Ken Follett was twenty-seven when he wrote Eye of the Needle, an award-winning thriller that became an international bestseller. He then 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 and its long-awaited sequel, World Without End, was a number one bestseller in the US, UK and Europe and was followed by the third novel in the Kingsbridge series A Column of Fire. He has written the bestselling Century trilogy, which comprises Fall of Giants, Winter of the World and Edge of Eternity.
This second installment of Follett's epic Century trilogy is just as potent, engrossing, and prolix as the opening opus, Fall of Giants. Continuing the histrionics of the five families introduced in Fall, this masterfully conceived novel picks up in 1933 as Carla von Ulrich, 11, feels the horror of Nazi encroachment in Germany and proves a staunch resister, while her older brother, Erik, becomes an infatuated soldier. Elsewhere, English student Lloyd Williams aggressively resists the Fascists in the Spanish Civil War. Later, wealthy American brothers Chuck (a closeted homosexual) and Woody Dewar head to the South Seas to fight the good fight as socialite Daisy Peshkov, Woody's first love, is swept up with Lloyd and the drama of war. Rife with plot lines, interpersonal intrigue, sweeping historical flourishes, and an authentic and compelling cast, this is a tale of dynamic characters struggling to survive during one of the world's darkest periods. While some may find Follett's verbosity daunting, others will applaud his dedication and ability to keep so many plots spinning while delivering a story that educates, entertains, and will leave fans eagerly awaiting the trilogy's crowning capstone. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
The second volume in Follett's trilogy of the 20th century traces the intertwined histories of the same five families-Welsh, English, German, Russian and American-that were featured in Fall of Angels. In 1933, Hitler's acolytes seize power; in a particularly disturbing scene, Brownshirts destroy the offices of an opposition newspaper while smiling police look on. By 1948, the Axis has been defeated, but Europe is split between Eastern and Western Europe, Communists are gaining in the West, and the Soviets have the bomb. The Berlin airlift has begun. Follett's latest novel is a tale of heroes and heroic acts. In the hands of a less adroit storyteller, it would be hackneyed, but Follett moves his stock figures through interesting situations and draws the reader in to care what happens to them. The next thing you know, you've read all 960 pages of this enjoyable novel. VERDICT This second installment will be just as popular as its predecessor, and it deserves to be. [See Prepub Alert, 3/5/12.]-David Keymer, Modesto, CA (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.