Fall of Giants by Ken Follett
by Shirley Ayres
Covering a period between June 22, 1911, and January 1924, this first book of Follett’s Century Trilogy follows the history of five families. When the book begins, it is the 13th birthday of Billy Williams of Wales (nick-named Billy Twice by the miners) who enters the coal mines for the first time since leaving school the day before. His employment in the mines is expected, and his income needed by his family.
The first book of the trilogy follows the history of five families before, during and immediately following World War I. The families are: American Gus Dewar, Russian brothers Lev and Grigori Peshkov, German Walter von Ulrich, Welsh siblings Billy and Ethel Williams, and English mine owners brother and sister Earl Fitz and Lady Maud Fitzherbert. All these characters interact despite their geographic and economic differences. Political actions show the lead up to and the actual fighting of World War I.
I love the way Follett writes. His carefully accurate research is the envy of any historian, using real people and their actual words during one of the twentieth century's most bloody times in Europe. I look forward to the next two books of Follett’s trilogy.