Fall Of Giants

by Ken Follett

Dutton | September 28, 2010 | Hardcover

Fall Of Giants is rated 4.3214 out of 5 by 28.

View our Ken Follett feature page.



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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Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 1008 pages, 9.55 × 6.5 × 2 in

Published: September 28, 2010

Publisher: Dutton

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0525951652

ISBN - 13: 9780525951650

Found in: Fiction and Literature

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Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Compelling historical novel This historical fiction tells the story of 5 families in different parts of the world: Wales, England, Russia, America and Germany. It takes place before, during and right after World War I. Ethel and Billy Williams are siblings in the poor mining town of Aberowen, and they want to make a better life for themselves. Earl and Maud Fitzherbert are brother and sister in the English aristocracy but they don?t agree on politics. Grigori and Lev Peshkov are brothers in Russia who have been traumatized by their parents? death at the hands of the regime of the tsar. Gus Dewar works for the US President Woodrow Wilson, and he travels extensively to Europe and Russia. Walter von Ulrich is a German intelligence officer who is against the war. In spite of their disparities, the characters? lives are all interconnected. However, they will each experience the war differently, and it will change all of them. At the beginning of the book, Earl Fitzherbert?s estate in Wales reminded me of the TV series Downtown Abbey, all the more so because the story was taking place in the same time period. Since I am a big fan of the series, and I have been waiting impatiently for season 5 to start, it completely drew me to the story. Fall of Giants is a compelling and well-constructed saga covering World War I, the Russian Revolution and the fight for women?s suffrage in Great Britain. Ken Follett has conducted an impressive amount of research for this book, and I learned a lot about the history of WWI. There was a bit too much politics for my taste though but I understand that this was necessary to explain how the Great War came about. However, the book was thought-provoking and suspenseful, and the multiple story lines allowed the reader to see the war from different points of view. I especially liked the strong female characters who were trying to change their lot amid all this turmoil. The size of the book may seem a bit daunting to some readers but the 922-page volume is so gripping that they will be surprised at how fast they read it. Fall of Giants is the first book in the Century Trilogy, and I can?t wait to read the other two volumes in the series. Please go to my blog, Cecile Sune - Bookobsessed, if you would like to read more reviews or discover fun facts about books and authors.
Date published: 2014-09-22
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not as Impressed I love Ken Follett's historical fiction, but I found that this book left something to be desired. I quite enjoyed it up until the last 300 pages. Maybe it was because I have very little interest in WW1, but the book just seemed to drag on interminably. Overall a good book, but I was disappointed with the last bit.
Date published: 2014-08-09
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Very long, but good. 3.5 stars This is set mostly during WWI. The story follows multiple characters in Wales, England, Germany, Russia and the United States. It was good. Very long, but good. I found I wasn't as interested in the politics (no surprise here) and the war, but was more interested in the characters' personal lives, and the female characters, as well as the fight for women's right to vote. Throughout most of the book, I didn't think I'd continue on with the trilogy, but I think it depends what the sequel will focus on. I'd be more interested if there is more focus on Germany at that time period where this one left off, but I'll have to look into it. I listened to the audio, and the narrator was very good - he does amazing accents, and had so many to do in this book. I had to get past his voice, though, at the beginning, as he also narrated an audio I found incredibly boring.
Date published: 2014-08-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A new-age Ken Follett I found this book to be a new type of Ken Follett book. You tend to see him focus on a more distant past but this book hits a little closer to home. He descirbes WWI in detail and in a way that is easy to comprehend. He still follows his typical writing style of intertwining the lives of numerous characters and it is this writing style that makes him unique and an interesting read. I can't wait to see what new-age experience he decides to focus upon next.
Date published: 2014-08-09
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Finally Finished Like most reviewers I was very anxious to get into this book after my experience with Pillars and World Without End. However, I don't think the book measures up to the previous ones. As an example, I wrestled an extra suitcase onto a plane just so I could finish World--not something I would have done with this book. I don't agree with previous remarks that characters were not well developed although I did find some to be a bit unbelievable. For example, Lev was so totally rotten that I lost interest when he got into trouble--knowing that he would do the worst thing possible to get himself out of it. And I appreciated the rebellion in Maud. However, I found it hard to believe her love for Walter was sufficient to help her cope with her reduced circumstances--especially as a mother. I did like the background on the reasons for the war and the politics surrounding the League of Nations establishment because my knowledge of the era is limited. However, I did find that he went into way too much detail about some of the meetings--especially in the case of the Russian revolution--there was so much detail I got confused. I am looking forward to the next installment to see how these people make out although Lev is surely to die in a gunfight or spend the rest of his life in prison and Maud might be destined for sainthood!!
Date published: 2014-08-09
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Fallen Giant Disappoints Ken Follett starts with a vast canvas for his historical novel set in the second decade of the 20th century. The action takes place in Wales, England, France, Germany, Russia, and the US, and as a historical novel encompasses many actual historical figures and events, with WWI of course central to the plot. Follett has clearly done his homework on the historical setting. Follett also does an admirable job of reminding us of the true causes of The Great War, and its tremendous cost and folly. He reminds us how closely related are the monarchies and ruling classes of Britain, Russia and Germany, something made even clearer as he weaves the theme of empowerment and equality throughout the novel. Working class characters struggle in their dead-end jobs and in their relations with the ruling class; the British struggle for universal suffrage; the Russians’ struggle and revolt against their tsar; and even in the US, with its egalitarian roots, the struggle is still evident, with divisions by class, position, new vs. old money, and even physical attributes. With all this promise, it’s unfortunate that Follett fails to deliver, unable to paint more than the broadest strokes on his canvas. Characters are poorly developed, and seem primarily a vehicle to stitch the plot together and to advance the themes - worthwhile roles, but they need to come to life, too, if we’re to engage with the story. As it is, their shallowness makes the narrative mechanical and so much less enjoyable. For example, characters often pop up half way around the world with the flimsiest of reasons, then appear back again to their home turf - apparently just so they can be present at some historical event. Descriptions of characters or their motives or backgrounds are repeated a few pages on, and often characters seem to fall in love after just a few minutes of conversation and then to quickly imagine themselves married and settled. Because of their lack of depth and Follett’s direct, simplistic language, the characters’ love lives and (frequent) intimate moments are clumsy and emotionless. This is the first historical novel I’ve read in over twenty years, since reading James Clavell’s excellent body of work, and unfortunately for both Follett and the reader, there are far better in this genre by authors with more refined skills and a richer grasp of the English language. For a long, light read it’s passable, but few will remember this almost 1000 page tome in a few years. Let’s hope the remaining two books in this trilogy deliver better.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Another hit for Follet I love these historical novels! I know the book is big but it is captivating.If you liked his Pillars of the Earth and World without end then Fall of The Giants is a must read.I can't wait to get into the next two books of the trilogy( Write fast Ken,write fast!)
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Historical Fiction with Universal Appeal This book was the subject of my recent book club meeting. I found that the majority of readers were overall satisfied with the book. Some complained that some parts dragged on with historical rabble, while others complained that there were too many plotlines spreading thin the character development. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. It has invoked a dormant interest in me about World War I and got me Wiki-ing historical persons and events to expand my knowledge. Although there were several plotlines, I think the main characters were sufficiently developed and their stories immersible. It was improbable for none of the key characters to die during the war, but then again, it is a trilogy. I think that Fall of Giants can't entirely please any one kind of reader reader, but won't dissatisfy any. Ken Follett has expertly combined fictional characters and plotlines into real events with just the right balance that will please the casual reader as well as the non-fiction enthusiast. I plan on reading the sequel as well as the last book of the trilogy when they do come out.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome! I got this book for christmas, and I could not put it down. My favorite Ken Follet book by far, and I loved pillars of the earth and a world without end. Growing up Canadian, I was always led to believe that the Germans were responsible for much of world war I and II. But this book challanged that view by telling stories from all the different sides. And it beautifully describes how complex and horrible world war I was.
Date published: 2014-09-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Can't Put It Down This historical novel begins with the history of the world previous to the First World War and proceeds through the years of WWI. It is related from the viewpoint of several men and women who hail from Great Britain, America, Germany and Russia. There is romance, war strategy, politics and probably a little more for every man and/or woman to enjoy. You won't want to put it down!
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A Tad Disappointing! The cast of characters is long and the story is epic. Fall of Giants follows the lives of five interrelated families: American, Russian, English, German, and Welsh. We follow these families as they move through life during the times of the First World War, the Russian Revolution, and the hard struggle for women’s right to vote. Billy Williams is a thirteen-year-old boy who enters the mines on the day of this 13th birthday. He has now become a man like so many other 13-year-olds before him in the tiny Welsh town of Aberowen. Gus Dewar is an American law student who is rejected in love but finds a new career working for then President, Woodrow Wilson, in the White House. Grigori and Lev Peshkov, two Russian brothers who were orphaned set out on very different paths half a world away from each other when their plan to emigrate to the United States falls apart because of the war, conscription, and the revolution. Billy’s sister, Ethel, is a housekeeper for the aristocratic Fitzherberts and takes a fateful step above her station as housekeeper just as 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. Each of these characters and a raft of others find their lives entangled as, in a saga of unfolding drama and intriguing complexity. The story moves from Washington, D.C. to St. Petersburg, Russia, from the dirt and danger of a coal mine to the glittering chandeliers of a palace, from the hallways of power to the bedrooms of the mighty and beyond. Although the story was good, I was a tad disappointed as I did not find this story nearly as good as ‘Pillars of the Earth’ or ‘World Without End’. I think we were spoiled with those two novels and anything less than that is going to be a disappointment. I’m hoping the second book in the trilogy coming out in the Fall of 2011 will be much better than Fall of Giants.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great book My son loved this book. He isn't a big reader but wanted me to purchase the next in the series. I would definitely recommend this book to others.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This book involves you..... well written and read! This story, like the Pillars of the Earth and World Without End, is a story of many characters that feel real (some of them actually are, but are fictitiously plotted in the book at times e.g. Churchill) and by the middle or even before you feel like you know each of them, their quirks, beliefs, emotions and even looks.... it is hard to put this book down as Follett cleverly divided chapters into four or five parts and so one keep reading and reading until the 978th page..... he masterfully juxtaposes the aristocratic life with those of the working class and that gives you such an insight.... a lot of great things about this book definitely worth the money and time... don't hesitate! Can't wait for the next two!
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Could not put it down I read this book at every opportunity until it was done. And then when it was done, I wished I had read it slower so it would've lasted longer. You can read the synopsis to see what the book is about. All I have to say is that I absolutely loved this book!
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from great book this book is one of the best novels i have ever read. never got bored or tired. strongly recomend it to everyone.
Date published: 2014-09-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic! Just finished this novel and it was the first book I have managed to finish in a very long time! It kept me interested even when I was busy and found reading time hard to come by! However, I am now purchasing an e-book reader as the size of this book convinced me of their usefulness!
Date published: 2014-09-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Book This is the first book by Ken Follett I have read and it was great. I could not put it down.
Date published: 2014-09-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Another spectacular book from Ken Follett. This book is captivating. Starting off with such a descriptive view into the life of a young coal miner, this book branches out to cover the lives of several people in their respective lives, including a few British aristocrats, German spies, Russian revolutionaries, and several soldiers of varying positions and on different sides in World War I. This story will grab you in and leave you wondering just how on earth the world managed to sort itself out. As usual, a spectacular book from Ken Follett.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Great Story Ken Follet does an excellent job on this historical piece of fiction involving WW1. He uses characters both fictional and non and intertwines these characters into the plot to give us a novel not only about war, but about love, class, politics , history & resilience. This book actually taught me more about the war and other pressing issues that were prevalent in that era. I guess the downfall, which is why I could not give it 5 stars was I felt the sex scenes to be juvenile, and I also felt the Russian Revolution to be far too detailed and long. I was beginning to wonder if any of the other other characters were going to surface since so much time was devoted to this. I would recommend this to anyone who is a Ken Follett fan and enjoys his epic storytelling. While this is not as good as Pillars of the Earth it was still good and I will anxiously wait for the second of this trilogy to come out. I really liked the fact that the list of characters and their roles was easily accessible in the front of the the book. For a book of this size and with as many characters surfacing and resurfacing it made things more convenient. Also the map was a great idea too.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Reading! Ken Follet is my favotrite and at this book he's at his best!!
Date published: 2014-09-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from To be Continued! My husband borrowed this book from the library and, being a best seller, he was only 1/4 finished when he had return it. So.......I bought it for him as part of his Christmas gift this year. I know he will be so pleased as he told me it was a "Great" read.
Date published: 2014-09-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A GIANT OF A BOOK If there is one thing that can be said about Mr. Follett it would be that he certainly does not shy away from epic topics. In this book he moves from the medieval world of his last two epics to tackle the world during WW1, the Russion Revolution and the beginning of the movement for women’s equality. We meet five families of varying nationalities and follow them as they live through these monumental times in history. Of course, eventually these families interact and that is the basis for the story, wrapped in the events of history. This is a BIG book … workout or doorstop BIG! However, Mr. Follett’s particular talent lies in his ability to not lose his characters by getting bogged down in the history. This makes for a thoroughly enjoyable, and often accidentally informative, read. I am looking forward to the next installment in the “Century Trilogy”.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fall of Giants Very good read for lovers of historical fiction. Not up to the standards of "Pillars of the Earth" but better than " World Without End". Looking forward to next book in the trio.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from FABULOUS book Fall of Giants is like War and Peace, about the same size, but of course written in modern language, and with the greatly added interest of seeing the turn of the century/First World War events from the viewpoint of several different characters ... American, German, British and French as well as Russian. Highly recommend it.
Date published: 2014-09-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent, very riveting read. I enjoyed reading this book, I was sunk into it right away and it was awesome the whole way. Can't wait for the next book.
Date published: 2014-09-30
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Really disappointing I liked the characters very much, and the settings are interesting, but I got totally bogged down in all the minute details of certain stages of history - dates, names all got mixed up until I started to skip a page here and there. ...So disappointing because I found the very beginning fabulous - a Welsh mining town, complete with pit-ponies etc. - and I have gone down such a mine in Wales a few years ago. Bah, humbug! I hope Ken Follet's next book in this trilogy is better!
Date published: 2014-09-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Loved it! Follett Good
Date published: 2014-09-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great read This novel served as my introduction to Ken Follett – and it did not disappoint. The plot follows a group of five families from very different backgrounds, ranging from nobility to poverty, linked together in various ways. The controversial events of the early 1900’s provide the backdrop to the story: the labour rights and women’s rights movements, the First World War, and the Russian Revolution. Each character finds himself or herself affected by the times, and this truly brings the beginning of the century to life. In one word, the book was epic. It’s huge in scale and scope, and well developed from all aspects. I tend to be careful with books that have more than a few main characters, not to compromise their development; however, while reading Fall of Giants I felt like I knew and understood each of the families discussed. It was easy to sympathize what each character was going through – they felt like real people (and they were experiencing real events). In addition, the amount of research that went into this novel is very impressive. I learned so much – and it was never boring, and never dragged on. It would have been easy for the facts to weigh down the plotline, but instead they made a solid framework for the story. The most impressive part was the seamless combination of history and fiction. I highly recommend this to any fiction reader, especially (but not exclusively) to those with an inclination to enjoy history. Looking forward to the next two instalments!
Date published: 2014-09-21

– More About This Product –

Fall Of Giants

by Ken Follett

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 1008 pages, 9.55 × 6.5 × 2 in

Published: September 28, 2010

Publisher: Dutton

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0525951652

ISBN - 13: 9780525951650

About the Book

The first novel in The Century Trilogy 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.

Read from the Book

Chapter One June 22, 1911 On the day King George V was crowned at Westminster Abbey in London, Billy Williams went down the pit in Aberowen, South Wales. The twenty-second of June, 1911, was Billy''s thirteenth birthday. He was woken by his father. Da''s technique for waking people was more effective than it was kind. He patted Billy''s cheek, in a regular rhythm, firmly and insistently. Billy was in a deep sleep, and for a second he tried to ignore it, but the patting went on relentlessly. Momentarily he felt angry; but then he remembered that he had to get up, he even wanted to get up, and he opened his eyes and sat upright with a jerk. "Four o''clock," Da said, then he left the room, his boots banging on the wooden staircase as he went down. Today Billy would begin his working life by becoming an apprentice collier, as most of the men in town had done at his age. He wished he felt more like a miner. But he was determined not to make a fool of himself. David Crampton had cried on his first day down the pit, and they still called him Dai Crybaby, even though he was twenty-five and the star of the town''s rugby team. It was the day after midsummer, and a bright early light came through the small window. Billy looked at his grandfather, lying beside him. Gramper''s eyes were open. He was always awake, whenever Billy got up; he said old people did not sleep much. Billy got out of bed. He was wearing only his underdrawers. In cold weather he wore his shirt to bed, but Britain wa
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From the Publisher

View our Ken Follett feature page.



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.

Watch a Video

About the Author

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 The Pillars of the Earth, about the building of a cathedral in the Middle Ages, which continues to captivate readers all over the world. His last book was the long-awaited sequel, World Without end, a number one bestseller in the United States, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, Spain, and France. He lives in England with his wife, Barbara Follett.

Editorial Reviews

" Fall of Giants is a book for you to savor, one in which you can lose yourself for hours on end. It is a big book that tells a big story, but it is one you will not want to end." - The Huffington Post "Follett''s latest work is epic in scale, meticulously researched and deftly weaves together historical fact, fictional characters and engrossing storytelling." - The Associated Press " Fall of Giants stands with Ken Follett''s best... Fall of Giants is classic Follett. It''s long - almost 1,000 pages; it''s populated with hundreds of characters whose lives are intertwined; it''s set on a tumultuous world stage; it''s a good read....Everything in this novel is oversized, from the scope of history it covers to the characters he creates. It''s a book that will suck you in, consume you for days or weeks, depending upon how quick a reader you are, then let you out the other side both entertained and educated. That''s quite the feat." - USA Today "A big Book, Follett''s hugely ambitious saga is a sweeping success. Ken Follett has hit another one out of the park with the initial installment of the hugely ambitious Century Trilogy. His fans will rejoice at the richness, complexity, historical sweep and simmering lust in a saga spanning the years 1911 to 1923." - Newark Star Ledger "A dark novel, motivated by an unsparing view of human nature and a clear-eyed scrutiny of an ideal peace. It is not the least of Follett''s feats that the reader
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