2010
By 
Bobbewig (New Jersey, USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Fall of Giants (The Century Trilogy) (Hardcover)
Fall Of Giants is another mammoth-size work of historical fiction from Ken Follett that you won't want to put down once you start reading it. I got so caught up in this 985 page advance reader copy that I finished it in about a week, which is super fast for me. Fall Of Giants, the first book in The Century Trilogy, follows the lives of five interrelated families as they move through the events of WWI, the Russian Revolution and the women's suffrage movement. Follett's characters are so richly developed and his narrative abilities are so strong that I felt that I was right along side each of these families as they moved through the major events in their lives. I highly recommend Fall Of Giants to you so that you can enjoy traveling with Follett's characters as they move from Washington to St. Petersburg, from the dirt and danger of a coal mine to the glittering palaces of the super wealthy, to the corridors of power and to the bedrooms of the mighty. Do yourself a favor and be one of the first on line to get yourself a copy of this very entertaining, well-researched and memorable book. But be aware that your enjoyment won't come cheap -- the retail price of Fall Of Giants is $36. I think you'll find, however, that it is worth every penny.
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131 of 139 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fast moving story of rich and poor against backdrop of First World War, 7 Oct 2010
By 
EllyBlue (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This is an enormous book, although for its size, it was quick to read. The novel begins in Wales on 22nd June 1911, the day King George V was crowned in London, and in Wales, thirteen year old Billy Williams went down the mine for the first time. Very quickly the reader is drawn into the story which covers events in America, Europe, and Russia as well as the United Kingdom (mostly Wales and London) and a huge range of characters both rich and poor. My favourite character was Ethel, sister of Billy Williams, who, at the start of the story is a housemaid at Ty Gwyn, home of Earl Fitzherbert, who owns the land, under which her brother mines for coal. Follett weaves a good yarn and this story is definitely plot driven - a plot which unfolds against the background of the build-up, course, and aftermath of the First World War. There are love stories, industrial unrest, political dramas, battlefield horrors, class struggles and lots more in this tale. It is delivered in episodes, dealing first with one section of the story, and then another, and strands sometimes coming together in unexpected ways. The characters are witness to historic events including The Battle of the Somme, Lenin's return to Petrograd, Germany signing the Treaty of Versailles to name but three of many and the way that Follett is able to weave fact with fiction is impressive and informative. You do have to suspend your disbelief a bit as the paths of the characters cross time and again, both with each other, and with the historical figures of the time, but it is worth the effort and through this approach to history, you do get a sense of how these events affected the lives of so many different people around the world. There is sometimes a more laboured explanation of things - for example the British parliamentary system, than is strictly necessary, but then this is a work aimed at a global audience not just a UK one and at times the dialogue between the characters seems a bit stilted as they vocalise different positions on issues of the day which can read a bit like a history essay.
Overall though, this is definitely worth reading. It's well-researched, easy to read, and sustains the reader's interest level well throughout. I look forward to reading the next part of this trilogy, although I understand we'll have to wait for that until 2012. Incidentally, I read this book on my Kindle - and having seen the size of the physical version in a bookshop, I am pleased that I didn't have to lug it around with me.
If, like me, you enjoyed the Pillars of the Earth, you'll probably enjoy this as well for it's ability to make history come alive although the historical period in question is very different.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Readable and informative....., 16 May 2012
By 
Wynne Kelly "Kellydoll" (Coventry, UK) - See all my reviews
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Ken Follett sets out to tell the story of the first quarter of the last century. He uses characters from USA, Germany, Austria, France, Russia, England and Wales and interweaves their fictional lives with real people and real events. The result is a highly readable, enjoyable and informative book. The story includes many of the main world events of the time: women's suffrage, imperialism, the labour movement, war, the Treaty of Versailles, the Russian Revolution and prohibition. It begins with the coronation of King George V in Westminster Abbey and ends with the imprisonment of a young National Socialist in Germany whose name is Adolf Hitler.

The book spends a considerable amount of time on the lead up to the Great War - the best I can remember outside a history book. Follett is skilful enough to inform the reader about world events while at the same time using his characters to move the action on. This is not a literary masterpiece and there are definitely a few clichés sprinkled through it. There is a coal-mine, so we know there will be an explosion and mining disaster. If there is a pretty young house maid we can guess she will be seduced.

The research is all very impressive and many interesting facts are included. He mentions the large number of Indian soldiers that took part in the war. (Look for their names if ever you visit the Menin Gate Memorial at Ypres.) And he includes the counter-revolutionary war against Russia supported by Britain and America. I did wonder, however, if he had given the United States a bit of an easy ride? I will reserve judgement until I have read Part 2.

A highly enjoyable epic.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an engrossing read, 8 Nov 2012
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i loved this book for 2 reasons. firstly it is a wonderful story encompassing the globe; the mining slums of wales, the brutal world of russia under the tsar and then the bolshoviks, the american land of promise and plenty and war torn europe.

the characters' lives are skillfully interwoven and shaped by world events and family duty.

The second is that it is so full of facts about how the First World War came about, expressed from varying points of view, and the aftermath in Europe and Russia that I have learnt so much and have a greater understanding about events and reasons.

If you enjoy huge family sagas this is one for you.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's Competently Researched, Effortless To Read, And Keeps The Reader's Attention Throughout, 14 May 2012
Ken Follett without doubt lays down his reputation as a master story-weaver of the historical classic with "Fall of Giants," this the first part of an incredibly large-scale piece of story telling, he has called "the Century Trilogy" as the series title signifies, it narrates the unruly times of the 20th century.

Set alongside this chronological view are the tangled lives of nearly a hundred characters but don't worry this story-weaver has at the front of this book given us a cast list of the characters involved, a whole six pages.

This tale begins in 1911 when the giants of the title, the crowned heads of Europe, are powerfully established in their palaces, when it ends in 1924 they are all gone except King George V of Britain.
Between the years of 1911 and 1924 we have the various upheavals that were to restructure the world, the world that my great grandparents and grandparents knew.

Offered with plenty of possibility for action by these somewhat turbulent times Ken Follett takes full advantage of this occasion to weave a story that must surely touch the lives of each and every reader.

Apart from the destinies of the reigning crowned heads of Europe we follow the entangled destinies of five families, in Wales, England, Germany, Russia, and America.

Ken Follett has a thorough understanding of the history of this period and his skill to incorporate his research and his fictional characters into an animated, appealing story is masterful.
He's exceptionally successful in relating the build-up to the 1914-18 war, when all hopes of a peaceful resolution steadily disappeared because of the conceit, belligerence, and epic lack of forethought of the powers that be led the way for the devastation that would overshadow the following decades.

This is a gigantic book; however, it was quick to read what with love stories, industrial unrest, political dramas, battlefield awfulness, class struggles it is presented to us in instalments, setting out on the journey first with one section of the story, and then another, at times joining together in unforeseen ways.

I loved the way the characters are eyewitness's to such historic events which include; The Battle of the Somme (My maternal great grandfather fell on the first day), Germany signing the Treaty of Versailles to name but two of many historical events and the way that Ken Follett is so adept to be able weave fact with fiction is inspiring and enlightening.

I really got a sense of how these events had an effect on the lives of so many of my very own families, and as I read this book I found myself thinking that what my great grandparents and grandparents had to go through is why they fought so hard for the vote, women's equality and a living wage and why the first world war maybe had to happen.

In conclusion this is book that is unquestionably worth reading, it's competently researched, effortless to read, and keeps the reader's attention throughout, and I guarantee that If, like me, you enjoy historical novels you'll take pleasure in the masterly woven stories of Ken Follett for his ability to make history come alive.
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bit Corny, 5 April 2012
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I don't often give negative reviews. There were elements of this book which were excellent and emotional. There are parts with heroism, areas of realism too. The problem I found was that the characters had little depth and often there were lengthy descriptions of people who are of no great consequence to the plot. There is also a lot of inconsequencial action. You could abridge the book to half its length and not miss a thing. Much of the story is corny and overdone and has been done before by other authors. There is a theory that there are only seven plots in the world and you can fit your story in one of them. I have a feeling Mr Follett has used a formula on that basis. I liked 'The Pillars of the Earth' but won't buy the rest of this series as I didn't care enough about the characters to be curious.
Three stars? Well as I mentioned some areas of the book are qitte good but most is overworked.
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43 of 48 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The First Book..., 12 Jun 2011
By 
Mr (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I bought this on a whim, I wanted something to read as I put my feet up and thought it would be an easy read. An easy read it is, and yes as some of the other reviews point out some of the dialouge is awful, but some of the dialouge is also quite good and the descriptive passages that outline the origins of the First World War are very good indeed. The characters are broad and likeable, slightly weaker when Follett is dealing with the Russian characters. Unlike many other writers of his age and gender at least 60% of the female characters in this book have a coherent narrative arc and are sympathetic to the reader. I enjoyed the book, it rattles along and is more diverting and more interesting that slumping in front of an episode or six of Downtown Abbey. This promises to be a long saga which should appeal to those who have read and enjoyed "Homeland" by John Jakes. As an entertainment it is five stars, as a piece of literature probably two stars, as history three stars. If you are seeking a seering First World War novel read Pat Barker, if you are seeking an insight into the misery of war read anything by Richard Holmes, this novel is for those of us who like history, like engaging characters and an author with a good yarn to spin. Despite myself I thoroughly enjoyed it...and that's why it gets four stars!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ken Follett Books, 23 Aug 2013
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This is my third Ken Follett Book and the fourth is already in my Kindle App.

Not only are these. Boos well written and entertaining they are also a new insight for me into this country's history and the grounding of what are some of society's issues still today.

Thoroughly recommend.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing historical epic, 20 Jun 2013
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From the writer of Pillars of the Earth comes another excellent historical novel. This, the first of a trilogy, covers the build-up to the First World war through the experiences of a Russian peasant, a Welsh aristocrat, a German count and a young American politician. All the poltical manoevering is explained easily and entertainingly, there's a love story, the characters are well-drawn and there's plenty of action. I am looking forward to reading the rest of the trilogy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow!, 8 Nov 2012
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As a prolific reader and a lover of historical fiction I have to say this is one of the best books I have ever read. I am usually disappointed when I get to the end of a good book but thankfully this one is so long that I haven't got there yet (I am at the beginning of part 3). The scope is epic and well held together. The subject of the first world war and the Russian revolution is one that I am hoping was well researched as I feel like I have learnt an awful lot. The characters are interesting and engaging and so human. I am looking forward to reading the next two books of the trilogy and hope that they are just as good.
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Fall of Giants (The Century Trilogy)
Fall of Giants (The Century Trilogy) by Ken Follett (Hardcover - 28 Sep 2010)
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