Do you ever get that feeling that you want to read a very big book? I sometimes do. It gives me that close connection sense. It is almost like establishing a relationship with the characters. This is how I’ve end up buying “Fall of Giants.” To my shame, I just took the thickest book in the library without knowing anything about it. Because I loved it from the first two pages, I Googled it and found out that the story is the first part of the “Century Trilogy” series.
The narrative starts in the year 1911, but it leads you all the way after the World War I finishes, and it focuses on five families from four countries (England, USA, Germany, and Russia). In the beginning, it somehow reminded me of Downton Abbey. Ken Follett walks you through the upper class from England, with their dark secrets and love affairs, but also presents the working class represented by the miners. Their stories and lives blend in so many levels and in that exact moment that you can’t wait to find out more about them the author switches the story and brings in the picture another family as fascinating as the first two but so different. All the book is written in the same “I can’t take my eyes out of the pages” manner, but the amazing thing that I’ve noticed is that the author speaks about each family in a traditional way for the country they represent. After each chapter, you are left with an emptiness inside, so you can’t-do anything else than continue reading.
Each person is so well described, so I don’t want to ruin the future readers the pleasure of getting to know them, but I will tell you this. In the almost 1000 pages you will meet, live and suffer along:
– the Fitzherbert family formed by Earl Teddy Fitzherbert and his sister Maud (the aristocratic English family);
– the Williams, Billy, and Ethel (the miner and the maid);
– Walter von Ulrich (works at the German embassy from London);
– Gus Dewar (one of president’s Woodrow Wilson’s advisor);
– the Peshkov brothers, Lev and Grigori (factory workers in St. Petersburg).
I am not a fan of history books, but what Ken Follett managed to do with his novel is a work of art. This book has it all. It has love, betrail, war, hate, and revolutions. You will laugh and cry, you will get your heart broken, and mostly you will learn a history lesson.