“This is amazing,” Volodya said. “He’s the President, yet he has to make excuses all the time for what he does!”
“Something like that,” Woody said. “We call it democracy.”
― Ken Follett, Winter of the World
Once in a while a book comes along that grips you entirely, making it impossible to concentrate on other mundane things. After long this book has done exactly that. Absolutely unputdownable!
The characters are so well etched, their stories intermingling to perfection. Follett gives such a brilliant insight into the psyche of so many people in different geographies of the world and at different levels. Indeed, a wonderful read this trilogy by Follett had been.
This series deals with the economic, political and social incidents that marked the last century. The wars, the cold wars, the conflict between communism and democracy, fights for the civil rights, Revolutions in different parts of the world etc.
Follett tells you the complete history with such an ease, without making it boring, via knitting the characters so beautifully and perfectly. The series shows how enormous and wide-ranging were the effects of the incidents that took place in the last century.
The historical background is brilliantly researched. The details and the language will mesmerize you completely! With this series, he brings a world to us, that we always thought we knew but then, it will never be the same again.
As usual I wouldn't get into the details too much and make it boring. Will just try to pen down the gist
The 3 books, as I mentioned above are:
1. Fall of the Giants: The first book in the trilogy! I must say, it laid the base so brilliantly and made me hooked not just to it but also to it's successors. This book is an epic of love, hatred, war and revolution. The novel follows five families (with interlinked characters) through the world-shaking incidents of the First World War and the Russian Revolution in vast. The novel leaves you with nothing less than imagining the whole drama and leaving you with a momentous effect!
2. Winter of the worlds: This one begins exactly where the first book ends, with the same five interrelated families which are American, German, Russian and English. It deals with enormous social, political, and economic turmoil. All this begins with the rise of the Third Reich, via the Spanish Civil War. This book completely deals with the incidents of second world war. It tells about the struggles of the people in those times and also, the unfolding of the incidents at a higher levels.
It covers the catastrophe and cataclysms that marked the mid of the century.
3. Edge of Eternity: The third book in the trilogy... And I must say it is such an extensive and passionate closure to The Century Trilogy.
Throughout the series, Follett has tried to display the life of its characters and has followed the destiny of the five families. This book is about the enormous social, political, and economic turmoil in the later decades of the century, which covered civil rights moments, mass political movements, cold war between US and Russia, a war over the small countries, a war between communism and democracy. The book also gives a sweeping description about the Vietnam war, the Berlin Wall, the turmoil in countries like Hungary and Czech and the Cuban Missile Crisis
The best part what I liked about the book is the way Follett has described the fall of the berlin wall! He kind of forces a surge of emotions to erupt within the readers. For me, these emotions erupted in the form of tears. And I also like the way, Follett started the book with the Civil Right fights for blacks in US and he so beautifully ends it at Obama becoming the president of the state. It's a turbulent rollercoaster yet a beautiful journey that Follett takes you through this book. And he ends with such an amazing words by Shakespeare:
Time's glory is to calm contending kings,
To unmask falsehood and bring truth to light,
To stamp the seal of time in aged things,
To wake the morn of sentinel the night,
To wrong the wronger till he render right,
To ruinate proud buildings with thy hour
And smear with dust their glittering golden towers.
-William Shakespeare, The Rape of Lucrece
Go ahead, read it, You definitely will not be disappointed.