I have bought more books in the last week than I have in a long time. Last Tuesday I was excited about the new Ken Follett, which I managed to finish in under a week! Today I picked up Honor Bound by Raffaele Sollecito, the anticipated Amanda Knox boyfriend memoir (loving it already), The Map of the Sky by Felix Palma (a sequel to the fabulous The Map of Time that I didn’t even know existed), Salman Rushdie’s memoir Joseph Anton, and 2030 by Albert Brooks (for October book club). So I decided I’m going to hold off on review copies the next few weeks and plow through these fun reads.
In Fall of Giants, Follett portrays the Great War in a huge and engrossing novel. I found his depiction of WWII in the second Century Trilogy book even more captivating. Here, the next generation is trying to learn something from their parents’ experience during an international war to survive the rise of fascism. It’s been two years since the first installment, and though the characters certainly weren’t fresh in my mind, there was a familiarity when I reencountered them. Their children take center stage, and through their associations, it demonstrates how small the world really is. From Russia, to Germany and England, to America, these families offer unique perspectives to the conflict over the course of nearly two decades.
There is so much just leading up to the outbreak of war that sets the stage for the horrors to come. The rise of Hitler (obviously), the Spanish Civil War (did you know how bad the Communists botched that dispute?), and fascist aggression in London (I hadn’t realized it was as much of a concern as Nazi invasion) are all factors in the grand scheme. Then the entire calamity is rendered wonderfully, from the European theater, to the Pacific, nuclear development, and espionage. There are some brilliant anecdotes, like when a Russian couple browses the Sears Roebuck catalogue in awe and wonder. Admittedly, the writing is not exceptional, and the in-depth political discourses can be dry, but for 900+ pages, it’s a quick read (got it done in less than a week). A must for historical fiction lovers and Follett fans; I might consider him the Uris or Michener of our generation.
Previously reviewed: Fall of Giants by Ken Follett
Recommend: Armageddon by Leon Uris for a great fictional account of the division of Berlin post-war.