5 Stars

Book 1 in the Century Trilogy

***Spoilers***

Another brilliant novel from Mr Follett. Another series to keep you hooked.
I love the rich character development that left me feeling as though they were people i knew personally. The descriptive quality of the narration really captured me and creates a visual aspect that has the reader feeling like they are truly immersed in the world he has created.
I started out loving Fitz. He was a great character. But as the story developed i liked him less and less and by end i kind of detested him which was a tiny bit disappointing. I was hoping he would be redeemed in my eyes by the end. But the complete indifference he shows towards Lloyd and Ethel is appalling – he offered a house for her and the child and an education for the boy but only if its in exchange for her being his mistress. Then the complete distaste he shows for her after her political leanings are more evident was unsurprising but a little disappointing. His treatment of Billy… not very nice… but mostly it was his treatment of Maud after she divulged her secret that really ruined him for me. It is deplorable that he cut her off completely all because she didn’t ask his permission…. lord and master! The only reason he was in charge of all the family wealth was because he was born a boy and only boys could inherit but he should have seen it as his responsibility to assist. The fact that she and her family had to do without so much just because of his pettiness really annoyed me.
The scenes of war were suitably harrowing.
I love Walter and Mauds love story. So nice to see a man that doesn’t conveniently forget he has a wife during wartime the second a cute and willing woman flirts their way. A true romance.
Lev was a deplorable character and i hope he gets a good dose of karma in the sequels.
Ethels husband was so insipid as to be completely forgettable – i can’t recall his name.
The fact that the characters inspire any emotion in the reader is a sign of a very well constructed book. But that’s no surprise being a Ken Follett. I have yet to read one of his that doesn’t leave me wanting more.

 

Goodreads Synopsis:

Fall of Giants is Ken Follett’s 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 20th 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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