I received this book for free from the library in exchange for my honest opinions/ review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.Fall of Giants by Ken Follett
Series: Century Trilogy #1
Published by Berkley on September 28th 2010
Genres: historical fiction
Source: the library
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This is an epic of love, hatred, war and revolution. 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.
So, this is the second time reading this, and just like the Pillars of the Earth series, it’s not quite as good as I remembered.
It’s still a great read – just not quite as amazing as the first time through. Isn’t that always the case with anything one loves?
This is the type of book/series I love, that was so popular in the 70’s and 80’s, and I don’t see a lot of today. It’s a multiple generational series, spawning multiple wars, over the globe, so you get different viewpoints and see different parts of the action (John Jakes was so good at this in his prime, as was Michnener!)
The characters in the book are, for the most part, very normal people. Sure you’ve got the nobility, but we are supposed to relate to these individuals, and we do. Their normalacy is how we relate to them so well. Do I find myself falling in love with them and crying when they do? Well, no. There’s just SO many characters – you have to have a lot in a book like this – but it’s hard to keep them all straight sometimes (even with Follett’s cheat list in the front) and it’s hard to get really involved.
There are some other issues with the book as well. Follett I think has his own bias in the book and that shows through in the entire series in the “working class” verses “aristocracy” fight. It gets tiresome. Life isn’t that simple. Follett also seems determined that everyone reading his novels are idiots, feels the need to explain every little tiny thing in great detail, and repeats himself throughout, often within the same paragraph. The characters speech is especially bad / unrealistic with the over-explanation of details that wouldn’t happen in real life. If I was talking to my mother about the President of the United States, I wouldn’t say “Donald Trump, the President of the United States who lives in Washington, D.C. our nation’s capital”, I’d say “Trump is …” and make my point.