"Fall of Giants" was pretty good, and I learned a lot about WWI but it was too much politics for me. Most I'm sure will love it.
It was OK. But it was a disappointment after some of his other books. I finished it because I had waited so long to get it. But eeeeeh. I just didn't get caught up in it.
A novel of love and war by master storyteller Ken Follett. Fall of Giants is the first in his new Century Trilogy, covering the beginnings of the twentieth century.
We follow five families from several countries through the period right before World War I up to the mid 1920s. Viewpoints of people and politicians from Russia, Germany, Britain, America and other countries involved in WWI were distinct. We see glimpses of battlefield trenches, espionage, diplomacy strategies, love affairs, and women contributing to the war effort from home. I learned a great deal about the political intricacies of the war, class struggle (fall of the aristocracy and rise of the working class) and the women’s suffragette movement. Much time is spent on the politics of war, and while I would have preferred more plot development, I respect the research that went into this historical tome.
Each character is well-fleshed out and the plot nicely paced. I found the characters fascinating and distinct, but dwarfed by the ramifications of war. The love story between a British woman and German man was icing on the cake, but left me wanting for more information about them. My favorite character was a miner from Wales, William Williams (or Billy Twice). Two Russian brothers switch identities. The implications of that are fascinating. The cast of characters is nicely organized by country in the beginning of the book.
Many reviews on Amazon scrutinize and criticize the book for stereotypical characters according to ethnic origin. I read the book purely for pleasure and enjoyed being entertained and instructed. Nothing can compare in my mind to Follett’s brilliant Pillars of the Earth, but perhaps I just prefer the medieval period. Still, Fall of Giants was compelling enough for me to want to read the next two installments in the trilogy.
Reviewed by Holly Weiss, author of Crestmont