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Fall Of Giants

Posted in Books, Reviews by Suganth on March 11, 2011

This first book in an intended trilogy is certainly an epic both in terms of plot and number of pages but could do with tighter editing

Like his Pillars Of The Earth, Ken Follett’s Fall Of Giants, the first book in what he intends to be The Century Trilogy, is an epic. Follett sets this tale in the midst of World War I and with five families that are culturally and geographically different from one another – a coal miner and his sister, an Earl who’s having an affair with the coal miner’s sister and his sister who is in love with a German nobleman, two diametrically opposite brothers in Russia and an American diplomat – he comes up with a page-turner that is riveting for most parts. The novel begins with the Williams, a family of miners in the mining town of Aberowen, England. The sequences in these episodes seem right out of How Green Is My Valley. The narrative gains momentum once Follett establishes each character and once it enters WWI, it courses along from event to another without major letdowns (the plot grinds to a halt especially in the ‘sex scenes’ that Follett introduces time and again). Follett never sides with any country and if at all he takes sides, it is with characters that are liberalists and that isn’t a fault per se. Part of the book’s pleasures lies in how Follett places in the midst of important historical events and characters – think Forrest Gump – throughout the novel. So, you find characters playing a role in the Battle of the Somme, working under President Woodrow Wilson and acting as an adviser to the Emperor Kaiser Wilhelm II. But the book certainly could be made tighter; it is almost 900 pages long and could easily lose 150 pages with not much of the narrative lost.

Copyright ©2011 Chennai Times

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