October 16, 2013

Fall of Giants by Ken Follett

"Fall of Giants" is a fantastic novel by Ken Follett. Set in the early 20th century, this book follows the lives of five families through the first World War, the Russian Revolution, the labor unions and the struggle for women's suffrage.

This is my third Ken Follett novel, and I've come to enjoy his writing style, attention to historical detail and character development. This book is well researched. It does cover a great deal of history and has a large cast of characters. However, even with such a large cast of characters, I never had the problem of forgetting someone or becoming lost in one of the many subplots.

 Earl Fitzherbert's character begins the story as a product of his time. He is a proper British gentleman, and resists the idea of social reform. Aside from his infidelity, he really isn't an unpleasant character. During the war, he fights bravely and with honor. However, as the novel goes on...Fitzherbert's character changes. He becomes more of a villain and his only interest is self preservation.

Maud Fitzherbert and Ethel Williams had a good thing going for them. I wish their characters had been able to reconcile their differences. I feel as if Follett wanted the readers to side with Ethel - the hard working single mothe, vs. Maud - the sister of a wealthy Earl.

In order to include real historical events, some of the happenstance meetings between characters are a bit contrived.  

The book did end with a cliff hanger and I'm looking forward to diving into the second book of this series.

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