Fall of Giants

Version: Unabridged (Abridged version available here)
Author: Ken Follett
Narrator: John Lee
Genres: Fiction, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Penguin Audiobooks
Published In: September 2010
# of Units: 24 CDs
Length: 23 hours, 50 minutes
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Ken Follett's World Without End was a global phenomenon, a work of grand historical sweep, beloved by millions of readers and acclaimed by critics. Fall of Giants is his magnificent new historical epic. The first novel in The Century Trilogy, it follows the fates of five interrelated families-American, German, Russian, English, and Welsh-as they move through the world-shaking dramas of the First World War, the Russian Revolution, and the struggle for women's suffrage.

Thirteen-year-old Billy Williams enters a man's world in the Welsh mining pits...Gus Dewar, an American law student rejected in love, finds a surprising new career in Woodrow Wilson's White House...two orphaned Russian brothers, Grigori and Lev Peshkov, embark on radically different paths half a world apart when their plan to emigrate to America falls afoul of war, conscription, and revolution...Billy's sister, Ethel, 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 Walter von Ulrich, a spy at the German embassy in London...

These characters and many others find their lives inextricably entangled as, in a saga of unfolding drama and intriguing complexity, Fall of Giants moves seamlessly from Washington to St. Petersburg, 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. As always with Ken Follett, the historical background is brilliantly researched and rendered, the action fast-moving, the characters rich in nuance and emotion. It is destined to be a new classic.

In future volumes of The Century Trilogy, subsequent generations of the same families will travel through the great events of the rest of the twentieth century, changing themselves-and the century itself. With passion and the hand of a master, Follett brings us into a world we thought we knew, but now will never seem the same again.

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Reviews (24)

Written by stephen brownfield on October 16th, 2015

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Another great book by Ken Follett, with excellent narration ,

Written by Keith Shroyer on September 16th, 2015

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Huge fan of the book and the series as a whole. Gone through them several times now and still find them very enjoyable. I appreciate the author's style and he does an excellent job of conveying the feeling and sentiment of the events. I feel the narrator did about as good of a job as anyone person can be expected to do trying to portray more than a dozen different characters with any sense of variation. Overall a very enjoyable piece and I highly recommend it.

Written by Sanjay Singhal (credit 2.0) on April 2nd, 2015

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Slightly slow to start, but within a couple of chapters the Follet Magic kicked in and gripped me the rest of the way through!

Too predictable, too graphic

Written by Anonymous on February 20th, 2015

  • Book Rating: 2/5

I love historical fiction, however I like plots to be interestingly unpredictable (like life) and relatively clean. This book was neither. All the key characters are amazingly handsome/beautiful and god-like and the rich lord predictably falls for the housemaid, etc, etc. Ho Hum. Also there were interspersed sex scenes which became increasingly graphic, not what I am looking for in a good read at all.

Written by Lisa Zepponi on February 3rd, 2015

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Wonderful book!!!! Worth the time! Definitely listen to the unabridged version!

Written by Rachel Reaugh on November 20th, 2014

  • Book Rating: 5/5

The narrator is fantastic!! He helped bring this book to life! Great accents of both male and female. I'm looking forward to the next book in the trilogy!

Fall of Giants

Written by Janette on July 28th, 2014

  • Book Rating: 4/5

I’m not really a history kinda’ person but this book kept me engaged to the very last second. Yes, there is a lot of history, but the way the author accounts for the personal effects that the war is causing was very interesting. Hey, I even learned some history along the way. I will definitely be looking into more titles by this author.

Fall of Giants

Written by Lee & Susan from Marshall, NC on May 20th, 2014

  • Book Rating: 1/5

This may be a very good book if you read it to yourself. We have read many of Ken Follett's books and enjoyed them. However, the reader used for this book just ruined it for us and I don't think we even exceeded and hour of listening. It was unbearable. I now have a note taped to my screen the reads, "No books read by John Lee". Sorry, Mr. Lee but your just not our cup of tea.

The Fall of the Giants

Written by Marilyn on November 26th, 2013

  • Book Rating: 5/5

I usually don't read historical fiction, but "The Fall of the Giants" got me hooked! James Lee is a wonderful narrator and makes you feel right there in the story. Ken Follett knows how to develop characters so that you feel you really know them. He also knows how to use suspense in a story. I couldn't wait to get to the next CD to hear what would happen next. This is a wonderful way to learn history. Marilyn

Fall of Giants

Written by M.Foster from Millville, MA on November 3rd, 2013

  • Book Rating: 3/5

Not Pillars of Earth but a good read. A little to close to Dowington Abbey

Author Details

Author Details

Follett, Ken

Ken Follett was born on 5 June 1949 in Cardiff, Wales, the son of a tax inspector. He was educated at state schools and graduated from University College, London, with an Honours degree in philosophy. He was made a Fellow of the college in 1995.

He became a reporter, first with his home-town newspaper the South Wales Echo and later with the London Evening News. While working on the Evening News he wrote his first novel, which was published but did not become a bestseller. He then went to work for a small London publishing house, Everest Books, eventually becoming Deputy Managing Director. He continued to write novels in his spare time. Eye of the Needle was his eleventh book, and his first success.

He went on to write four more bestselling thrillers: Triple; The Key to Rebecca; The Man from St Petersburg; and Lie Down with Lions. Cliff Robertson and David Soul starred in the miniseries of The Key to Rebecca. In 1994 Timothy Dalton, Omar Sharif and Marg Helgenberger starred in the miniseries of Lie Down with Lions.

He also wrote On Wings of Eagles, the true story of how two employees of Ross Perot were rescued from Iran during the revolution of 1979. This book was made into a miniseries with Richard Crenna as Ross Perot and Burt Lancaster as Colonel 'Bull' Simons.

He then surprised readers by radically changing course with The Pillars of the Earth, a novel about building a cathedral in the Middle Ages. Published in September 1989 to rave reviews, it was on the New York Times bestseller list for eighteen weeks. It also reached the No. 1 position on lists in Canada, Great Britain and Italy, and was on the German bestseller list for six years. Chosen by Oprah Winfrey for her book club in late 2007, 'Pillars' became a best-seller again 18 years after it was first published.

For a while he abandoned the straightforward spy genre, but his stories still had powerful narrative drive, strong women characters, and elements of suspense and intrigue. He followed Pillars with Night over Water, A Dangerous Fortune, and A Place Called Freedom.

Then he returned to the thriller. The Third Twin is a scorching suspense novel about a young woman scientist who stumbles over a secret experiment in genetic engineering. Miniseries rights were sold to CBS for $1,400,000, a record price for four hours of television. The series, starring Kelly McGillis and Larry Hagman, was broadcast in the USA in November 1997. In Publishing Trends' annual survey of international fiction bestsellers for 1997, The Third Twin was ranked No. 2 in the world, beaten only by John Grisham's The Partner.

Ken Follett The Hammer of Eden, another nail-biting contemporary suspense story, came in 1998. Code to Zero (2000), about brainwashing and rocket science in the Fifties, went to No.1 on bestseller lists in the USA, German and Italy, and film rights were snapped up by Doug Wick, producer of Gladiator, in a seven-figure deal.

Ken returned to the WWII era with his next two novels: Jackdaws (2001), a World War II thriller about a group of women parachuted into France to destroy a vital telephone exchange – which won the won the Corine Prize for 2003 – and Hornet Flight (2002), about a daring young Danish couple who escape to Britain from occupied Denmark in a rebuilt Hornet Moth biplane with vital information about German radar.

His next novel, Whiteout (2004), is a contemporary thriller about the theft of a deadly virus from a research lab. Set in the remote Scottish Highlands over a stormy, snow-bound Christmas, Whiteout crackles with jealousies, distrust, sexual attraction, rivalries, hidden traitors and unexpected heroes.

His latest novel is World Without End, the long-awaited sequel to The Pillars of the Earth, published in October 2007.

Ken's papers are held in a collection at Saginaw Valley State University in Michigan, United States. These include outlines, first drafts, notes and correspondence, original manuscripts and copies of early books now out of print. He has sold approximately ninety million books worldwide.

Ken Follett is married to Barbara Follett, the Member of Parliament for Stevenage in Hertfordshire. They live in a rambling rectory in Stevenage, 30 miles north of London, with two Labrador retrievers called Custard and Bess. They also have an eighteenth-century town house in London and a holiday home in Antigua. Ken Follett is a lover of Shakespeare, and is often to be seen at performances by the Royal Shakespeare Company in London. An enthusiastic amateur musician, he plays bass guitar in a band called Damn Right I Got the Blues.

He was Chair of the National Year of Reading 1998-99, a British government initiative to raise literacy levels. He is president of the The Dyslexia Institute, Chair of the advisory committee of Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) UK, a council member of the National Literacy Trust, a member of The Welsh Academy, a board director of the National Academy of Writing, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. He is active in numerous Stevenage charities and is Chair of Governors of Roebuck Primary School.

Around 100 million copies of his books have been sold worldwide.