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Langley, BC, Canada
I love to read. I love books. I like to talk about books and recommend them. I read everything including cereal boxes and junk mail! I heard once that if you're not reading at least 3 books at a time you're not reading enough! This blog will keep track of the books I've read and whether or not I liked them. It will be a little bit of everything from Christian fiction to Science fiction and fantasy. Feel free to participate by suggesting books to review and giving your comments. Occasionally I am given free books by Publishers in exchange for a review. I am not told how to review them or compensated in any way for the review.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Fall of Giants by Ken Follett

Penguin Books sent me a copy of Ken Follett’s Fall of Giants back in the summer. It’s taken this long to finally get it read. But you shouldn’t let that scare you. I’m not really a fan of historical fiction so it sat for a while before I picked it up. What might scare you is the size of the book. At 985 pages it’s a big book. I think that might end up being a detriment to some people as you literally have to sit with the book in your lap as it’s too heavy to hold up.

But he does need that many pages and more to tell the story. This is book one of the Century Trilogy so there is a hundred years of storytelling to be done between this and the next two books. This book covers 1911-1924. The story spans 2 continents, a world war, 5 families and politics at every level. He follows the families as they are impacted by the war and the politicking that accompanies the war. The families represent both the poor and the aristocracy. Several real historical characters are featured such as Lenin and Woodrow Wilson but these aren’t the main characters.

I enjoyed this book even though it took me awhile to get into it. If you like historical fiction and aren’t intimidated by the size of the book I think you will really like this book. His characters are engaging and even though it’s fiction it reads like these events could have happened. He stays true to the feel of the time and place.

When I started the book I wasn’t that interested in finishing it. However, now that I’m done I am interested enough to want to read the sequel, on my kindle. And that I think is the true test of a good novel, it leaves you wanting more.


  1. I am just reading this book, and it is magnificent. One thing that is very clear to me, is that Ken Follett has read Catherine Bailey's historical account of the fall of the great English mining family, the FitzWilliams, "Black Diamonds." Everything about the first few chapters, from the experiences of Billy Twice on his first day in the mine, to the dressing of the table at the visit of George V to a country house in 1914 (in the book it's fictional, but it was actually Wentworth Woodhouse.) I'm not sure if I like this or find this uncomfortable, since it's uncredited and goes a little bit further than research for historical accuracy.

  2. Anonymous, I thought the same thing. When I was first reading Fall of Giants, I was amazed that it was so clearly inspired by Black Diamonds. Tiny details like the table setting for the visit of George V, and the first day of work as a miner for Billy Williams are mirror images of scenes described in the opening chapters of Black Diamonds. Naturally the scope of Fall of Giants is much wider, but I believe the idea for the book was inspired by Black Diamonds. I was very amused by this, as I had previously thought while reading Black Diamonds that these stories well deserved a narrative telling on screen or in print, and funnily enough Ken Follett had gone and wrote it for me, but I was extremely disappointed that he didn't thank Catherine Bailey or give any acknowledgment that he was inspired and drew directly from the painstaking research of an author who is a much smaller fish.