Fall of Giants, by Ken Follett, was published in September of 2010 and is 985 pages. I am a huge fan of Follett and was thrilled to win this book from a giveaway at the Gutenberg Girls Blog. I was nervous to dive into this massive novel because I’d heard so many lukewarm reviews, but it is, without a doubt, my favorite Follett novel.
Fall of Giants begins with a six page cast of characters; it is, after all, Book One of a Century Triology. I found the cast pages too intimidating, so I dove right into the book at Chapter One. Within the first several pages I was thoroughly engrossed, and even after nearly one thousand pages, I never had to consult the six page character list.
Every character in the novel is distinct and fascinating, and represents a country or viewpoint of the world leading up to and through WWI. Most notably, but not exclusively, there are the working-class coal miners from Wales, the British aristocrats, the Russian nobility and peasantry, the militaristic upper class Germans, and the political Americans. The lives of the men and women from each level of society and every country are intertwined by work and love, and Follett brilliantly uses his characters to demonstrate how class warfare, passion, and pride led to the the first World War.
Follett is a master plotter. He keeps the reader riveted on every page of his thousand page novels because every single scene is full of tension, fascinating circumstances, memorable characters, and graphic detail. Nothing is spared, and you will flinch, cry, gasp, and blush many times throughout the novel. His prose is so vivid that it plays like a movie, and this will, I hope, become a series as his earlier novels have.
If you enjoy epic novels of love and war, I highly recommend Fall of Giants. My only complaint is that I have to wait until next fall to read the sequel.
For more on Ken Follett, visit his website at http://www.ken-follett.com/.