I really wanted to read this book, but I kept putting it back on the shelf. At nearly 1000 pages (985 to be exact) I knew I could read three books in the same time it would take me to finish just this one. I shouldn’t have waited. Turns out, it really was a pretty quick read — but that’s because I hardly ever put it down!
Fall of Giants isn’t Ken Follett’s first historical fiction book, nor will it be his last. Readers will no doubt remember his Pillars of the Earth, which was an Oprah Book Club choice, plus its sequel, World Without End. And of course, this title is just the first in a planned Century trilogy. But let’s get to the book. It covers five families — Welsh, Russian, German, American and English. Some are wealthy aristocrats, like the Fitzhuberts, and others, like Billy Williams and his sister Ethel, are on the opposite end of the socio-economic scale. Rounding out this mix are the orphaned Peshkov brothers in Russia, an American lawyer working in the White House, and, oh yes, a German spy. So you see, there’s a little something for everyone –political intrigue, scintillating sex and romance, and some action-packed battle scenes. Plus the multiple story lines (arranged chronologically) keeps you turning those pages.
What’s most intriguing is how the lives of all these diverse characters somehow logically interconnect. Though I’m certainly no expert on the World War I era (the book spans the years 1911 to 1924) I was familiar enough to recognize that Follett had meticulously researched this tome, and his inclusion of real historical figures, such as Winston Churchill, seems to enhance it’s believability. Believe me, even if you think you don’t, you really do have time to read this book.