In this 1,000-page book, our friend Mr. Follett summarizes the First World War from the point of view of some different countries. We have several characters from Germany, Britain, Russia and the States that meet each other at the beginning of the story and, after thinking that the conflict would be solved diplomatically, they will finally have to fight on different sides and become enemies.
Not only does the book address the war itself, but also other important issues of that time such as the Russian Revolution and the suffrage movement in Britain. We even have a love story between a Welsh woman and a German officer that must live separated from each other although they are married, so the reader is taken from the Eastern to the Western front and to the main countries involved in the war thanks to all these characters.
First of all, I have found the book very informative, and it’s because Ken Follett has written a very gripping story mixed with the exact dose of historical references, just enough not to get you bored. In fact, after reading several books by him, I have realized that the previous novels have been a preparation for this Trilogy of the Century: Fall of giants began exactly like A place called freedom, in the coal mines of Wales, and there some female characters who are very similar to the ones in The man from St. Petersburg.
The problem is that we liked all those novels written in the eighties and nineties, indeed, but now the readers would like to have further evolution, not just in the number of pages, but also in the characters. It’s OK to have some good and strong ones, but it would be even better if we didn’t know that those good characters were always going to be successful and, of course, they wouldn’t die in the war. We have read George R. R. Martin’s books and now we want some excitement in our reading!
So if you like Ken Follett’s novels and you are not looking for more, just read this book.