Sunday, November 18, 2012

Winter of the World by Ken Follett
I think I started reading Ken Follett books back in college, when my dad loaned me The Man From St. Petersburg.  Since then, I've read them all.  I've always loved Follett's mix of history, intrigue, romance, and thrills; the man can tell a story.  His epic Pillars of the Earth, on cathedral building, is one of my all time favorite reads.  Follett began a new series last year with Fall of Giants, following four sets of family/friends in four different countries - America, England, Germany, and Russia.  That story focused on the build up to the 'Great War.'  Follett intertwines his characters across continents in a thoughtful manner, building some mystery, giving some historical facts, and of course, the requisite romantic entanglements.  I loved Fall of Giants, and looked forward to the sequel Winter of the World.  Luckily, since it was about 30 books ago, it wasn't necessary to remember all the characters and all the connections.  Follett sprinkles enough of the 'old' story throughout so that one can pick it up as the story continues.  It actually begins twenty years later, as the world leads into WWII.  Once again, I learned some interesting historical background (and I thought I knew a lot about the time period!) and became engrossed in the characters' lives.  I did, however, feel that the last 100 pages were a bit rushed and not quite as well-written.  Now granted, I don't read Follett for his lyrical prose - I read him for his stories - but it got pretty choppy in the end.  With that said, a 973 page book got read in about ten days, regardless of essays to read, so I would still call it a page turner.  However, it was very large and heavy - I would recommend waiting for the paperback or doing an e-book.  And yes, I will be first in line for the final installment of the trilogy; Follett has yet to disappoint me.

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