Ken Follett was twenty-seven when he wrote EYE OF THE NEEDLE, an award-winning thriller that became an international bestseller. After writing 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 millions of 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.
This first in a century-spanning trilogy from bestseller Follett (Eye of the Needle) makes effective and economical use of its lead characters, despite its scope and bulk. From a huge cast, eight figures emerge to play multiple roles that illustrate and often illuminate the major events, trends, and issues of the years leading up to and immediately beyond WWI: American diplomat Gus Dewar; Earl Fitzherbert, a wealthy Englishman; Fitz's sister, Lady Maud; German military attache Walter von Ulrich; Russian brothers Grigori and Lev Peshkov; Welsh collier Billy Williams and his sister, Ethel, whom Fitz hires as a housemaid. Ingenious plotting allows Follett to explore such salient developments of the era as coal mine safety in Wales, women's suffrage, the diplomatic blundering that led to war, the horrors of trench warfare, and the triumph of the Bolsheviks. While this tome doesn't achieve the emotional depth of the best historicals, it is a remarkable and wonderfully readable synthesis of fact and fiction. 1,000,000 first printing; author tour. (Sept.) Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.
Moving from the medieval world of the best-selling The Pillars of the Earth and World Without End, Follett's new historical novel is the first volume of a projected trilogy that follows five families-Welsh, English, German, Russian, and American-through the turbulent 20th century. Covering the period 1911-23, the narrative moves from family to family, country to country, as the Great War impends, happens, and closes. In the first pages, a Welsh boy enters the coal mines; he has just turned 13 that day. He can expect a short and dirty life, but it doesn't turn out that way. The book closes in confrontation: the ninth-richest man in Britain, Earl Fitzherbert, is forced by his own sense of manners to shake the hand of a bastard son he has never acknowledged. Fitz seduced the boy's mother when she was his housemaid. Now she's a Labour MP in the postwar coalition government. Fitz is the past. She's the future. The Great War has changed everything, even for the winners. Verdict Though lengthy, Fall of Giants never seems too long or confusing. Great fun, this is sure to be one of the best sellers of the fall season. The global broadcast of a TV miniseries based on The Pillars of the Earth starring Ian McShane and Donald Sutherland is sure to garner even more attention. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 4/1/10.]-David Keymer, Modesto, CA Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.
`An epic saga on a grand scale. Spiked with romance and intrigue .
. . This involving historical saga is the perfect read for long
winter evenings' Choice
`Like Follett's classic novel, Pillars of the Earth, it quickly becomes a guilty pleasure' Daily Telegraph
`Perhaps no British author better illustrates the forces at work in international publishing than can give birth to, and then grow, a global brand . . . If such books deliver the simple pleasures of escape, maybe they hold up a distant mirror to their readers too' Boyd Tonkin, Independent
`An extraordinary achievement' A.N. Wilson, Reader's Digest
`This is hi-octane storytelling all the more powerful because the story it tells is, mostly, true. Follett's command of the vast forces he unleashes is as impressive as the battle strategies of his generals, and in many cases more so . . . overall Follett is masterly in conveying so much drama and historical information so vividly' Scotsman
`Follett has managed to write an accessible and fascinating page turner that leaves the reader wanting more, at the same time as staying true to history' Sunday Business Post
`He's pulled it off again with Fall of Giants: it's classic Follett with the brewing cataclysm of war given a human angle' Sunday Express
`Few works set out with such a grand concept as Ken Follett's new Century trilogy, but part one suggests that the series will be one of the literary masterpieces of our time . . . while grand events and themes are at the core of the novel, it is the richness of the characters and the intertwining of their often disparate stories that steal the show' Sunday Times
`The master storyteller Ken Follett knits together British, American, German and Russian points of view from the start to the end of the First World War into a fascinating and remarkably fertile tapestry of society and politics' The Times