Winter of the World: Book Two of the Century Trilogy

Winter of the World: Book Two of the Century Trilogy

Picking up where Fall of Giants, the first novel in the extraordinary Century Trilogy, left off, Winter of the World follows its five interrelated families—American, German, Russian, English, and Welsh—through a time of enormous social, political, and economic turmoil, beginning with the rise of the Third Reich, through the great dramas of World War II, and into the beginning of the long Cold War.

Carla von Ulrich, born of German and English parents, finds her life engulfed by the Nazi tide until daring to commit a deed of great courage and heartbreak . . . . American brothers Woody and Chuck Dewar, each with a secret, take separate paths to momentous events, one in Washington, the other in the bloody jungles of the Pacific . . . . English student Lloyd Williams discovers in the crucible of the Spanish Civil War that he must fight Communism just as hard as Fascism . . . . Daisy Peshkov, a driven social climber, cares only for popularity and the fast set until war transforms her life, while her cousin Volodya carves out a position in Soviet intelligence that will affect not only this war but also the war to come.

Details

  • Series: The Century Trilogy (Book 2)
  • Hardcover: 960 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley; First Edition edition (September 18, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525952923
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525952923
  • ASIN: 0525952926
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.8 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (6,882 customer reviews)
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3 comments

  1. I’d like to begin by saying why I was able to read and write a review of a 925 page book on the day of its release. I preordered this book a couple of months ago, when the release date was Sep 11th. I was sent the book, received it on Sep 12th and spent a few days reading it. When I went to Amazon to post my review, I found the release date had been moved back to Sep 18th and that I couldn’t post my review. So, here it is now! I’m rather curious how many other readers also received their book a week early?

    Anyway, my review…
    Ken Follett’s new novel, “Winter of the World”, is the second in the planned three volume set about the history of the 20th century. Beginning in 1933, Follett brings his huge cast of characters along from the years up to the end of the Great War. To talk about the plot of the new book is impossible. Way too many characters and too many plot points. BUT, Follett’s such a good writer that he brings the reader up to date with ALL his characters. Follett gives most of his characters enough nuance that few seem like caricatures.

    The interesting thing about Follett’s second book is the breadth of the coverage of the 1930’s and 40’s (and into the `50’s). Everything from the burning of the Reichstag to the T4 Euthanesia program under the Nazis, to the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the battle of Midway to the development of the atomic bomb is covered. Now, in a regular novel, the reader would think, “oh yeah, how can one character or family of characters be present at all these historic events?” But Follett has developed so many characters that what happens is not unlikely. His characters seem to merge with each other and then separate much like the designs in a kaleidoscope.Read more ›

  2. Follett is my favorite author and I have read all his books. I enjoyed the first installment in this trilogy, “The Fall of Giants” though it was not his best work. That book had a bad habit of following a character leading up to great world events, then cutting to a different character only to return to the previous one sometime after those events. I realize this is ultimately a “character story” but it’s also epic historic fiction and it seemed unnecessary. Still, I enjoyed most of the characters, felt I learned new things about the history of the period and was reasonably engrossed. I gave it 4 stars.

    “Winter of the World” repeats the same issue but has additional flaws. It picks up about a decade after the previous book. All the major characters that survived the end of the first book are still in this one, but they have been relegated to secondary characters. We never get the story from their first-person POV, like we did in “Giants.” Instead, the POV’s are now all from their various children. Which would be fine, except I felt these previous major characters had all been reduced to two dimensional archetypes. Fitz is a cliche British lord who you would have thought never had a moment of indiscretion or doubt in his life. Ethel is the wise and matronly Labor politician who seems incapable of mistakes or indiscretion. Maud is basically a straw man for the War’s impact on German women, especially those who were not disposed to follow the Fascists. Grigori, who had one of the most interesting stories in the previous book, is now devoid of any interest. He’s a whole-hearted functionary of Stalin, nothing more or less. The only character with any interesting backstory development is Lev, though I didn’t find it quite credible.Read more ›

  3. Winter of the World is volume 2 of a saga covering all of the 20th century, focusing on four interrelated families: American, British, German and Russian. Follett has done a commendable job of juggling these characters using their personal stories to lead the reader (in this volume) through the major historical events of an era running from 1933 to 1949 (the rise of Nazism to the beginning of the Cold War).
    His huge cast of characters is made up of plastic, credible humans, many of whom are capable of growing into the situations thrust upon them, and by situations that are sometimes almost too horrible for words – but are nonetheless borne out by history. Yes, these things actually happened!
    Follett leads us through the burning of the Reichstag, the Spanish civil war, Hitler’s annexation of Czechoslovakia and Poland, the Soviet-German non-aggression pact, Stalin’s mistrust of his own espionage agents and the resulting disasters, the Battle of Britain, etc. and manages to make it all close and personal! Missing however (the reason I withheld the 5th star) are the heroic rescue effort at Dunkirk, the saturation bombings (fire bombings) of places like Guernica, Dresden and Hamburg and especially, the siege of Leningrad! I’m not sure how an 872 day siege with its tremendous loss of life and unimaginable heroism escaped the author’s notice. Granted, none of his characters were there and putting them there might have been difficult. But, to leave it unmentioned?
    Clearly, covering the history of that period is an enormous project, but the enormity is no excuse for skipping events that are key to the memories the various nations involved … the carnage that was D-Day was also brushed over lightly.
    Critique notwithstanding, the book was fast-paced, exciting, and really hard to put down! I’m looking forward to the 3rd volume, but first I intend to re-read this one.

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