Ken Follett


Well-Known Member
My mom was at the library and picked up "Fall Of Giants" by Ken Follett. Burned through the first 250 pages this evening.

I had already read Pillars of the Earth and really enjoyed it. Also liked Whiteout from him too.

Anyone else check out anything by him?

So far, his books are 3 for 3 by me. Really exciting, especially considering that I'm not exactly a huge fan of realistic fiction.

I'm seriously considering moving Ken Follett up to my list of favorite writers, alongside Terry Goodkind, JRR Tolkein, Orson Scott Card, Stephen King, Michael Crichton, and Frank Herbert.

I've got a fair amount of down time over christmas, so any other suggestions on good reads to pick up?


Well-Known Member
Yeah, I do a pretty solid 1.5 pages per minute of a typical sized hardcover. I like to read. Parents always read to me but I got impatient. I can read and type faster than I can speak. Maybe that's why I got onto forums at such a young age.

I got busy with christmas, but I finished Part 1 of the book today. It's a really great read.

It's about a couple families in the years leading up to (and presumably during - Part 1 covers from June 1911 to August 1914, ending with the declaration of war) World War I. There's a Welsh working-class coal-mining family, a British aristocrat family, a German political family, a poor Russian family, and a young American man. They're all interrelated in more ways than they realize.

There's been a lot of romance and a lot of politics leading up to the war. It's an interesting perspective, for sure. I never raised much interest in the first World War.

WW2 was my thing. I built model airplanes. I read a shitton of books. I knew every battle, every ship, every aircraft. In 8th grade we learned about WW2 in history class and I was furious that daylight strategic bombing was neglected in favor of the typical "women and minorities" chapter. I've had a poorly painted scale model B-17 hanging from the ceiling of my bedroom since I was 9 years old.

World War 1, OTOH, was much less interesting. I thought trench warfare was exciting, and liked the early tanks. I knew the high school history version where the Serbians assassinated Franz Ferdinand which launched the entire continent into war because of alliances.

But this book is completely fascinating. The character who has been the main focus recently is a german diplomat in london who is trying to prevent the war, because he sees how pointless and bloody it will be. He's talking to all these British politicians while sending telegrams back to Berlin and trying to defuse the situation. But there are strong factions in all the governments that are very pro-war. And because of all the alliances, more countries are becoming involved. So he's gathering all this intelligence, and he wants to stop the war but there isn't anything he can do as a minor diplomat.

Normally, this would be a dry political novel, but Ken Follett keeps it interesting with his characters. And they have all these friendships and romances (especially between the German diplomat and a British Earl who he has been friends with since childhood), so it's a story about people moreso than about politics. It's in a great place between being a boring fictional romance novel and being a boring non-fiction history book. It's fictional characters who are exciting in a true historical background so it's really good.

Fuckin A. I was just gonna re-read through some Michael Crichton books I had on my bookshelf over Christmas, but my mom picked this up at the library to read herself and I am really enjoying it.


Well-Known Member
Once the war got going, things got exciting. Couldn't put the book down. I read the remaining 660 pages yesterday.

I'm sitting here right now, completely depressed. I already knew that the Treaty of Versailles was a travesty, creating a political and economic climate in Germany that was sure to cause a tyrant to emerge, but this book really cemented it in. Also, I wasn't as familiar with the direct connection between this war and the Russian Revolution.

It makes you wonder what the world would have been like if World War I hadn't started. If the Austrians just reprimanded Serbia instead of invading, and if France had broken its alliance with Russia, or if England broke its alliance with France, or if Germany broke its alliance with Austria. Surely, Nazi Germany wouldn't have come to be. And, the communist Russian Revolution may not have occurred either. The root causes of World War II and the Cold War (and by extension, Korea and Vietnam) were all created in World War I, which occurred because some political figure was assassinated.

Apparently, this book is the first of a trilogy, called the "Century Trilogy".

This book followed a group of people, aged from about 18 to 25 when WWI began. Many of them had children during the war.

I bet the second book takes place in WWII, when the original characters are middle-aged and their children are fighting the war. Then, the third will probably be during the Cold War, when the original characters are elderly and have grandchildren.