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The Century Trilogy #3

Edge of Eternity

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Edge of Eternity is the sweeping, passionate conclusion to Ken Follett’s extraordinary historical epic, The Century Trilogy.
Throughout these books, Follett has followed the fortunes of five intertwined families – American, German, Russian, English, and Welsh – as they make their way through the twentieth century. Now they come to one of the most tumultuous eras of all: the enormous social, political, and economic turmoil of the 1960s through the 1980s, from civil rights, assassinations, mass political movements and Vietnam to the Berlin Wall, the Cuban Missile Crisis, presidential impeachment, revolution – and rock and roll.East German teacher Rebecca Hoffman discovers she’s been spied on by the Stasi for years and commits an impulsive act that will affect her family for the rest of their lives.…George Jakes, the child of a mixed-race couple, bypasses a corporate law career to join Robert F. Kennedy’s Justice Department, and finds himself in the middle not only of the seminal events of the civil rights battle, but a much more personal battle of his own.…Cameron Dewar, the grandson of a senator, jumps at the chance to do some official and unofficial espionage for a cause he believes in, only to discover that the world is a much more dangerous place than he’d imagined.…Dimka Dvorkin, a young aide to Nikita Khrushchev, becomes a prime agent both for good and for ill as the United States and the Soviet Union race to the brink of nuclear war, while his twin sister, Tania, carves out a role that will take her from Moscow to Cuba to Prague to Warsaw – and into history.

As always with Follett, the historical background is brilliantly researched and rendered, the action fast-moving, the characters rich in nuance and emotion. With the hand of a master, he brings us into a world we thought we knew but now will never seem the same again.

1098 pages, Hardcover

First published September 16, 2014

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About the author

Ken Follett

355 books52k followers
Ken Follett is one of the world’s most successful authors. Over 170 million copies of the 36 books he has written have been sold in over 80 countries and in 33 languages.

Born on June 5th, 1949 in Cardiff, Wales, the son of a tax inspector, Ken was educated at state schools and went on to graduate from University College, London, with an Honours degree in Philosophy – later to be made a Fellow of the College in 1995.

He started his career as a reporter, first with his hometown newspaper the South Wales Echo and then with the London Evening News. Subsequently, he worked for a small London publishing house, Everest Books, eventually becoming Deputy Managing Director.

Ken’s first major success came with the publication of Eye of the Needle in 1978. A World War II thriller set in England, this book earned him the 1979 Edgar Award for Best Novel from the Mystery Writers of America. It remains one of Ken’s most popular books.

In 1989, Ken’s epic novel about the building of a medieval cathedral, The Pillars of the Earth, was published. It reached number one on best-seller lists everywhere and was turned into a major television series produced by Ridley Scott, which aired in 2010. World Without End, the sequel to The Pillars of the Earth, proved equally popular when it was published in 2007.

Ken’s new book, The Evening and the Morning, will be published in September 2020. It is a prequel to The Pillars of the Earth and is set around the year 1,000, when Kingsbridge was an Anglo-Saxon settlement threatened by Viking invaders.

Ken has been active in numerous literacy charities and was president of Dyslexia Action for ten years. He was chair of the National Year of Reading, a joint initiative between government and businesses. He is also active in many Stevenage charities and is President of the Stevenage Community Trust and Patron of Home-Start Hertfordshire.

Ken, who loves music almost as much as he loves books, is an enthusiastic bass guitar player. He lives in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, with his wife Barbara, the former Labour Member of Parliament for Stevenage. Between them they have five children, six grandchildren and two Labradors.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 7,208 reviews
38 reviews2 followers
October 6, 2014
The characters in this book unlike characters in his previous books (that I really enjoyed) are caricatures. Follett lets his liberal politics come though with no subtlety - all the blacks are good all whites are evil and bad-intentioned.

I'm sorry to have wasted my time reading this left-wing drivel.

Very disappointing given the talented storyteller Follett can be.
Profile Image for Tina .
15 reviews6 followers
September 21, 2014
Sadly not nearly as well written as the previous books in this trilogy. The first third was as we're used to, descriptive and captivating. The rest seemed like he was in a hurry to finish, and is rushed and padded with a lot of clumsy sex. Very sad, I was so excited for the at installment and was left wanting better.
Profile Image for Dana Ilie.
404 reviews352 followers
January 24, 2019
Ken Follett believes in the power of a good story. And he harbors no doubt about attention spans in an era when people avert their eyes to smartphone screens approximately every 1.2 seconds.
Ken Follett again tackles great chucks of history in Edge of Eternity, the final installment in his Century Trilogy, which covers 1961 through 1989, and includes such epic events as Vietnam, Kennedy’s assassination, the Civil Rights movement, the Cold War and the fall of Communism. Follett also takes on two pop culture issues: the genesis of rock’n roll and the ‘60s sexual revolution.
And one small scene with Nicolae Ceausescu as protagonist. I was a kid but I remember how communism was: the wake up at 4 in the morning for the queues if you wanted to buy something, the fear of expressing yourself freely etc.
Follett tells his stories by placing readers into bedrooms, boardrooms, even at the Berlin Wall as it comes down. He’s masterly at juggling complex plot lines with a mix of real world leaders and fictional characters who are spread throughout Eastern and Western Europe and the United States.
Wrapping up a huge sweeping trilogy can be difficult, but Follett does a great job tying up loose ends, giving justice and time to characters without making it feel too long or fake. Overall, this is a fantastic series and a fantastic novel, and is enjoyable from a purely entertaining read and also as a way to think about the historical events of our recent past through the eyes of different people and perspectives.
Profile Image for Greg.
24 reviews
October 30, 2014
Bleh... I hated this book! What a load of liberal revisionist history.

I can summarize it for you this way: Liberals are brilliant, dashing, successful, all-knowing, always wise and prescient. Conservatives are stumbling, bumbling blockheads, who must visit prostitutes to get any action because who would want a conservative lover?

Want more? Jimmy Carter almost ended the cold war with his brilliant moves regarding Poland. Reagan gave a silly speech telling Gorbachev to "tear down this wall", which apparently had nothing whatsoever to do with the wall a few years thereafter being torn down... and, by the way, he was a mass murderer. In fact, it turned out that Gorbachev himself pretty much unilaterally killed the Soviet Union... on purpose. Who knew?

If you lean liberal and need to have your fantasy world upheld by books where liberals can do no wrong and conservatives can do nothing but, this is definitely the book for you. It will confirm all your most devout beliefs about your world view.

I found it awful... bleh
2 reviews4 followers
October 5, 2014
Review contains SPOILERS. Don't read further if you don't want some plot details spoiled.

Are you a self important baby boomer who leans left in your political views? Well buddy, are you going to have the biggest rager of a boner reading this book. Don't get me wrong, I devoured this book, and it starts off very strong. Most of the characters in the book start off likable. I realized pretty early on that at this point in the story, nearly all the characters are related by either blood or marriage, despite being on 3 different continents. Remember how likable most of the characters in both of the first two books were? The strong women? The men up against these terrible World Wars but still fighting the good fight for their familes? Yeah, you sort of get that at the start of the book, but it doesn't last.

As some other reviewers have noted, the book does start off strong, but then sort of just starts jumping from one historic event to the next, all while glossing over or downplaying some important ones. Nixon, Reagan and the one right leaning character in the book are evil cartoon characters. Jimmy Carter is almost completely left out(I wonder why?). Some redeeming qualities are shown for Nixon, just before getting into the things he's known for. None such for the Gipper, but I think part of that is that the story starts to go off the rails a bit in the 80's. Vietnam was pretty glossed over earlier, and I shit you not, there is not a single mention of the Soviet war in Afghanistan, despite there being two POV characters based out of the USSR and the theme of the USSR losing money and status being a central theme of the later chapters. How is that sort of oversight possible? As for Nam, most of the characters in the story are affluent, so they didn't have to fight. One character gets drafted, and it's a bit of a stretch, and he spends all of about 2 pages in Nam. Those are some of the most forced pages in the entire book and of course Follett goes all BABYKILLER for those pages, and no real mention is made of them again. Another character goes over there and pulls a Jane Fonda. The portions about Nam can somewhat be forgiven from a "boots on the ground" POV stance, as Follett is never at his strongest when discussing combat. However, the absolute omission of the Soviet Afghan war is a really glaring mistake.

In the earlier books, Follett's strength was his human characters, and the terrible situations they're thrown in. Despite all odds, they always pull through, usually with the help/support of a strong family. These are families we've read about for 3 generations or more. It seems, that much like in real life, something was lost between the Greatest Generation and the Baby Boomers. This is both a good thing, in that Follett acknowledges that the family did indeed grow weaker in that time period, and a bad thing as most of the characters are terrible people. Remember Maud? How she loved her man so strongly, that she gave up her family and homeland to be with him? She loved him through two world wars, and stayed strong for her new and growing family. Well, her grandson(SPOILERS) becomes a degenerate, drug addicted rockstar, who sleeps with his best friend's girl. His best friend(also his cousin), decides that this girl is fucking marriage material. Cheat on me and not feel bad about it? That's cool. Enable my cousin's heroin addiction? That's also cool, because I love you. Sounds like the kind of gal you'd want your son to marry right? Oh, that wonderful young lady is also a POV character, ha ha.

That's a theme among the male characters in this book. All of them, without fail, are fucking chumps. Almost all of them are either cheated on, cheat themselves, or end up making some choices that require a bit of a leap on the readers part. For instance (SPOILERS), a male character digs one of the female POV characters, but she falls for none other Jack Kennedy. He's such a fucking dreamboat that the bitch doesn't get married until she's 60, withered up, and a literal cat lady. The Kennedy clan in general are portrayed as the polar opposites to the cartoonish Nixon and Reagan. Very little mention is made of Ted, the fat drunk Kennedy, I guess Follett couldn't quite whitewash him into a completely flattering light.

Another character(more SPOILERS), one of the more redeeming ones, decides to cheat on her disabled husband with another man. Her poor disabled, mostly impotent husband say it's all good. Why? Because it's 60's MAAAAAAAAANNNNNNNNNN. She just as quickly ends the affair. It's almost as if Follett put that in there to ruin the one completely likable character in the story.

So, you're probably thinking that I really disliked this book from that review, but that's untrue. It was an entertaining read, and a page turner. It starts off very strongly and I had hoped it would be as enjoyable at the first two, but the enjoyment I got from the middle and end portions of the book came more from Follett's obvious bias and the reverse-Jamie Lannister character arcs of the POV characters. If you have read the first two books, definitely read this one to see how it ends, but I must warn you...the ending is terrible. I mean, I groaned as soon as I saw the date posted at the top of the page. I'll put another spoiler tag below and then discuss it, because it's the funniest, most ironic bit for me.


So, as I mentioned earlier, Follett spends some time building all of the right leaning characters into these evil cartoon characters. Early in the story it's(and rightfully so) the segregationists, then Nixon, and lastly Reagan. Now, for Reagan, he asserts that he's even worse than Tricky Dick, and that he got away with murdering innocents during the Iran-Contra affair. So what does Follett end on? You guessed it, the 2008 Barack Obama acceptance speech. For the scene, Follett has all of the black characters, who have fought so hard for civil rights throughout the first part of the book, all in one room watching the whole thing. Never mind that only Jacky and her son George are the only characters you care about in the room. They have reached the top of the mountain! I guess Follett wanted to stop it there and not have the parts where Obama wins the Nobel peace prize, and then murders innocents with drones. Hey, he'll get away with it though, the Gipper would be proud!

Edit: I would also like to add another glaring omission from a book that tried to hit all the big moments of the 60's-80's. The moon landing! The entire space race was barely mentioned, but one of the biggest "Where were you at" moments, and arguably one of the greatest achievements in the history of mankind, the FUCKING MOON LANDING, was not even in the books. Not even a fucking mention!
Profile Image for Mohammed Arabey.
709 reviews5,729 followers
December 30, 2017
ريفيو مبدئي

كل عام وانتم بألف خير..نستهل قراءات العام برحلة كين فوليت التاريخية الصاخبة القوية

First 2017 Read, as the last 2 years...KEN FOLLETT & The Century Trilogy.
Because who doesn't read History..won't notice how determinedly it repeat itself.
مع ثلاثية القرن..لان التاريخ يعيد نفسه باصرار..فقط نحن من لانتعلم
ورحلة الي الستينات ، مخاطر حرب عالمية ثالثة نووية بين امريكا والاتحاد السوفييتي ، الفرق الانجليزية الموسيقية كالبيتلز، حائط برلين ، حرب فيتنام، الحقوق المدنية للسود ومارتن لوثر كينج، الهيبيز في امريكا وقانون المثلية الجنسية في بريطانيا وانقلابات روسيا
الي السبعينات وعهد نيكسون وتصنته علي معارضيه وزيارته التاريخية لروسيا
الي الثمانينات والقلقلة بمدن الإتحاد السوفييتي حتي تفككه وسقوط حائط برلين

كل هذا من خلال 3 عائلات متشابكة من 3 قارات مختلفة في دراما ثرية مشتبكة بالاحداث السياسية

ربما عانت الكثير بثلث الرواية الاخير والذي لم يكن قوة الجزء الاول والثاني ولا حتي النصف الأول من هذا الجزء ، لكنها تظل رحلة تاريخية درامية تتعايش معها قل ما تجد مثل هذا الابداع والحبكة
محمد العربي
اول يناير 2017
قراءة من 21 ديسمبر 2016
الي 6 يناير 2017
2 reviews
October 5, 2014
First off, I cannot review this book without spoilers, so please, please read at your own risk.


I was disappointed by this book. Maybe as a standalone version it would have been better received, but as the third of what had been a superb trilogy I was let down.

Why drop so many characters we were invested in the first two books and which in the closing of the second made it look like we should look forward to what happens to them? The second books ends with Erik (Carla's brother) being enthusiastic with an East German uniform (similar to how he had joined the Nazi Army before) yet no mention of him, even in passing is made here.

The second book ends with Volodya showing his scientist wife a Sears catalog. Nothing comes of that, and the book focuses on the fraternal twins of Volodya's sister (whose marriage no one was thrilled about).

What about Billy Williams and his family? The seond book ends with him being a leading Labor MP and him digging up Ty Gwyn's gardens for coal.

No payoffs for many of the characters we do get to follow,

More than once Natalya keeps mentioning that she would like to escape to the West and that Vasilii (her author friend) deserves to get the recognition he deserves. Would it have cost too much for Follet to add a 2 page chapter where he receives some accolades (or maybe a fictional Nobel Prize of sorts) once the Soviet Union has been dissolved?

Maud dies, Grigory is visited on his death bed, what about the rest of the characters we loved and hated?

A heavy political agenda.

Basically liberals are good, conservatives are bad. Reagan should have been punished but wasn't, Bush 41 was clueless. After a point I did not like it at all. Follet made one character conservative and made him a heavy cartoon of one.

Many people complained before me, too much pointless sex. Does he really have to tell us that a brother and sister do not mind seeing each other naked? Hiding in a women's lingerie store was a great idea for two women looking not to be followed, but comparing breasts? And that "if I was a lesbian" line? Seriously? Plus the whole thing about Walli shaking hands with Karoly's husband and "seeing something" then Lilli remembering it was absurd.

Those are the things that disappointed me in a book I was soo looking forward to read. Sorry Ken, this onw gets only 3 stars.

And BTW just a passing mention (twice) of how Ty Gwyn is now a College with no explanation?
Profile Image for Liviu.
2,283 reviews641 followers
September 24, 2014
very strong first part covering roughly 1961 - 1963 (Berlin wall, fight for Civil Rights, the Cuban missile crisis), but then the novel starts scattering and after a while becomes almost an encyclopedia like recital of what happens as it follows the diverse group of characters until 1989

there are strong moments here and there but they read more like snippets than like a novel, while the political biases of the author start becoming way too visible and detract from the book (there is a ton about Nixon and later Reagan and how bad they and their entourage were and outrage as how Nixon got punished but Reagan "got away" with it, while nothing about the disastrous Carter years, very little about the disastrous Johnson Vietnam War, nothing about how Margaret Thatcher reinvigorated Britain for a generation etc); also there is nothing about Japan or China and any historical fiction that wants to cover the later part of the 20th century in the comprehensive way this book seems to be intended and basically resumes itself at the USA-USSR cold war is already failing there

overall a page turner one reads to find out what happens, but which after the first excellent maybe third, devolves into self-indulgence, lack of cohesion and political bias that becomes more and more annoying
Profile Image for Maria Espadinha.
1,027 reviews372 followers
November 5, 2020
O Tyranossaurus Rex

Ufa!... Até que enfim!
No limiar da eternidade fiquei eu depois de ler este calhamaço infinito!
Just kidding! He, he

Será mesmo mandatória uma forte dose de coragem para deglutir este colosso?!
Não creio!
Apesar da desencorajante lombada de lista telefónica, garanto-vos que tem enredo q.b. para não enfastiar.

Só mesmo a mestria de Ken Follet, para tornar um livro com as dimensões dum Tyranossaurus Rex numa leitura fluida e agradável.
Como sempre (quase sempre?!), Ken Follet não desilude!...

Nota: Confesso que concluí este livro há bastante tempo, o que significa que já se me varreram muitos detalhes da trama. Porém, recordo que a sua leitura me marcou pela positiva, e como considero que os bons livros são para divulgar, propus-me resenhá-lo nem que fôsse só para dizer que gostei e vale a pena. E assim fiz! 😉👍
Profile Image for cindy stenzel.
102 reviews
October 11, 2014
so many world events took place during the time period of this book that it felt like the characters were forced into the story rather than the story being built around the characters.
Profile Image for Paul Weiss.
1,250 reviews232 followers
December 20, 2022
“ … how many years can some people exist, before they're allowed to be free? … “

Ken Follett’s masterpiece, EDGE OF ETERNITY, is the third and final installment in his CENTURY TRILOGY. But, be of good cheer! New readers to the trilogy or, indeed, even that small handful of readers who have yet to sample Ken Follett’s magnificent mountain of literary achievement, will be pleased to know it reads just fine as a stand-alone novel. In summary, it is nothing less than a fictionalized version of the 20th Century after World War II and the events leading up to and through the world’s hair’s breadth avoidance of all out nuclear war as the Cold War between the USA and the USSR unfolded.

Not only will you get an up-close and intimate feeling for how the major players of the day acted – JFK and his brother, Bobby; Lyndon Johnson; Nikita Khrushchev; Martin Luther King; Richard Nixon; J Edgar Hoover; Fidel Castro; Mikhail Gorbachev; Ho Chi Minh, to name only a few – but you will also meet an epic cast of smaller players created to serve as metaphors for broad groups of people living in those perilous times – blacks; East Berliners; West Germans; privileged American whites; racists and protesting musicians; oppressed Soviets; draftees to the Vietnam War and so on. Your stomach will churn as Kennedy faces off with Khrushchev during the Cuban missile crisis. You’ll weep as you imagine yourself in the massive crowd listening to Martin Luther King deliver his “I have a dream” speech. You’ll cheer as the terrified, disbelieving citizens of East Berlin watch the fall of the much hated Berlin wall.

“ … wherever there was cruel oppression, … there had to be many nice ordinary people … who looked away from the grisly truth”!

Make no mistake. Ken Follett makes absolutely no attempt to present a left-right balanced portrayal of events in his chosen 40 year time frame! Indeed, Follett obviously showcases his considered opinion that there is no place in a compassionate world for the far right. The hatred, the bigotry and the self-centered ugliness of the Republican right is portrayed absolutely mercilessly. And the degree to which some individual events foreshadow their virtually identical repetition in the 21st century with the rise of the Tea Party and the Trump presidency is at once frightening and shameful - the effective collapse of the fight for black civil rights during the latter portion of Johnson’s presidency; Saudi financing for CIA assassination hit squads; and (plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose) the gullibility and the capacity for self-deception that is American Society. In 1973, five months after the election in which Nixon won 49 states, losing only Massachusetts and Washington DC, even as the Watergate investigation was paving Nixon’s certain path to impeachment, his approval rating stood at an astonishing 60-33!

EDGE OF ETERNITY is magnificent and takes a place of honour on my bookshelves beside PILLARS OF THE EARTH as one of my lifetime favourite novels. It might be an 1100 page door-stopper but boredom is a word that didn’t even occur to me during a single page!

Paul Weiss
Profile Image for Gary Branson.
859 reviews7 followers
September 23, 2014
It pains me to give a Follett a low rating; however, this just wasn't good. Stock characters against the political background of the last half of the 20th century just made this story too long. And where was England in all of this turmoil? Not one single mention of Margaret Thatcher. Seemed to be forcing a particular political agenda also... As I said about the second book in the trilogy, too broad a canvas to be effective.
125 reviews1 follower
August 14, 2014
I read an advance copy of the third in the Century Trilogy Follett who is probably best know for his thrillers is also a great writer of historical fiction--Pillars of the Earth may be the best piece of historical fiction I ever read. Edge of Eternity is not far behind. It is the monumental (1100 pages in my copy) of a monumental time --1961 to 1989. The book was like reading a movie ( I mean that in a good way), story flowed, the characters flowed, it just worked. Granted lots of literary license to have his various families in the center of all that was happening, but how else could the story be told. All in all it was a great read
Profile Image for Kelly Hubbard.
72 reviews
June 18, 2015
I can't wait to read this book! Fall of Giants and Winter of the World were so good I could hardly put them down.
Profile Image for Lovemybooks2020 Cindy Ward.
357 reviews48 followers
October 7, 2014
Long, long long and boooooring. I would say the first of this trilogy was the best...the second was only ok, and this one was not very good. I just didn't care about the characters, what happened, etc. It was not suspenseful or engaging. Sorry Ken Follett, I love you but not this book!
Profile Image for Terry Fazio.
1 review1 follower
October 3, 2014
Thought it was adolescent. I have read other books of Follet's and this one read as if someone else wrote it. Perhaps it is because I lived through this era, that there was a knowing of the linear plot, but I just don't think it was well written. Sorry. No recommendations here.
Profile Image for Gary.
327 reviews198 followers
October 5, 2014
After reading well over 3,000 pages of material....you feel totally invested in a story. At least this writer does that for me. I cared deeply about these characters. It's funny....when I read a Follett novel......I dream about the characters while I sleep at night, as if they are real people. That's how powerful this trilogy was for me. And out of the 3 this one I could most relate to, because I was born in 1959,and the things happening in it up to 2008, I saw on the news. I lived it, I experienced it.

The first week this book was first put on the shelves, we drove to Independence, MO to visit my son ,and his new wife, who live there now. We stopped at the local BARNES AND NOBLE, (take that, Amazon!), and I was hot on the trail to purchase this book....while I was deciding which book to actually purchase, (I am anal about the binding,the condition of the book jacket,etc. So I look at several copies,before I decide that this is the one), I counted 5 people either asking an employee about where the latest Ken Follett novel is, or a couple people discussing how excited they were to read it.

I will admit, this is not War and Peace material, (Matt!), or deserving of the Nobel Peace Prize for Literature,but it's enjoyable ,and engrossing all the same. Start with Fall of Giants,and Winter of the World,and then this one. Follow the families,and their struggles, through wars, political uprising,and family squabbles. Start at the beginning,and take the ride....it's a great one!
Profile Image for Dawn.
11 reviews
January 23, 2015
Worth the time to finish just to say I did it, but not even close to the quality of its precursors. I am a big fan of Follett's previous work. Pillars of the Earth is up there with the best books written in the last few decades. Sadly, though it gets off to a good start, Edge of Eternity fizzles fast, becoming repetitive and predictable. Characters patronizingly summarize and re-summarize their lives like a 6th grade history teacher trying to prep students for a test. Connections between real and fictional characters are painfully and unconvincingly contrived. Female characters annoyingly think and do things only a man would imagine. Irrelevant sex scenes litter way too many pages in a dull attempt to convey 60's zeitgeist. Finally, the revisionist history of memorable events is riddled with so much banal liberal bias that it ruins the storyline involving people/events in the U.S.
Profile Image for Henry.
666 reviews34 followers
June 19, 2022
This is the third volume in Ken Follett's Century Trilogy. I read the first two volumes, Fall of Giants and Winter of the World which cover the events surrounding World War I and World War II respectively. I gave them both five stars as I have given many other of Ken Follett's novels. I was warned by others about this last volume in the series, but I felt that I had to read it. My evaluation: 1100 pages of pure garbage. It covers the period 1960 to 1989. I am older than Ken Follett and I lived through those times and this book is simply fake history. Historical novels can contain alternative history, or a lot of made-up characters and events to fill in the gaps when there is no accurate historical record, but this book is not that. It is simply fake history pretending to be real. How does one pretend to tell the story of this time period without ever mentioning, to name just a few events and important historical persons: the space race and men landing on the moon; the oil and financial crises of the '70'; the Iran hostage crisis, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan; the attempted assassinations of Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II, Margaret Thatcher; the Falklands War. How does an author spend hundreds of pages discussing fake rock and roll stars and the cultural revolution and not mention Woodstock? How does he discuss American politics and the Kennedy dynasty and not mention Chappaquiddick? How does he discuss Vietnam protests and not mention Kent State?

After all he had 1100 pages to do it, but instead, Follett creates fake people (I won't call them characters because they are not characters but caricatures) and fake events who drive the great events of the time and ignores or dismisses the real historical figures and events that did.

The fake history is actually dangerous because some readers, especially younger ones who did not live through these events might believe the nonsense that Follett spews out, particularly if they had read the real history he deals with in the first two books of the series.

Even with these serious flaws, if the book was entertaining or moving that could redeem it, but sadly it is not. It is a story populated by caricatures who are stupid, promiscuous, drug addicted or delusional fools.

One star is very generous, but Goodreads won't let you give less. This book goes into my very short "crap" folder.
Profile Image for Nicole~.
198 reviews252 followers
November 1, 2014
4.5 stars

Edge of Eternity is Follett's bookend to his globe-trotting Century trilogy that began with Fall of Giants followed by Winter of the World: a strikingly immense multi-generational saga featuring families from Germany, Russia, Wales, England and America, weaving historical world conflicts of the 20th century.

In this final installment, we see the grandchildren of the epic WWI story course through the remnants of WWII, the Cold War, and the civil rights movement of the 1960's. Follett's undertaking of the political crises of the next 3 decades, steered ahead by the superpowers of the world, range from Communism, Social Democracy, freedom and civil rights, the threat of nuclear annihilation, espionage and government corruption, weaving them with creativity, astute interpretation and insight.

The bulky novel is made highly readable by short chapters ending in enough suspense to drive the reader through a labyrinthine historical journey: a bus tour meandering through the seminal events that shaped the world of today. The most compelling of topics unfolded right here in America with the move for civil rights laws: issues which the Brothers Kennedy initially hesitated on while turning blind eyes to the violence waged on black people in the South.

Follett's mostly plausible characters are involved in real events, interacting with real world leaders; there are unmistakable characters resembling Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, 'Hanoi' Jane Fonda and The Beatles. I say 'mostly plausible' since I had one teeny issue with Maria Summers, JFK's mistress: a strong black woman who was one of the Freedom Riders, who stands firmly for equality for black people, goes to bed and falls hopelessly in love with the white American president who refused to sign the bill for civil rights. I had the impression of the black female captive of a white plantation 'massa'. She stood out as a character out of character.

Finally, this epic fact and fiction heavyweight is a story of victory: of freedom and democracy after a century of earth's bloodshed; the realization that was once a Dream - the attainment of civil rights after such violent struggle, culminating into the making of America's first black President; the failure of communism, the fall of corrupt world leaders and - not to be left unmentioned - the triumphant heralding of the birth of Rock and Roll.

All we are saying is give peace a chance.

Let me tell you now
Ev'rybody's talking about
Revolution, evolution, masturbation,
Flagellation, regulation, integrations,
Meditations, United Nations,

- John Lennon

Profile Image for Andrew Obrigewitsch.
938 reviews126 followers
October 29, 2014
Not as good as the first two books. And not because I am irrationally offended when someone doesn't praise the all mighty Ronald Reagan.

With the Viet Nam war, Kennedy's, Hippie movement, rock music, the USSR and so much else that happened post WWII to the present. This should have been a great story. However it literally felt like this book was written by another author, who basically wrote an encyclopedia that had sex scenes in it to make it interesting.

For example, I get that this book was about the sexual revolution, however, did every character have to have an affair? Even minor ones and even Martin Luther King? I felt like this was added in to keep people's interest, because the rest of the story was just not up to what I would expect from Ken Follett. It would literally go, Cuban missile crisis, end of chapter about someone's affair. Civil rights protect, fellowed by an affair. Berlin wall goes up, affair. Just got old after a while, although it did make since for some characters stories, like the Hippies, it just felt like filler when it came to JFKs and MLKs affairs, or stories about people they had affairs with.

A lot of people are complaining about the end of the book, where the civil rights activists, who have been working their whole lives to help people of color gain equal rights, are excited that Obama became president. Well that only makes sense from these characters, finally seeing a black president is something they thought would never happen. It does not mean the author is biased. In fact the author was very anti-communist.

I am neither a Democrat nor Republican, and really don't like either. And I think this book is pretty center of the line. But people in the U.S. are so used to the media being biased in favor of one team or the other, that they think anything said bad about their team, means someone is biased. Notice I said team? Well, because these two parties are really nothing more than sports teams that people blindly follow. At least that's my view, sure there are some good players, but mostly their records are pretty bad, and they both support very oppressive actions that the government is doing.
Profile Image for Skip.
3,348 reviews412 followers
January 2, 2015
WOW. Ken Follett continues to produce great novels. The third book in the Century Trilogy is bookended by the creation and destruction of the Berlin Wall, symbolizing the rise and fall of communism. But the book has so much more, covering the civil rights movement, concluding with the election of Barack Obama. Follett also integrates the key political figures, assassinations, protests, and strife of the past 50 years. But, what really makes the novel are the great characters he has created and their descendants, who help bring together all of the seminal historical events. Most of the novel, perhaps even too much, focuses on the 1960s: love, war, drugs, rock 'n roll, political leaders in the US and abroad. Who were the good guys and the bad guys, which are clearer in retrospect than they were in real time. I think Follett missed the space race in his portrayal of US/USSR relations, but including it would have pushed the book well over the 1,098 pages. This is a good one to read in e-book form.
Profile Image for Matt.
3,815 reviews12.8k followers
January 24, 2015
What a sensational series to begin 2015 reading!!!

Follett ties up the Century Trilogy with the best novel yet, Edge of Eternity. Tackling the largest historical arc, Follett brings his characters to life at a time when the world saw epic change, continuing storylines from past novels and adding new layers with another generation of characters to push the trilogy ahead. Follett continues to follow five intertwined families through the major social, political, and economic turmoil of the 1960s through the 1980s. Follett addresses the rise of civil rights, assassinations of key political figures, development of political movements and Vietnam, which touched America and shaped the world. International historical events such as the rise and fall of the Berlin Wall, the Cuban Missile Crisis, numerous communist revolutions, and rock and roll. Readers of the first two Trilogy novels will bask in this most powerful novel, leaving not a page free of major character development and dramatic build-up. Follett remains a master of his craft and many others could learn from his ease of presentation.

Follett skips ahead a dozen years in this last novel. With the country firmly divided, East German teacher Rebecca Hoffman learns the Stasi has been invading her life for years, choosing to alter her own history in hopes of betterment. George Jakes, a young man of mixed-race joins Bobby Kennedy’s Justice Department, where the civil rights movement develops around him as American history is also shaped in the evolving 1960s. Cameron Dewar ignores his familial political history and joins Nixon's team to shape a country tired of Vietnam's casualties. Dimka Dvorkin, working for Nikita Khrushchev, witnesses the height of Cold War tensions as nuclear war becomes an almost-certain reality. Dvorkin's twin sister, Tania, leaves the comforts of Moscow to shape communist sentiment in Cuba and behind the Iron Curtain, where the Soviet nucleus wanes and political discord waxes. These are but a drop in the bucket of the characters, storylines, and dramatic narratives that pull the novel and the saga together once and for all.

Over a twenty-eight year historical arc, from 1961 through to 1989, Follett presents his brilliantly researched novel, picking key events and weaving backstories for a plethora of characters, whose lives are more than vessels for the political and social upheaval seen throughout. Even the most attentive reader may struggle with how the characters tie together, crossing national backgrounds and creating relationships that are best plotted on a genealogy tree. The novel is about more than living through history, but also using history as an ever-shaping backdrop. However, Follett pushes the argument (in all three novels) that history shapes not only borders and elections, but also those who create it, from commoner to political giant alike.

For those, like me, who invested the time in the audio version of the novel, a word about John Lee is surely in order. Lee, a master story teller with his nuanced accents and narrative abilities, brings the story to life with his ever-changing voices and calm style. He takes on so many characters, but is sure to give each their own voice and personality. He is a Follett favourite when it comes to audiobook renditions, and Lee has done a wonderful job in colouring the narrative from the opening pages in a Welsh coal mine through to the election of a black president of the United States of America.

Kudos, Mr. Follett for this literary gem. I have and will continue to recommend the series to friends and fellow readers alike.

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Profile Image for Justo Martiañez.
403 reviews134 followers
February 4, 2021
4/5 Estrellas

Como ya he comentado en las dos entregas anteriores, a mi esta serie, podrá ser un betseller, pero me gustó bastante. Un recorrido imprescindible por la historia del siglo XX, desde distintos puntos de vista, en distintos lugares del mundo occidental. Con un sesgo un poco progre y socialdemócrata, si hay que reconocerlo, pero bueno peor hubiera sido un enfoque populista o un enaltecimiento de los totalitarismos.
Creo que es una lectura recomendable.
Profile Image for NILTON TEIXEIRA.
890 reviews305 followers
January 3, 2022
Edge of Eternity
4 solid stars!
If you can’t enjoy a work of fiction like this one, while leaving your political beliefs aside, then this book is not for you.
I believe that the main intention of the author here was to entertain.
With that out my my chest, let me say how much I enjoyed this absorbing and entertaining trilogy.
All of the 3 books kept me away from reality.
This one, which covers the years between 1961 and 2008, although very political, was a great conclusion to the trilogy, but it is my least favourite because some parts were slow and had some unnecessary “flashbacks” of things that happened within the same book. Also, the characters here were not that charismatic. But this one had stronger scenes that I found touching.
As like the other volumes, it’s not flawless, but I loved every single page, and listening to the audiobook narrated by John Lee while reading the book, only double my pleasure.
As I said on previous books, I read it as if I were watching a long soap opera.
This trilogy is truly an ambitious work of fiction and the writing is simply terrific.

Audiobook: 37 hours (normal speed)
Book (hardcover): 1094 pages, 368k words
Average reading hour: between 30 and 33 hours
Profile Image for Tom LA.
604 reviews238 followers
September 15, 2022
This is the third and final - and worst - installation of the "Century Trilogy" by Ken Follett. I listened to the audiobook, read with too much pomp and too little warmth by the actor, who sounded like an anchorman from the '50s.

I was enjoying the book until about half-way through, but the second part turned into a YA novel and went seriously downhill.

Be warned: there is no real, 360 degrees history here. Most of it is over-simplified, cartoonish history, as seen through heavily left-leaning eyes.

Yes, I enjoyed flashing through the Cold War period, while following the descendants of the five families that readers have been following since the first book, Fall of Giants, set against the background of WWI. Geographies included are, again, mainly the US, Russia, Germany and the UK.

But ... this is definitely NOT a book I would recommend. I give it 2 stars because it was ok to listen to, and it kept me company in my walks or car trips. But, unlike the first and second book, this third one has some very, very big issues.

THE ONLY GOOD THING: the plot is constantly gripping, and it drives you forward. Ken Follett is a plot-driven writer. It's not that he doesn't write well, it's that he cares mostly about the story. His language is only a tool. He said that he wants his language to be like a "glass pane", that you can clearly see through to the story, while when a writer uses a richer or flowery language, the glass pane is distracting the reader from the story. His favorite writers are Ian Fleming, Stephen King and the likes. In short, writers of fast-paced, action-packed stories. In fact, action scenes are where Follett really excels.

BAD: the history is accurate, but it is reported with an awfully simplistic, politically charged, stereotypical approach. What are the stereotypes about the Cuba crisis? Here you find them all. What are the stereotypes about the Watergate scandal? Here you find them all. Did Kennedy sleep around and was gossiped to love rubber ducks in his bathtub? Check and check, sleeping around and rubber ducks.

(in line with being stereotypical, Follett never mentions the heavy womanizing of Martin Luther King. Because, you know, that's something you just don't do. Check).

Not only Follett puts his own political agenda in the novel (especially in the second part of the book), he also does it so superficially, with exactly the same high-school level of historic depth you would get from a drunk in a pub, telling you how Reagan was just a murderer and Nixon was nothing but a crook.

Trust me, you will find much more historical insight in the movie Forrest Gump.

Everything is explained with the childishness of a cartoon. Even worse, it sounds like Follett's opinions are actually built on this type of cartoonish reconstruction of the events.

The WORST thing of Edge of Eternity is that, while typically good historic fiction helps you get in the skin of the people who really lived in a specific time, in this book the characters are there to make only high-school history come alive. They are not real people, they are puppets in the hands of a writer (and his many ghost writers) who seems to base his political opinions on a slim book of "World History".

Real history is the real victim of this book. It is completely forgotten.

BAD: Republicans and conservatives in general have zero positive traits. They are literally the baddies in this book. Aside from the other left-leaning narratives that Follett fully embraces, he reaches his peak when he presents the end of Communism purely as a spontaneous combustion, while explicitly describing the US and CIA foreign policy efforts during the Cold War as completely useless, as having no effect whatsoever on the the fall of Communism. Therefore, every US foreign policy operation was totally stupid and worthless. Ugh!! *pukes* Is it too much to ask for some middle ground where someone sees things in a more balanced way? The problem is that many teenagers will read Follett's own lefty narrative as if it was the only way to interpret the facts of the 20th century.

BAD: every character is driven by ideals, and almost no one by self interest. Obviously, that takes a lot away from the sense of realism. Let's just say the characters never become real, not once. They are all symbols or tools Follett uses to make his own points, or at best they are the embodiments of wikipedia bullet points about the Cold War period.

He also seems to have a real soft spot for female characters who are self-righteous and aggressively moralizing.

BAD: every single scene ends up in graphic, meticulously size-of-the-clitoris described sex. Far, far too much. Such a killer to the elegance of the overall work. Clearly a commercial decision, to sell to the lusty teens who enjoy that crap, but hey, Follett, did you forget that this really lowers the level of the book to the YA level? No, worse: it's like having the rock band Kiss jump on stage every 15 minutes while you're seeing a serious well-played drama, and having them sing one of their loud songs, red tongues sticking out and all. Real trash.

Mr Follett, you are part of the 1% as you are already worth 45 million dollars, do you seriously need to use these trashy tricks at the expense of the book's style and elegance? Your name is today a 35 people company ... did none of these 35 ask you: "Are you sure you want to ruin this book with all those graphic sex scenes?". The only reason I can think of is, more sales, more money. I find it really sad.

But most of all, I wish you had had more respect for history, and not made it into a cartoon, parroting out the lefty version of the Cold War era.
Profile Image for Robert Bilicki.
24 reviews1 follower
January 21, 2014
I have read almost all of Ken Follett's books. They are great stories.

Let me just say that if Ken Follet's new book is anything like his previous books, I believe it will be great. I have to admit that I have only read the outline of the story but, from the little I read Follet's new book will be interesting. Sorry I if I gave the impression that I had already read the whole story.
299 reviews2 followers
October 6, 2014

Follett knows how to make you turn the pages. He's a master story teller. But this was a rush job, to the point of being insulting. Would a character in the 1970s really say "yada, yada"? For some reason that annoyed me more than the repeated paragraph, the ponderous recaps,
one dimensional characters and mawkish, cliché ridden writing.

All the same I had to finish it - more fool me.
9 reviews
October 8, 2014
Edge of Eternity reads like a Young Adult fiction. Plot lines follow the same routine as the last two books. All love angles seem forced in awkwardly. Very disappointing.
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