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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I would have liked to have read more details about the Vietnam War
The first two parts of the trilogy were possibly more dramatic due to the scale of the main events in that period, namely, two world wars. However, the third instalment is just as interesting and thrilling to read. It is a period I can relate to as it coincides with my younger days. And therefore brought back many memories to me and thoughts on how I was reacting to...
Published 7 months ago by Darius

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing end to a promising trilogy
The century trilogy is a brilliant idea, and the first book `Fall of Giants' is a good read, the second (Winter of the World) is also pretty good but when it comes to the third, (Edge of Eternity) it is wearing very thin, with a pretty formulaic approach to the story. Dealing with world events through the experiences of ordinary people is one thing but by the time you...
Published 8 months ago by Simon Says


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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I would have liked to have read more details about the Vietnam War, 11 Nov. 2014
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This review is from: Edge of Eternity (The Century Trilogy) (Hardcover)
The first two parts of the trilogy were possibly more dramatic due to the scale of the main events in that period, namely, two world wars. However, the third instalment is just as interesting and thrilling to read. It is a period I can relate to as it coincides with my younger days. And therefore brought back many memories to me and thoughts on how I was reacting to the various events breaking at the time. I did find some of the events described, dragged on a bit, the Cuban missile crisis and the Civil Rights campaign, to name a couple, But perhaps this was intentional to attract the American readers. I also felt that the sexual affairs of many characters were overemphasised, I suppose sex and money are the two most important motivators for careerminded people, which most of the characters appear to be. Nevertheless, the book still deserves a top 5 star rating because the author has ideally matched up the fictional characters located in different parts of the world to real historic events. Perhaps one missing element was to have an evil character among the fictional families, they all turned out to be heroic in their own right. I would have liked to have read more details about the Vietnam War. This topic was almost brushed aside in the story, a shame as it would reveal great action and drama. The book as indeed the whole trilogy, is a masterpiece, in my opinion. And I hope the author returns soon with another smash hit, perhaps set against a historical genre, which Ken Follett is so good at bringing into life.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing end to a promising trilogy, 20 Oct. 2014
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The century trilogy is a brilliant idea, and the first book `Fall of Giants' is a good read, the second (Winter of the World) is also pretty good but when it comes to the third, (Edge of Eternity) it is wearing very thin, with a pretty formulaic approach to the story. Dealing with world events through the experiences of ordinary people is one thing but by the time you get to the third volume one gets the impression of reading the artificially constructed lives of minor but active players in the big geopolitical events of the second half of the 20th century. Descriptions of the sexual interactions between characters becomes quite frankly boring halfway through volume 2, and by the time you get to volume 3 their only value is to enable `speed-reading', i.e. skipping through them to get to the next interesting bit! (one Amazon reviewer complained that the whole trilogy was `smut'). The whole trilogy was a decent `holiday read' but not a patch on the author's `Pillars of the Earth' /'World Without End' mediaeval stories. Whilst it follows a similar formula unfortunately some events (particularly in the third volume) are sufficiently in living memory of potential readers for it not to work as convincingly. Good exposition of the struggle against all kinds of oppression in the first half of the 20th Century, and after WW2 on both sides of the iron curtain, but the credibility of the whole thing collapsed in volume 3 due to the complete absence of any reference to Thatcher's Britain (ironic, given the first volume's dependence on the exposition of the conflicts between mineowners and miners in the years before and after WW1) and the collapse of the narrative into a clumsy 'West Wing' storyline which is quite pedestrian and even facile in its presentation of the black American Civil Rights movement, the Cuban missile crisis, and the events in Europe leading to the collapse of the Soviet Union. Decent `holiday' reading, and I will check out his other works, but I am sorry cannot be enthusiastic about this trilogy either as a literary work or as an interpretation of history. Decent holiday read, but disappointing form Ken Follet!
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant,engaging a must read., 21 Oct. 2014
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I am not going to write a long essay about this trilogy, I never read those I will say that if you like historical accuracy, political intrigue, family drama then this is the set of books for you. This brilliantly written and engaging story follows the fortunes of the main families from the Russian reveloution,the British class system through the WW1, bringing political change in women's rights and workers freedom to WW2 bringing innovation,Nazism and the cold war. We follow the fortunes of the families on 3 continents fighting against communism, women's suffrage,the civil rights and the brink of nuclear destruction. Finally bringing us to the fall of communism and the election of the first African American president of the United States. The author engages the reader with family members,the character's are believable and you want to know what happens to them. The historical content is brilliant and the descriptions of manor battles and political crises have taught me to understand how these historic events came about. I enjoyed every page and would highly recommend you put the kettle on and settle down a good read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Background to my life, 1 Mar. 2015
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I am a 60 year old white British male. I am lucky. Anyone who thinks otherwise should read this book. It is the background to my life. Ok so it is not a complete history of the 20th century, maybe some of the incidents are fictionalized a bit to much and maybe it is not a literary masterpiece.

But what it is is a damned fine tale of a number of families all set against the background of some very real and disturbing events. As a final part of the Century Trilogy it is a fitting addition. Ok so it is full of huge and unlikely coincidences that place the central set of families right at the heart of mammoth events in history. But at the end of the day it is simply a tale not a full chronically of our times.

However I am surprised that there are quite a few gaps in the story that may have been included if there had been less emphasis on some other areas. Why no mention of AIDS. In a rock and roll and Hollywood context this certainly existed yet not touched upon. The absence of any British foreign policy mistakes even though British politicians are key characters. Did the miners strike not take place, did the Falklands not happen, where does the Arab Israili conflict fit into all of this.

Perhaps I am looking too deep or expecting too much. At the end of the day it is just a story about some families - or is it. Maybe a passing reference to the band playing at Woodstock or Glastonbury might have worked.

All of these are minor points. I have enjoyed the trilogy for what it was. A story of good verses evil where good does not defeat bad but where bad - I whatever guise you like - defeats itself.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Four stars for making it to the end, 6 Jan. 2015
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Once you've bought into this mighty saga - the history of the western world in the 20th century, no less, in the form of three huge novels - it's impossible not to see it through to the end, admiring the author's ambition and work ethic as you read.
So four stars for effort and vision, but rather less for the story: it's meant to be a novel not a chronicle, after all, and this is the least successful of the trilogy in that respect. Maybe because the first two had world wars at the centre of the narrative, and this one, opening in 1961 and dealing mainly with the Cold War and the fight for civil rights in the USA and eastern Europe, has a much less focussed subject matter.
It's not helped by the fact that the original handful of families has grown down the generations so it's very hard to keep track of who's who, especially as the original (and far more vivid) characters die off. There are some very convincing portraits of historical characters - JFK in particular - but sometimes it felt as if the author had decided on the historical narrative and was bending his fictional characters to fit, regardless of how twisted and unlikely the story became. Turning some of them into pop stars, for example, seemed particularly clunky, and the Vietnam scenes were straight out of Apocalypse Now.
And as I ploughed through some of the duller exposition, it became harder to ignore the author's more annoying traits, like describing and explaining absolutely everything, telling us how physically attractive each character is, and dwelling on their sexual encounters more than is strictly necessary.
But if you like an absorbing historical/family saga with some memorable set pieces, one in which the narrative is entirely dictated by real events, then you should give this a try - you'll have to start at the beginning, but the first of the trilogy, Fall of Giants (The Century Trilogy), is a much easier read. I don't agree with the Sunday Times reviewer on the cover who says it's "one of the literary masterpieces of our time", but I can't help but admire it - even if the main emotion I felt when it finally ended (with the election of President Obama) was one of relief!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ... of Ken Follett's 20th Century Trilogy was a very good read but not quite as good as the previous ..., 15 Oct. 2014
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The third of Ken Follett's 20th Century Trilogy was a very good read but not quite as good as the previous two. Sometimes the detail became repetitive and the book could have been shorter without loss of narrative. It did however give a close insight into the tensions between East and West in the cold war period as well as a gruelling account of the cruelties of segregationist America during this time. I found the parallel accounts of four families in Moscow, Berlin, London and Washington a little confusing at times and I had to keep reminding myself who was who.
Despite the authors clear leftwing leaning, he made clear that the people suffering in a Communist state was no different from those suffering under Nazism. Although I have one or two reservations I do recommend this book.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great conclusion to the trilogy, 4 Dec. 2014
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John Hopper (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This is the final volume of the author's trilogy dealing with the lives and interactions with great events of a number of families in the US, the USSR, Germany and Britain (though scenes set in this country are few and far between and easily the least dramatic episodes in the narrative). The first half of the book is full of dramatic and tense events and passages: the struggle in the US for civil rights for African Americans against the forces of brutal authoritarianism and society's prejudices; the Cuban missile crisis where the world came closer than before or since to nuclear armageddon; and daring escapes over the Berlin wall, facing the merciless ruthlessness of the border guards who shot escapees on sight. The second half of the book, or at least the passages after about the early to mid 1970s, lacked the impact of the early parts for me, though the final chapters on the dramatic events of 1989 in Eastern Europe were gripping. There is also a strong thread of music making throughout the narrative. As it covered the period 1961 to 1989, the novel might almost have been called "Wall to Wall" - Edge of Eternity seems a rather vacuous title. A great read, and I think this Century trilogy is Follett's best work, surpassing Pillars of the Earth.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars No huge surprises - and too artificial, 7 Feb. 2015
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Jacob la Cour (Hellerup, Denmark) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Edge of Eternity (The Century Trilogy) (Hardcover)
I can't really get over how artificial it feels that all of the decendants of the main charatcers of the first book become very important persons, and most of them the main advisors of the key political figures of the Cold war. It is simply too far fetched and too constructed. Furthermore, if you know just a bit about World History, you are not really surprised or excited about the construction of the Berlin Wall, the Cuban missile crisis, the assasination of JFK, Watergate, and the fall of the wall. It had been a lot more interesting if the book had told about less known events. There are no real surprises about the fictional characters either. None of them die or exerience really surprising turns of fate. They are nice to follow, but not really exciting.

One more gets to focus on all the discrepancies with real events. Of course the author has artistic freedom, but when some facts are deliberately left out, you start wondering why. For example RFK is portraied as a Saint compared to his older brother. He has a perfect family life and keeps breeding with his wife. Not a word about extra marital affairs, or the (probable) assasination of Marylin Monroe. A strange figure of 80,000 (American?) casualties in Vietnam in 1967 is stated, and it is mentioned (in the 1960'ies) that East Germany is not really a state.

The most interesting was the detailed account of life behind the iron curtain in East Germany, but you don't need to go through 1000+ pages to get that.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A Huge Disappointment., 21 Dec. 2014
I seem to be in the minority here, but this for me was a massive let down. I gave 'Fall of Giants' 5 stars and thought the 2nd volume very good but this final novel in the century trilogy is an appalling, cliche ridden,turgid account of White House and Kremlin politics from the construction, to the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Obviously written for Follett's massive American and German following, it ignores events in the United Kingdom during this period entirely. The characters are obsessed with sex throughout, regardless of their age and there is a sleeziness to the writing that is both boring and disrespectful to the real life public figures and statesmen that Follett depicts in this awful book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but not great; a small let down, 17 Oct. 2014
It was a pleasant read, this 3rd book in Follett's trilogy, but not as good as the second, which in turn was not as powerful as the first. This 3rd book contained the descendents of the first book we met, sometimes the grandchildren and great grandchildren, which was very nice for those of us who have followed the entire Century Trilogy through. But the characters, nice as they were, were not as gripping as in the first book - nowhere near, in fact. The fall of the Berlin Wall at the end was very well written, acting as a real high note on which to end, but for most part, this 1000-plus-paged 3rd book was a bit of a let down. It did feel like the author had to fulfill his contract and had run out of steam a little. Follett definitely drew on his considerable skills in writing and vast experience in handling a big cast to pull this book off relatively well, and such a book by a lesser author would have been quite an accomplishment. But having read his other books, this one...well...I doubt it is going to rate as one of his greatest. In the same way, Pillars of the Earth was a powerful first book, but the sequel, World Without End, was much weaker, and a shadow of the first. I suppose for completion's sake, I am glad to have read Edge of Eternity and 'finished' the Trilogy, and certainly it was not exactly hardship to read it - have read far worse! - but it was not the treat i was hoping it would be.
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Edge of Eternity (The Century Trilogy)
Edge of Eternity (The Century Trilogy) by Ken Follett (Hardcover - 16 Sept. 2014)
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