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Publisher's Summary

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 immigrate 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.
©2010 Ken Follett (P)2010 Penguin Audio
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By S. R. Gibb on 09-04-11

Disapointing

I really wanted to like this book. I have been a keen student of 20th century history since high school, 40 years ago.

Alas I found myself unable to really engage with the characters, finding them rather cardboard cutout. I could not help feeling that each was created purely to act as a vehicle to show key historical moments and most of the conversations they had, tended to give us lengthy history lessons. The fact that they seemed to somehow turn up at key points of world events of the time, I found clunky.
The book is redeemed to an extent by some great descriptions, the delivery of casulty telegrams being one good scene.
Overall, while i have no argument with the accuracy of the events portrayed, I feel that Mr Follet may have been better to have reduced the scope of the epic and used history as a background to the characters lives rather than awkwardly dropping them into each significant event. Not a book I could immerse myself in, rather, I skipped along the top, unable to find a way in

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8 of 8 people found this review helpful


By Rev. Kate on 11-27-11

Powerful work; exceptional & gripping adventure.

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

This audiobook is worth every cent and every second. I would very happily recommend this book to family and friends.A masterful piece.

What other book might you compare Fall of Giants to and why?

Ken Follett is an outstanding author. Yet, I find it very hard to compare one skilled writer's work with other skilled writer's work, even of the same genre, as their styles often differ quite dramatically... and so attempting to compare their work is a bit like debating which is the best type of friut.I can, however, state that there is no better wordsmith for his standard and style of work. The way he keeps your attention from start to finish, never under nor overstating life and it's bare,sometimes brutual, sometimes sensual, but always honest realities. He just weaves you into the lives of his characters and never lets you breath until he's finished.

Have you listened to any of John Lee’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I have not heard John Lee's performance before, but his reading style is personable and clever. His interpretation of humour is simple and real, and his ability to hold your utter attention in dramatic moments is highly skilled. Brilliant performance... and I will be pleased to listen to any of his other readings.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I certainly laughed at times. And, I was certainly provoked to deep consideration of incidents and experiences, astonishment for the intricate manipulations of the war machine of the early 20th century, disgust for the polarised standards of rights and responsibilities, and I was prompted to empathy,sadness and even tears for the distainful attitude of negligence for life.

Any additional comments?

Brilliant work. Exceptional story. Plot and networking to real events was outstanding. An utter pleasure that I was sad to finish. A clever, highly skilled work that will stay with listener for some time... Superb!!

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By Kirstine on 04-23-14

A superb historical novel

There are many novels based on the impact of the First World War on peoples’ lives but none better than this book. The factual content is an excellent analysis of how countries slipped into what turned out to be a disaster and a salutary reminder of how hubris and stupidity can change the course of history. Where this book scores over a straight historical account of the period is that the author creates such engaging characters who are deftly inserted into this tumultuous period of world history whose fates become personally important and whose imaginary lives illustrate forcefully the impact of the war on all strata of society, on women and countries across the world. The book isn’t jingoistic in that there are sympathetic characters as well rogues and autocrats from both sides of the conflict though there is more sympathy for the ordinary people than for those with influence over events.
I was engrossed for over 30 hours by superb story-telling, excellently narrated, and will be downloading the next part, Winter of the World, as my next listen.

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18 of 18 people found this review helpful


By Amazon Customer on 09-14-11

What a discovery

I have found this an absolutely absorbing listen, and have even found myself drawn to listen to another chapter at times outside my normal listening schedule. It has encouraged me to purchase a further two of the author's books as I had not listened or read any of his books before.

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18 of 18 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Sue on 02-18-14

A gripping and unmissable historical fiction!

If you could sum up Fall of Giants in three words, what would they be?

History made interesting.

What did you like best about this story?

Ken Folletts characters, while sometimes cliched, are always interesting, and always masterfully interwoven.

Any additional comments?

I listened to this audio book after reading a hard copy (and loving it), to improve my knowledge of early 20th century history. Whilst I recognise that it is a history of interpretation by Mr Folletts, he nevertheless covers all of the most important events before, during and after the First World War, with great accuracy. This history, so often told in dry and difficult style in non fiction works, becomes alive when told through the lives of a number of interwoven fictional characters from different countries. The narrator, John Lee does an excellent job of dealing with many different accents and really made the book come alive for me. I loved it even more as an audio book. Highly recommended.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful


By Amy on 11-29-16

Wonderful!

This book is amazing, do not be intimidated by it's length. Ken Follett captivated me captivated again, just like with Pillars of the Earth (if you haven't read that btw, it's brilliant and a must). It is also based very strictly on historical fact, which I find to be fantastic and fascinating. I've been recommending this book to anyone who will listen.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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