Fall of Giants (The Century Trilogy #1) [NOOK Book]

Overview

Ken Follett’s magnificent new historical epic begins, as five interrelated families move through the momentous dramas of the First World War, the Russian Revolution, and the struggle for women’s suffrage.



A thirteen-year-old Welsh boy enters a man’s world in the mining pits.…An American law student rejected in love finds a surprising new career in Woodrow Wilson’s White ...
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Fall of Giants (The Century Trilogy #1)

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Overview

Ken Follett’s magnificent new historical epic begins, as five interrelated families move through the momentous dramas of the First World War, the Russian Revolution, and the struggle for women’s suffrage.



A thirteen-year-old Welsh boy enters a man’s world in the mining pits.…An American law student rejected in love finds a surprising new career in Woodrow Wilson’s White House.… 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 a German spy.…And two orphaned Russian brothers embark on radically different paths when their plan to emigrate to America falls afoul of war, conscription, and revolution.



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, Fall of Giants takes us into the inextricably entangled fates of five families—and into a century that we thought we knew, but that now will never seem the same again.…
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

With novels like Pillars of the Earth, The Key to Rebecca and World Without End to his credit, Ken Follett could continue to please fans with standalone fiction. Instead, this respected, popular (100+ million copies sold) author has just embarked on an ambitious time-spanning, globe-spanning epic. Each book will focus on a new generation of five inter-related families of five distinct nationalities: American, German, Russian, English, and Welsh. This thousand-page fiction takes its main characters into some of the main theaters of the First World War, the Russian Revolution, and the struggle for women's suffrage. Fiction on a grand scale.

William Sheehan
…in every way, a Big Book…Just as Herman Wouk did in The Winds of War and War and Remembrance, Follett creates a large cast of fictional characters and deploys them across the globe, using their private experiences to illuminate the catastrophic events that marked the early years of the century…[Follett] knows how to tell a compelling, well-constructed story. Once its basic elements are in place, the narrative acquires a cumulative, deceptively effortless momentum…Perhaps the major reasons for the novel's ultimate success are Follett's comprehensive grasp of the historical record and his ability to integrate research into a colorful, engaging narrative.
—The Washington Post
Roger Boylan
…Follett is ­masterly in conveying so much drama and historical information so vividly. He puts to good use the professional skills he has honed over the years—giving his characters a conversational style neither pseudo-quaint nor jarringly contemporary. That works well. And for all his belief in the redemptive quality of liberal humanism, he makes sure not to endow his characters with excessively modern sensibilities. As for the occasional cliché—well, unless you're Tolstoy, you're not going to have the time or the ability to be original throughout your 1,000-page blockbuster. Ken Follett is no Tolstoy, but he is a tireless storyteller, and although his tale has flaws, it's grippingly told, and readable to the end.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
Using characters from different countries—Russia, Wales, England, the U.S., and Germany—and from different classes, Follett's first book in the Century trilogy provides a compelling mesh of interactions that push the story forward and allow a panoramic view of WWI's burden on five families. With over 30 hours, this audiobook would be a challenge for any narrator, but John Lee proves a solid and engaging choice. His deep voice moves through the prose smoothly and forcefully; he manipulates his tone, emphasis, and accent to develop vocal personas for the extensive cast of characters, and keeps a solid pace through the dialogue. It's a marathon performance of a mammoth book that will leave listeners eagerly anticipating the next installment. A Dutton hardcover. (Sept.)
Library Journal - BookSmack!
Quality fiction is important. You don't want a story insulting your intelligence or wasting your time, though Paul Carson managed both with Ambush (St. Martin's, 2008). Be it his medieval saga The Pillars of the Earth (41 freaking hours on audio!) or taut thrillers like Code to Zero, my pick of the day for top-shelf stuff is fat Welshman Follett. The new thing he's doing is a 20th-century historical novel. But, wait, before he goes all Leon Uris on your ass (get it? Uris? Your Ass? Plus the whole historical novel thing? HA!), know that Follett keeps things peppy through what could be a torture-chamber-length book. Covering 1911 to the early 1920s, the story ranges all over Europe, Asia, and America following five families before during and after the Great War and the Russian Revolution. Central characters come to typify the societal upheaval du jour, such as Ethel, sister of a Welsh coal miner, who becomes a suffragette after squeezin' out a bastard. Follett is painting on a big canvas, so like George Lucas's Star Wars crap, some situations feel forced, and some characters feel like toy soldiers. Readers might have the sense they are reading the same text over again. But you're not reading an assburner like this for fine character detail, are you? It's entertaining, high-quality stuff on the whole. Keep in mind another not-crap writer who occasionally has stuff explode: James Lee Burke. And a woman who frequently has the crap explode right out of her: Delta Burke (no relation). — Douglas Lord, "Books for Dudes," Booksmack! 1/6/11
Kirkus Reviews

A massive, cat-squashing, multigenerational and multifamilial saga, the first volume of what Follett (World Without End, 2007, etc.) promises as a trilogy devoted to the awful 20th century.

The giants in question, metaphorically, are the great and noble families of old Europe, a generally useless lot with a few notable exceptions. One such worthy, Lord Fitzherbert (try not to think of Bridget Jones here), is a sun around which lesser planets circle, a decent fellow who had been an admiral, British ambassador to the tsar's court at St. Petersburg, and a government minister. His son, Earl Fitzherbert, is less notable, if fabulously wealthy: He "had done nothing to earn his huge income,"and the presence of the awful Liberals in Parliament, Winston Churchill among them, keeps him from coming into his own as the great foreign secretary he wishes he could be. Into the Fitzherbertian orbit fall the Williamses, Welsh colliers of sweet voice and radical disposition; if Follett's sprawling story has a center, it is in Billy, who is but 13 as the saga opens and has a great deal of growing up to do. In the outlying reaches of the galaxy is Grigori Peshkov, plotter of the Bolshevik victory and slayer of tsarist officers in a scene straight out of Doctor Zhivago, a confidant of Trotsky's, who figures in the later pages ("Trotsky took the bad news calmly. Lenin would have thrown a fit"). He's just one of history's greats to bow into Follett's pages: Churchill figures into the story, as does Woodrow Wilson. But so, too, does a full six-page dramatis personae, so that there's never a dull or unpeopled moment. Throughout it all, Follett keeps a dependable narrative chugging along; if the writing is never exalted, it is never less than workmanlike, though one wonders about anachronisms here and there. (Did Woodrow Wilson, college president and master diplomat, really say "Heck"?)

With an announced million-copy initial printing and a national author tour, this is sure to be one of the season's inevitable and unavoidable blockbusters—and not undeservedly.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101543559
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 8/30/2011
  • Series: Century Trilogy , #1
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 960
  • Sales rank: 71
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Ken Follett
Ken Follett was twenty-seven when he wrote Eye of the Needle, an award-winning thriller that became an international bestseller. After several more successful thrillers, he surprised everyone with Pillars of the Earth, about the building of a cathedral in the Middle Ages, which continues to captivate readers all over the world. Its long-awaited sequel, World Without End, was a national and international bestseller. Follett's new magnificent historical epic, The Century Trilogy, opened with the bestselling Fall of Giants, which introduced readers to five interrelated families navigating the 20th century. He lives in England with his wife, Barbara Follett.

Biography

As a young boy growing up in Cardiff, Wales, Ken Follett's love for all things literary began early on. The son of devoutly religious parents who didn't allow their children to watch television or even listen to the radio, Follett found himself drawn to the library. It soon became his favorite place -- its shelves full of stories providing his escape, and ultimately, his inspiration.

Follett's more formal education took place years later at London's University College, where he studied philosophy -- a choice that, as he explains on his official Web site, he believes guided his career as an author. "There is a real connection between philosophy and fiction," Follet explains. "In philosophy you deal with questions like: ‘We're sitting at this table, but is the table real?' A daft question, but in studying philosophy, you need to take that sort of thing seriously and have an off-the-wall imagination. Writing fiction is the same."

After graduating in 1970, a journalism class touched off Follett's career as a writer. He started out covering beats for the South Wales Echo, and later wrote a column for London's Evening News. Becoming more and more interested in writing fiction on evenings and weekends, however, Follett soon realized that books were his true business, and in 1974 he went to work for Everest Books, a humble London publishing house.

After releasing a few of his own novels to less than thunderous acclaim --including The Shakeout (1975) and Paper Money (1977) -- Follett finally hit it big with 1978's Eye of the Needle. The taut, edgy thriller with more than a dash of sex appeal flew off the shelves, winning the Edgar award and allowing Follett to quit his job and get to work on his next book, Triple. Showing no signs of a sophomore slump, Triple went on to spark a string of bestselling spy thrillers, including The Key to Rebecca (1980), The Man from St. Petersburg (1982), and Lie Down with Lions (1986). 1983's On Wings of Eagles was an interesting departure -- a nonfiction account of how two of Ross Perot's employees were rescued from Iran in 1979.

Follett changed direction even more sharply in 1989, surprising fans with The Pillars of the Earth -- a novel set in the Middle Ages many critics considered his crowning achievement. "A novel of majesty and power," said The Chicago Sun-Times of Follett's epic story. "It will hold you, fascinate you, surround you."

Follett's next three books were a trio considered to be more suspenseful than thrill-filled -- Night Over Water (1991), A Dangerous Fortune (1993) and A Place Called Freedom (1995), but The Third Twin (1996) and The Hammer of Eden (1998) marked a return to Follett's trademark capers. The wartime novels Code to Zero (2000) and Jackdaws (2001) showcased Follett's "unique ability to tell stories of international conflict and tell them well," according to Larry King in USA Today.

Follett "hits the mark again" (Publishers Weekly) with his latest story of international intrigue, Hornet Flight (2002) -- the WWII story of a young couple trying to escape occupied Denmark in a rebuilt Hornet Moth biplane who become unwitting carriers of top-secret information.

In a way, Follett's smash-hit success has allowed him to give back to the library of Cardiff, Wales -- by filling its shelves with his own transporting tales.

Good To Know

Eye of the Needle was made into a major motion picture, and four of Follett's books have been made into television mini-series: The Key to Rebecca, Lie Down with Lions, On Wings of Eagles and The Third Twin -- the rights for which were sold to CBS for the record sum of $1,400,000.

A very civic-minded soul, Follett is quite involved in his Hertfordshire community, serving as President of the Dyslexia Institute, Council Member of the National Literacy Trust, Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Chair of Governors of the Roebuck Primary School & Nursery, Patron of Stevenage Home-Start, director of the Stevenage Leisure Ltd. and Vice-President of the Stevenage Borough Football club.

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    1. Hometown:
      Hertfordshire, England
    1. Date of Birth:
      June 5, 1949
    2. Place of Birth:
      Cardiff, Wales
    1. Education:
      B.A. in Philosophy, University College, London, 1970

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 2119 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(895)

4 Star

(410)

3 Star

(266)

2 Star

(190)

1 Star

(358)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 2127 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 27, 2010

    Smooth Intellectually Stimulating Easy Read

    This is the first book of a new series. Starts with Welsh miners in early 20th century and intermission (ends) in the 1920's. The interaction historically is wonderful, the characters are extremely varied and it's amazing how they tie together. Follett goes into great detail of the characters. The book is very instructional on the politics of the era and the various characters are examples of the points of view of the period and how the politics eventually affect them.

    This is not a book you can read 5 pages at a time. Chapters are 50 pages. Find a comfortable chair, a good bottle of wine, and plan on a weekend of wonderful reading. If you're a part of a book club, plan on chapter discussions, they will be extremely stimulating.

    IF I had a complaint, it's that the book jumps between the characters. I plan on reading the book a second time, a character at a time.

    A definite for your Library. You'll want to keep a copy to reread when the second comes out.

    288 out of 309 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 21, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    An Actual Review

    Having had the opportunity to actually read the book, I can tell you that Mr. Follett is spot on yet again. His razor sharp story telling, character development and interwoven storyline are all realized brilliantly. The entanglement of these characters with each other leads to a complex yet seamless journey around the globe. The book is fast paced, almost impossible to put down and sure to be an instant classic! I can not more highly suggest a title, this one was incredible. That being said, while I agree that the eBook price is outrageous, please note that the price is not set by Mr. Follet, it is in fact, set by his publisher. While I can say this book blew me away, I'm do not think I would purchase this title until Penguin decides to stop punishing those of us who have decided to invest in the future of electronic publishing. Book: 5 stars, ebook price: 0 stars.

    150 out of 163 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2010

    Ridiculous Price

    Greed by the publishers take over again. Last Christmas, when I got my Nook, ebooks were about $10, then 4 months later $15, now $20. Love the books by Follett but not at this price. All who read this should put off buying this book until its $10, maybe the publishers may see the error of their ways.

    113 out of 179 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 27, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Unfair reviews

    It's unfair to rate this book with one star because you're upset with Barnes & Noble's ebook price. That has nothing to do with a book review.

    90 out of 140 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 5, 2010

    Out of my price range

    I like Follett and would love to have downloaded this one, but not for $20. I'll wait until it comes out in paperback.

    82 out of 142 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 7, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Engrossing Novel, Worth Every Cent

    To all who have complained about the price of this novel, I will be the first to admit, it is worth every dollar. Fall of Giants falls into the status level of 'Gone with the Wind.' I would have paid $40 to have the experience of reading Margaret Mitchell's timeless classic. Price is relative to all and all will have their different thresholds. I spent twenty dollars to have a fascinating journey into the early 20th century. The same day, I spent twenty dollars on cleaning supplies for my kitchen. Guess which will have the most lasting impact on my life? This is an exceptional story with Follett creating depth into his characters in which very few authors can achieve. The list of characters in the beginning of the novel can be daunting but Follett introduces his characters to the reader as if they were part of your family. You understand their thought process and inner workings to the point where emotions are evoked, similar to the way family members evoke certain emotions at Thanksgiving... for better or worse. This historical fiction has the abilty to open eyes to the complicated yet simplistic world of politics. Find a weekend with no commitments then buy this novel, a bathtub shelf, bubble bath, and a bottle of wine. On Monday, tell me what the price is to your mind and soul, of having the opportunity to enjoy the luxuries of a warm bath with an amazing novel.

    76 out of 91 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2010

    Are you kidding me?

    I LOVE Ken Follett's writing. He has been a favorite author of mine for 20 years. Have a new iPhone with some book readers loaded on it, looking forward to clearing space in my home but still keep up with the latest from my favorite authors and save a little in the process (my husband has been reading free or deeply discounted ebooks from Baen for years).

    But $20 for a DIGITAL book, that they don't have to print, pack, store, ship, load, unload, inventory, display or bag? When the hardback is $1 more? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

    Sorry, Mr. Follett. Not in this lifetime.

    62 out of 123 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2010

    This is exactly the place to complain about price

    Nook buyers bought a nook in order to have a chance to read new books at a better price. Perhaps having this book's rating lowered by our protest will catch the publisher's attention and prevent future price-gouging. Or maybe they will lower the price on this one. You can buy the hardback from Amazon for less than the nook price, which is crazy. I'll read it at the library.

    62 out of 118 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2010

    This is a really good entertaining read.

    This ,as other books by KF is a worthwhile read. I suggest borrowing it or get it from libraryor get it used - - the ebook is too expensive! I borrowed it, and it's bulky snd cumberson compared to the nook, but it was free. and definitely worthwhile!!
    On line go to contact us" in customer service - mention the cost of the e books there too!! This is the responce I received when I did. eBooks are an emerging category and many pricing models are being tested
    from both publishers and retailers. What's important for all of our
    customers to know, is that we are committed to providing them with the
    widest catalog of digital books and ePeriodicals, that they can read and
    take with them on more devices than any other ebookstore. However,
    Barnes and Noble does not control the pricing of eBooks. Publishers, for
    the most part, control the pricing of digital books. The move to
    publisher pricing happened very quickly and this change became official
    recently.

    55 out of 75 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2010

    Great author. Ridiculous price.

    I started buying a lot more ebooks and really enjoy reading them in this format but $19 for one seems very expensive. The reduced price compare to hardcover is one of the reasons I switched over.
    Like others have said I'll pay for the hardcover and pass it on to family and friends that would have purchased the book, which I don't do with ebooks.

    54 out of 112 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    Ridiculous Price

    I won't pay $19.99 for an e-book. I purchased my nook so I would save money on books. I can go to Costco and buy the hardcover version at the same price or perhaps even cheaper. I certainly hope this is not a trend.

    53 out of 101 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2010

    Anyone want to buy a slightly used Nook?

    I am going to join the many who are disappointed and angry over the price of this ebook. One of the reasons I bought the Nook was for the reduced cost, as the sales person explained to me, of ebooks. The cost for this book is not what I expected to see. I know some of you want to read a review of the book but this is where BN and publishers and writers can obtain some feedback. If this price trend continues, check ebay for some good deals on used Nooks, including mine.

    48 out of 91 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 3, 2010

    Too Much!

    I love my Nook & love K. Follett but $19.95 feels a bit like bait and switch...weren't we told that nook books would be in the $9.95 range? A best seller has been $12.95 but Nook books were never supposed to cost the same as a hardcover. Come on...

    48 out of 93 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 4, 2010

    Unacceptable pricing on e-book.

    Boycott B&N AND publisher.

    44 out of 91 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 27, 2010

    KEN FOLLETT IS ALWAYS THE BEST!!

    I am writing this as a rebuttal for all the NEGATIVE "reviews" that were posted for FALL OF THE GIANTS. Barnes & Nobles, or any other book store, should NOT permit comments re: pricing to be listed as a review. THIS IS NOT A BOOK REVIEW!! PERIOD. END OF STORY. I'm confident we will not be disappointed in this book; so far I've not been disappointed in any of Ken Follett's books. It will be wonderful to read a trilogy about a more modern time that we might be able to relate to. Perhaps some of our ancestors came from some of the places KF wrote written about. I can't wait to get started!! For those of us who plan to enjoy ourselves page by page; HAPPY READING!! :-) As for the rest of the complainers about price, etc., KEEP THESE COMMENTS OUT OF THE BOOK REVIEWS! SEND YOUR COMPLAINTS DIRECTLY TO BARNES & NOBLES; THAT'S WHERE THEY BELONG---NOT HERE! WE NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE BOOK--NOT THE PRICE!!!

    40 out of 69 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 7, 2010

    Good author- ridiculously priced novel

    Won't pay $20.00 even for a e-book Ken Follet novel.

    36 out of 70 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2010

    Upset about the price of ebooks

    I echo everyone who has previously commented. I'm angered that the price of the ebook is actually more expensive than the price of the hardcover. That makes absolutely no sense. It has to be cheaper to publish the ebook version than to print out 500 pages for a book. The saddest part is that I saw the ad from B&N about the new Follett book and was really excited because I loved World Without End and Pillars of the Earth. Unfortunately, I refuse to buy an ebook for nearly $20 so I'll have to skip this one.

    35 out of 74 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 8, 2010

    Sad

    I was really excited for this book to come out and was just going to download it to my Nook when... what's that?? $19.99 for an e-book? WHAT THE WHAT?!

    Ken, I'm so sorry to have to give your book 1 star. I know if I could've downloaded it and read it I would give you 5 but I can't do it for the sake of sending a very clear and public message to Penguin Publishers, Barnes & Noble and the generally book reading community. I wish you didn't have to be the poster child for all of our frustrations but sometimes the only way to effect change is to call companies out PUBLICLY.

    We can't afford for a $19.99 ebook price precedent. I can't have all ebook prices going up or my already expensive Nook will be shelved.

    34 out of 66 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    WHAT!?!?! $19.99 for an E-book????

    There must be a pricing error for this book. If everyone does not stick together and refuse to purchase this book, all E-books will be priced like this in the future. You wanna pay that for all E-books? Very greedy publisher.

    33 out of 60 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2010

    Greedy publishers are going to have to account for poor online reviews

    You don't like that I'm outraged at this price? Sue me. It is wildly short sighted for both B&N and Penguin to turn off an entire new generation of potential ebook purchasers when there's no motivation to shell out the $ for a reader only to be penalized by paying more for the ebook than hardcover! B&N - Why face the wrath of your customers by appearing to screw them? Better to not offer the ebook version at all. "If you don't like it, don't buy it" - Exactly. I'm not buying it. ANY version. Sorry Ken Follett. You lose. I'll wait and borrow it instead. Yes, just on principle.

    33 out of 72 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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