This was a captivating story. Well written, based on two historical figures. Illuminating and enlightening. I also appreciated the author's notes at tThis was a captivating story. Well written, based on two historical figures. Illuminating and enlightening. I also appreciated the author's notes at the end. ...more
Well, I've finished reading Ken Follett's "Fall of Giants." It's nearly 1000 pages, but the font and spacing are generous and it went relatively fast.Well, I've finished reading Ken Follett's "Fall of Giants." It's nearly 1000 pages, but the font and spacing are generous and it went relatively fast. I think it took me 2 weeks of reading before sleep (about 45 minutes or so) and two hours relaxing on the couch to get through it.
One (major) review I read beforehand wondered where the editor was, because of a few minor things, and I agree, but it was only issues of repetition and only a few instances. In one instance, it appears almost an entire paragraph of description was used early in the book and then again later. Also, in one place a man's wife was hungry, very hungry due to food shortages. She was also pregnant. He admired her "voluptuous" body and I wondered if even a curvaceous woman would look voluptuous if she was nearly starving...
There weren't enough editorial bumps to be a problem (and I'm an editor so notice these things perhaps more than others) but it makes me wonder why Mr. Follett's publisher didn't provide for his editor(s) to go through his book slowly. Someone was rushing... (Because that is really the key for editors. No rushing!) Anyway....
This is the first of Follett's many successful books that I've read. I really liked it. (Hence my reading on the couch. That's the sign of a really good book, when I read it during the day rather than after dinner and/or before sleep.)
There are many story lines and characters but there's a handy list of characters and their countries in the front. I never had to refer to it, though, so I'm sure you'll have no problem keeping it straight.
I have a particular interest in World War I, begun when (as an indie publisher) I published (and illustrated) British novelist Chris Davey's WWI aviation books about Will Turner. (Check out "The Aviator's Apprentice," "Turner's Flight," and "Turner's Defense.") It's been a few years since I worked on Mr. Davey's books, and I appreciated the chance to learn more about WWI and the battles and the politics behind the various countries' strategies. It was sobering. Sobering to see how so many died, how so many lives depended on the decisions of a few. (The British lost 100,000 men in one battle. A year later, the German's took that advance back.)
I was interested in the inclusion of the Russian storyline and the appearance of Trotsky, especially as my husband, Mark Van Aken Williams, wrote "The Prophet of Sorrow" (a fictional memoir, of sorts, by Trotsky's murderer).
Reading "Fall of Giants" now, with the current world climate, was sobering. What have we learned? I wondered.
"Fall of Giants" is historical fiction, but for me personally, it falls short in character development. I guess there is just not room for it, the book would have to be so much longer and it is definitely long enough. Still, I tend to be drawn to stories that give more insight into the characters' inner lives and at times I thought the characters were stereotypical. The dangerous Russian "godfather" type; the plucky gal in service who gets pregnant; two brothers -- one responsible, one selfish. Social climbing mothers and snobby upper class British men who think they know best. I'm sure they did and do exist, but I like a writer who takes me beyond that. But, in this book, the formula worked and I was hooked, yet I'm glad I also like to read books by writers whose characters are more nuanced.
If you love to read and liked watching Downton Abbey, I bet you would like this book. And, you'll get the perspective of Russian peasants and a German spy who loves a British suffragette socialite. I suppose "Fall of Giants" will be made into a movie or miniseries. I'd watch it!
I'm going to buy book 2 and, when available, book 3 in Follett's series. And read a few of his other books too. I will intersperse these captivating tales with books by other favorite writers, especially those more character driven than plot driven.
I loved this book. It was a great summer read, but not light, not frivolous. It's the story of four women who meet once a week in a playground, and foI loved this book. It was a great summer read, but not light, not frivolous. It's the story of four women who meet once a week in a playground, and follows their friendship. They take up writing and critique each other's work. They share the ups and downs of motherhood and marriage and life as a woman in the 1970s. I really liked this book and looked forward every night to reading it....more
I enjoy reading books that feature, in some way, other cultures and countries than my own. This was a very good book. (Also, as a designer, I loved thI enjoy reading books that feature, in some way, other cultures and countries than my own. This was a very good book. (Also, as a designer, I loved the cover.) Because of the beautiful cover, I almost kept it, but then decided to share it with my mother who is 92. Mom has been a prolific reader throughout her life. She declared that it was one of the best books she's ever read. Sendker should consider that high praise!...more