Edge of Eternity (The Century Trilogy, #3) Edge of Eternity discussion

Which points of the book did you dislike?

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Schizomaan 1.: Just three occupation groups; politics, journalists and popstars
2.: Some important historical events haven't been mentioned (moonlanding, Afghanistan. ..)
3.: Everybody made a big career in different ways
4.: Some old characters where mentioned much too less; the Britishs even not at all (The visit from Lew at Grigori's last days was so superficial I could not believe)
5.: Too many pages of political discussions (while Martin Luther King's death has been written down in I think 3 pages)
6.: Too much senseless sex and cheating
7.: At the end Follett jumps too fast from one theme to the next and from one decade to the next (Alice is baby for a long time, suddenly she becomes a teenager and maybe 40 pages later she is 26!)
8.: Walli gets clean in the space of one year with the help of his sister who has no clue of drugs....
9.: And (for me one of the most shocking moments in the book) Ethel still loved Fitz?????? Why have I never read about this in the other two books????
10.: Some stories have much in common; Dimka's and George's love to the women they work together and also the endings of these stories....

Anirban Thumbs up in a big way for Point 4 and 7!!!

Janet Schizomaan wrote: "1.: Just three occupation groups; politics, journalists and popstars
2.: Some important historical events haven't been mentioned (moonlanding, Afghanistan. ..)
3.: Everybody made a big career in di..."

Well said.

Robbi Leah  Freeman Left out way to much history. Seemed very rushed

Shlomo It started very focused on the early 1960's, with long stretches discussing the Berlin Wall and the Cuban Missile Crisis, then it zooms past other decades.

While I can understand the not mentioning of everything, the Moon Landing had to be there.

The politics. He beat us over our heads with "liberals are good, conservatives are bad". Plus I highly doubt (but it is not that inconceivable) that the Earl would say something like "Ethel wanted to promote Socialist values yet England is still England". Plus the one sentence throwaway line about the US having nothing to do with the Cold War ending.

The characters we did not get to see: What happened to Billy Williams? What happened to Erik? Not even a passing mention this book. Plus why did Ty Gwynn become a College?

Some characters died and some simply... what? Grigory was dying, Maud died, what about the rest of the original characters?

No payoffs: The Franck family reunites, but we do not see what happens to anyone else. Instead of showing us George Jakes and family enjoying Obama's election (and its historical value us immense, I'll give you that) why not show us what happened to Dimka and family after the Cold War? Or any other characters for that matter.

Diane This book really felt like he "phoned it in", that is, wrote it in a rush. It didn't feel like he had his heart in it and the writing itself was awful. Not his usual at all. The danger of starting with too many families that ended up with far too many descendants to track properly and by the time you're onto the third and fourth generations, you have lost touch completely with the first generations who were the best written characters anyway.

Reginaldo Almeida The political bias was totally unnecessary, and he gave too much emphasis on American history of the time, and nothing about Britain or France, where, in this time, so much so as Ronald Reagan, we indeed saw very relevant players, like Thatcher or De Gaulle. How about the dictatorships in Latin America, frontally sponsored by the US Government?

Linda It was a huge book with huge topics. I loved the whole series, and yes, I did feel there were drawbacks, but overall I think he did a terrific job. I thought he tied the ends up rather well, remembering that in real life nothing totally "ends".

I think my big complaint was the amount of sex, or should I say the descriptions in detail. I have an imagination of my own and didn't feel that I needed to be fed such descriptions.

I also wondered about the moon landing omission, but the space program was mentioned.

I wondered if the book had to be edited due to the length. I think it was over 1000 pages as it was already. But, to argue with myself on that point, why leave in all the sex and omit the important moon landing event.

A lot more could have been said about most things and world leaders, but, enough is enough and I loved the book.

message 9: by Mico (last edited Nov 09, 2014 06:38AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Mico Orda Mainly sex and cheating went too much, which could've been used for character development.

Also, Europe was underused.

The history just merely became a background in this book. Most of the characters' stories were about their love stories, they weren't much of a main players on the historical events. The author could've expanded Rebecca's role as a main player on the Berlin Wall storyline(and flesh it out) and same with George Jakes, which was wasted on his love life and running circles with Bobby Kennedy, instead of being a key player on Civil Rights.

On the other hand, I really enjoyed Jasper Murray and Tania Dvorkin(Best POV's, horribly underused), compelling characters, their storylines has a lot of cinematic, gripping moments and their presence reminds me the magic of the first two books.

message 10: by Sandi (new) - rated it 1 star

Sandi I think his heart wasn't in the third of a trilogy. Why the emphasis on race?Unless pressured by the current push to reincarnate racism as America's #1 problem. I'm amazed at how many 5-star reviews on Goodreads. The 12 years of Reagan-Bush were portrayed differently than they were, if at all. And the Moon. We started our journey in the 60's. Glenn's trip was the first, with everyone glued to radios and TV. So much wonderful history left out, and then a fiction for the last third. So disappointing!

Ellen 1. All the characters and their descendants evolved into Atheism and seemed soulless
2. The bad mouthing of Reagan and HWBush
3. The glorifying of JCarter
4. No mention of Reagan's credit in the release of the Iranian hostages
5. Stereotypical bad mouthing the the South but no mention of riots in Boston over school segregation and bussing of students
6. No mention of rising terrorism in Middle East
7. No mention of Olympic boycotting by US and USSR under Carter
8. I think the moon landing wasn't mentioned bc no characters worked for NASA but the "race to space" was certainly a Cold War issue that should have been addressed
9. The amateurish dialogue
10. The whole George Jakes story made me queasy and tired
11. MThatcher never existed and JPII was made pope for political reasons regarding Poland only???
12. Gratuitous sex

I was terribly disappointed.

Drtaxsacto A very good list - in part why the trilogy went downhill from the first volume.

Jerry Loved book 1, liked book 2, could not finish book 3.

Drtaxsacto I agree with your conclusion - Book one was fascinating, Book 2 a bit less and Book 3 a total waste of time. What bothered me is that he got some basic history wrong or interpreted it in a way which I found unconvincing. I lived some of those events but I think the list offered by Ellen is a partial list of my concerns about the third volume.

 Northern Light Have to agree with the comments made by others. The sex scenes were cringe-worthy in their details. The omission of key characters from earlier and no mention of key events and people definitely weakened the book

message 16: by Jean (new)

Jean I just finished it and I agree with most of the comments.
Compared to the two previous books, this one is terribly disapointing.

The flaws can be rgrouped in three categories: omissions, historical dishonesty, weak characters.

Apart from those mentionned, how about the Falklands, the minors' strike, the Troubles and the whole Thatcher era? He has a British family, but they seem to do nothing but discussing politics as if they were reading press editorials to one another.
He has a German family but we hear nothing about Meihof-Baader. There is a Soviet family, but nothing about psychiatric hospitals or Afghanistan. The Cuban characters could have been used to mention Angola or Grenada.

But that's the author's choice. The historical bias is more problematic.
The Republican party is said to be against civic rights, which is not true. Democrats were, but bad democrats are only sometimes mentionned as such, while Republicans are vaguely presented as segregationists. This is just false.

Goldwater is said to be a racist, which is more than debatable (he opposed the 64 bill on strictly constitutional grounds).

Kennedy's "Ich bin ein Berliner" is said to be a major speech, but Reagan's "tear down this wall" is said to be insignificant. Reagan's role in the end of the Cold war is dismissed in one paragraph. Nothing about the disarmament summits, the assistance to the Afghan resistance or any of that. Follett has a character in the State department and another in the CIA. He could have used them, but CIA agents are nothing but a bunch of psychopaths.

In the two first volumes, the historical research was much better, even impressive, and Follett's bias could be discussed in an interesting way. In this one, historical dishonesty goes too far.

The characters
Never a strong point in Follett's books, but it's not necessarily a problem for historical novels which take place in distant times. The characters are used as vehicules for a kind of historical chess game. In books 1 and 2 of the Century Trilogy, it works relatively well, but as you approach the contemporary period, it becomes unbearable.

The American characters are the worst. Apart from having sex, they seem incapable of doing anything but reciting political talking points between them. With the British characters, they're all part of the jet-set. They are all rich, smart, handsome, and very generous intellectually. Actually, they behave quite cynically (Jasper complains because he has to take a taxi, Maria manipulates Cam, later she dumps her partner for career reasons, etc.) but I'm not even sure Follett sees it that way.

The Germans and Russians are more interesting. He should have dumped the Brits and the Americains.

Where are Billy Williams and Erik indeed ? Especially Erik, who was very promising as a nazi turned communist.

Finally, the epilogue: does Follett really believes that the XXth century is a long march leading to Obama's election?

The sex scenes are not very useful indeed, at least not all of them.

Follett is good when he tells a spy story, or a historical episode in small details (the Cuban missile crisis is not bad, for instance), but overall, "Edge of Eternity" is just not very good. And what with the title?

message 17: by Nicolás (last edited May 11, 2015 07:47AM) (new)

Nicolás Betanzo Macías Erik von Ulrich does not appear at all, not even a phrase to justify his absence.
I wrote to Mr. Follet about this, and he replied to me that he did not put Erik because he thought nobody would be interested in him, and posts like mine from other readers had indicated that he was wrong, and he was sorry.

However, despite my insistence on knowing just how Erik, writer silent.

There has been a serious gaffe from writer.
How he could think that nobody would be interested in Erik? Erik was not an average character, he was the only son of Maud and only brother Carla, and he had own chapters in previous book. We agree that he did not appear in third book to give prominence to others, but at least Mr. Follet could have written a sentence, said or thought by Maud, or Carla, or any German character, that illustrate us what would have happened with Erik. Does he died before 1961, he was assigned to a remote town, he reconsidered and fled to the western world...? We know absolutely nothing about him!

In Robert von Ulrich case, for example, Maud did mention that he had died. Robert was the second cousin of her husband… but she said nothing of her own son? OH, COME ON, MR. FOLLET! So you see, it is very strange and unnatural that none of family did mention or remind to him.

The other observation is that the book ends with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, even when just two years after comes about the USSR dissolution, a historical fact equally or more important in the XX Century. I miss a final chapter before the epilogue, about this. The writer takes up too much in the 60s, even an entire chapter is devoted to the reactions of the different characters with the death of JFK, and he did not advance the plot, he could have avoided it, in favour of a final chapter about the USSR dissolution.

Emmeline Joy I was frustrated with the poor plot lines. Seemed like lots of (biased) historical 'information' without a good story using his characters. There was little to no conclusion on some storylines. For example, what happened to Tanya and Vasili? As little as I bonded with the characters, I would still have liked some closure.

message 19: by Piet (new) - rated it 3 stars

Piet I have the impression that Mr Follett had other people write this book.
He was responsible for the set up and overall plan, of course, but he had a bunch of young people write it for him. He couldn't find the time to produce so many pages, do his research etc.
He surely wanted to please a younger reading public but lost some respect with the older ones, I am afraid.

message 20: by Niels (last edited May 23, 2015 08:03AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Niels Bugge One of the main things that struck me was how boring the book became after the Kennedy era, because nothing interesting is happening between the Kennedy assasination and the fall of the Berlin Wall.
1) Eastern Europe: Did the Cold War end because of slooow economic warfare, or was it simply because people got so bored by the stagnation of the soviet system? Or is it just me as a reader?
2) Civil rights movement: This story-line lost all steam after the early superficial victories and left the characters in limbo until the Obama postscript
3) Rockstars: Why should I bother about their self-inflicted problems with drugs and whoring around?

After the depiction of the rise of Naziism in the second book, I actually looked forward to see Follets take on the zeitgeist and historical developments in Western Europe during the later Cold War: The death of the youth rebellion, oil crisis, rise of environmentalism etc., and the psychological effect of the ever-present risk of nuclear holocaust.
It's like "Cuban Missile Crisis over? Yay! Now the problem will go away by itself in a couple of decades!" while in Western Europe it was more like "Omg, the US and USSR will not back down before they've taken all of us to hell, and now fallout from Chernobyl start raining down on us"

Elisa Santos I´ve read this recently and hae to say that i too misse what has happened to Erik - this was a big missus on the author´s part. Also, what happend to Billy Williams? And what became os the Dvorkin family, after the Berlin Wall was taken down?

I agree with former posters when they say that the 60´s and Americaa played a huge partin this book, whereas Europe and USSR almost seemd like support actors for America. Big things happened tehre, for sure, but so did in Europe and Russia.

I think that the OP said that he didn´t knw that Etel still loved Fitz - i think this it fitted in the plot and it´s plausible.

Also, the numerb of sex cenes that added nothing to charater development also was a point i had taken. There could have been a lot more said - moon landing, etc - tht did not fit in the final cut.

But all, in all, i loved the book, although the things that were left out would make a 4th book.

Thera Lewis I enjoyed the majority of the book. That being said, the major political bias was completely unnecessary. I understand, many of the characters work in politics, but I find it very hard to believe that every single one of them leaned in the same political direction.
And the sex scenes that led to nothing were a little obnoxious.
Otherwise, not a bad book. Not my favorite of the series, however.

message 23: by Lisa (new) - rated it 2 stars

Lisa Mushnick I agree with so many of the other posters. This book was not up to the other Follett books. My biggest problem with this is the characters are way too young to be in the positions they hold. A 23 year old assistant to Kruschev? George, right out of law school in RFK's inner circle? etc. Follett just had to fit these characters into the cold war era. Well it does not work for me. I'm glad that he showed the Kennedy's to be far from perfect. I am a liberal, but never bought into Kennedy being such a saint. Johnson never got the credit he deserved, but Follett did elude to his clout with congress.
I also agree that there is too much sex. I'm not a prude, but these characters are falling in love at first sight. Spare me. I could go on and on and I doubt I'll even finish the book. It does not cut the mustard.

Alisa I have to agree with many of the opinions here. I loved Book 1, enjoyed Book 2, and while Book 3 started out fairly promising, I have now sadly concluded, after the detailed and boring account of the Cuban Missile Crisis, that this book is not worth the time and effort. I have skimmed through further pages at random just to get a gist of what else goes on and I'm giving up on it :-( Why?
a) The characters from the other books - particularly book 2 - barely get a look-in or are just left out completely - i.e. Erik! As for the "new" characters, they are so so one-dimensional that I couldn't care what happens to them.
b) It's unrealistic! Follett seriously does not expect us to believe that a university graduate can immediately get a job as a lawyer to Bobby Kennedy or that Kruschev would give a 23-yr-old the responsibility of overseeing the delivery of nuclear weapons to Cuba? Come on! I know it's fiction but this is just nonsense!
c) As many others said before, the number of irrelevant sex scenes. All the characters seem to be sex-mad, even 13-yr-old Beep Dewar. The Cuban Missile Crisis seemed to serve as an excuse for the characters to have sex with people they normally wouldn't have done just in case they die the next day! Also, I'm not prudish by any means but how often do we have to keep hearing about the female characters' protruding nipples?
d) The dialogue is, quite frankly, awful. It's so embarrassingly elementary. I seriously wonder if he actually wrote this himself. Bearing in mind that Follett is a renowned author of international bestsellers, you have to expect a lot better than this.
I'm sad to be giving up as I really enjoyed the others and had high hopes for this one as well but trying to finish this one would be a chore, not a pleasure.

message 25: by Monica (new)

Monica Gurdjian Piet wrote: "I have the impression that Mr Follett had other people write this book.
He was responsible for the set up and overall plan, of course, but he had a bunch of young people write it for him. He couldn..."

I agree. A writer of Mr. Follett's talent would have devoted more time on character development and getting his history right... and probably not relied on all that sex to draw readers in.

Sud666 (1) The liberal outlook of this book was over the top and bordering on stupidity.
(2) The awkward and sometime gratuitous sex scenes were just unnecessary.
(3) Not a single character did I like.
(4) The fact that almost 95% of the women in the story were adulterous retard sluts. A VERY negative take on females
(5) The spineless men who fell in love with them were also annoying
(6) The trope of the US Army soldiers in Vietnam ALL being portrayed as rapist, baby killing war criminals.
(7) Did I mention that not a single conservative/Republican is portrayed as good or even historically important? The only ones described are crooks, weirdo's or some other MSNBC clone of what their historical significance was
(8) Where is Jimmy Carter? That buffoon is conveniently left out of the story
(9) The jump from Regan to Obama seemed rushed and forced. Where was Bush? Clinton? G.W.?
(10) 9/11 seems to have never happened.

I could go on and on...I liked the 1st two books and despised this one.

message 27: by Monica (new)

Monica Gurdjian I found that the book lacked balance in respect to the historical events the author chose to explore. I am sure the narrative would not have suffered without all these sex scenes. In the end I felt that Follett (or his team of writers) just ran out of steam and the book was rushed to what was considered its natural conclusion.

message 28: by Matt (new)

Matt I agree with the bias when it comes to liberals vs conservative but the book was also too heavily biased over the East-West divide as well in my view. It's a very binary story of goodies and baddies where many East Europeans are little more than cartoon villains. I would have liked to have seen 'the other side' humanised a bit more and given more life. Follett sort of did it with Dimka but even then he could not resist the temptation to have Dimka recant everything he ever believed in to tie in with Follett's narrative of good liberalism always triumphing. In the end all the character's we are supposed to sympathise with end up having basically the same world view which is also that of Follett's.

I also just need to join the moaning about the sex scenes, it felt like a male and a female character were incapable of being in the same room together without sleeping with each other.

message 29: by Monica (new)

Monica Gurdjian Matt wrote: "I agree with the bias when it comes to liberals vs conservative but the book was also too heavily biased over the East-West divide as well in my view. It's a very binary story of goodies and baddie..."

... and for me that net result of this was that I was unable to engage with any of these characters.

message 30: by Douglas (new)

Douglas Grant I cannot get past the omission of the Russian invasion of Afghanistan. Actual time spent in the jungles of Vietnam was one very brief chapter.

Someone else mentioned the absence of Billy Williams. I found this off putting as well, considering he was the character used in the prologue of the very first book used to introduce us to these interconnected families. It was a strange creative decision on Follet's part.

message 31: by Jean (new)

Jean Ken Follett should do the right thing : scrap this book and rewrite it entirely. It dimply doesnt live up to volumes 1 and 2.
A bit like Highlander II.

message 32: by Boris (new) - added it

Boris  Tucto Bello We need a 4th book.

message 33: by Mark (new)

Mark Billy Twice started out the trilogy and it would have been nice to see him somehow involved with the finish. But somewhere along the way he was simply no longer mentioned. Disappointing that he, along with Erik just were dropped.

Luzysun I missed Billy too. I was expecting the moment he would be mencionated, but it never came out.
However, I have to say I enjoyed the book a lot. In fact, it's now, while I am reading other opinions, that I realize perhaps it's not so good as I think.
Probably the trilogy went too big to be handled, even for Mr. Ken Follet (never thought I could say something like that).

message 35: by Jim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jim Swike I enjoyed the history intermingled into the storyline and characters. I would have enjoyed if he stayed in a period longer, such as JFK, RFK, etc.

message 36: by Hans (new) - rated it 3 stars

Hans I think it is a good novel and nothing else. He use the History in benefit of the story as he wants to keep you interested. Like a "cliffhanger" on TV. But it isnt a source of historic information at all.

message 37: by Jim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jim Swike The history was better in the first two books, JFK, RFK period for example needed more story line.

message 38: by Rob (new)

Rob Benham I popped in to find out what happened to Billy. I'd assumed my memory must have failed me, but it seems he just faded away. Odd.

I'm puzzled by the relationship between Fitz and Ethel. I rather liked the red hot flirtation when she was young and determinedly resisting being subservient, but was disappointed in Fitz's willingness to keep his distance when she wouldn't accept the role of kept woman. It just didn't strike true. A relationship like that just does not cool so easily. Then the end scene, in a corridor. Ethel at death's door and Fitz not far behind. A mutual declaration of a love that's lasted a lifetime, all over in a few lines. I wanted so much more.

I know to my cost the difficulty in writing a sizeable novel. One can be deeply involved for all too longer period, but then, rather like life, find oneself utterly distracted by new players and horizons. It's so hard to draw the different facets together meaningfully. Also, it's often hard to kill one's creations. I was saddened to hear of Maud's death, despite her having become a rather misty figure. I wonder how Ken felt about her. I wonder why he thought Fitz would go into very specific danger to visit the grave of someone he'd turned his back on so callously.

Talking of such danger. Lev makes a high profile flight into a country where he's wanted for murder. No statute of limitations there, I'd imagine. Perhaps his brother son/nephew had enough clout to keep him free, but as a pilot that flew the Berlin air corridors for some time, I know the regimen was not one to be trifled with. We'd sooner fly through storms than venture outside the 10 mile wide airway. I feel Ken conveyed the crushingly depressive atmosphere very clearly, but enter it just to say goodbye? Not the action of a man that had been gravely sociopathic all his life.

It's hard to imagine where to cut dividing lines between fiction set in an historical framework. It's a monumental task and not one I would tackle. What to include, or what to leave out? When to swap to fiction, and how much history can be woven in? Huge task. Probably another couple of thousand pages would fill in the gaps.

message 39: by Erling (new)

Erling Hillestad I just finished the trilogy, and think although Edge of Eternity is not as good as the first, I liked it as much as the second. I probably liked the last parts, in the 70s and 80s the most.

Some of the criticisms above I think is too simple. There are a lot of sex scenes, but Follett always have them in his books, probably because it makes more people read them. If you want to read Follett you have to get used to it. Also, people want more from certain periods, but as the book is 1100 pages, you really can't add more. Then he would have to write a fourth book, which I almost think was his plan originally.

He probably should have used less characters, and maybe some different ones. Lily Franck was poorly used, and Rebecca and Walli just disappeared. Jasper Murray was not that interesting and hard to sympathize with, and Dave Williams should not have been a main character, at least not as a pop star. Probably Evie Williams or Beep DeWar would have been better, and Walli could have been in a band. George Jakes and the Dvorkin twins were excellent characters in my opinion, and Cam turned out OK. Lily I liked, but was hardly in the book. But I do think we learnt from the first book that 8 characters is more than enough. Also, I wish more of the last names from the first books, especially Peshkov, but also von Ullrich or Fitzherbert were kept. Also, I did miss Erik. But I was happy that Grigori got a proper ending, the reunition with Lev was so touching.

I did think the book covered a lot of history, so I can't really complain about that. If they skipped some of the pop music, they might add more from Vietnam, Afghanistan, maybe China under Mao, Thatcher, Munich, Falklands Islands...but I don't know if that would make me enjoy the book more.

I read the whole trilogy in 7 weeks, it was a great read I think!

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