Book Review: Fall of Giants

By Ken Follett

The Fall of Giants is book one of the century Trilogy; it was also another large novel by this writer, 900+ pages. I have completed the Kingsbridge series and decided to take on another group of books by this author. The Kingsbridge series was so good, and the first book in this series did not disappoint.

What I like about this author is how he ties factual historical events into a fictional story. I’m a big reader of history, and this writer does a great job of tieing the two genres together without losing any of the historical contexts.

Fall of Giants takes place at the beginning of the 20th century and the first world war, how it started, the leading players, and ultimately how it ended and shaped the world for the next 100 years.

After reading several books by this author, he always seems to keep to a similar theme; A few main characters and how they interact, man meets woman, and how those relationships evolve either positive or negative. The book is a smooth and easy read, and Follett always does a great job of character development and location development. You can actually picture the people and the surroundings as if you were there. Also, it is always a story that is hard to put down; consuming 900 pages in less than two weeks while working 50+ hours a week shows how much you want to continue reading.

Even though world war I had many countries involved, the focus was really on the primary players; America, England, France, Russia, and Germany. Follett did a great job of setting the stage on the main event that led to the war and built in how the event grew from minor players to the major countries and why due to specific alliances. Because these are historical novels, I did like the hooks the author puts in the book that leads you to the next story, in this case, some references to Churchill and Hitler, who were minor figures in world war I.

I did find a couple of negatives, which is more nitpicking for me; some parts of the story, although historically significant, seemed to ramble a bit. Some of that could have been eliminated and trimmed maybe 50 or so pages from the book. The Russian revolution, the overthrow of the Tsar, and the Bolsheviks’ rise were a bit wordy and choppy. I think this approach took away from the significant event.

The American involvement in the actual battles was limited to about a paragraph which was odd. However, I thought Follett did a pretty good job of talking about Wilsons idea for the league of nations that ultimately became the United Nations after world war II.

I would not recommend getting your history from historical fiction novels, but this type of novel makes a good fun and enjoyable read if you like history and a good story. Winter of the world is book two in the series, which I assume will take us from the fallout of world war I, which ultimately led to the rise of Hitler and world war II.

I  am taking one small break before novel two from Ken Follett and taking on QB 7 (Queens Bench 7) by Leon Uris. A more modest 400+ pages. I read this 30+ years ago; it was so good the story was stuck in my head, and I wanted to give it another read and get it added to my collection.

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