Fall of Giants

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Fall of Giants
Fall of Giants.jpg
First edition cover
Author Ken Follett
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Series Century Trilogy
Genre Historical Novel
Publisher Pan Macmillan
Publication date
Media type Print (paperback and hardcover) Ebook Audiobook.
Pages Hardcover, 1008 pp
ISBN 0-525-95165-2
Followed by Winter of the World

Fall of Giants is a historical novel by Welsh-born author Ken Follett. It is the first in the Century Trilogy, and follows five interrelated families throughout the course of the 20th century. The first book covers notable events such as World War I, the Russian Revolution, and the struggle for women's suffrage.[1] The sequel Winter of the World covers World War II and was published on September 18, 2012. The third book, Edge of Eternity, covers the Cold War and was published in 2014.

Plot summary[edit]

The novel begins with the thirteen-year-old Billy Williams, nicknamed Billy Twice, going to work his first day in the coal mine underneath the fictional Welsh town of Aberowen in 1911.

Three years later, the main story begins. Edward "Fitz" Fitzherbert, Earl Fitzherbert, who maintains a country estate in Aberowen and licenses the land on which the coal mine is built, hosts a party for many powerful people around the world. His guests include:

  • Lady Maud Fitzherbert, Fitz's sister, who is far more liberal than her conservative brother.
  • Walter von Ulrich, a German nobleman and a former schoolmate of Fitz's. He and Maud begin at the party to act on the mutual attraction they have felt for years.
  • Graf (Count) Robert von Ulrich, Walter's Austrian homosexual cousin.
  • Gus Dewar, a highly educated American who is also a close adviser to President Woodrow Wilson.
  • Bea Fitzherbert, Fitz's wife, a Russian Princess.
  • King George V, King of the British Empire.
  • Mary of Teck, wife of King George V.

Major characters introduced after the party include Grigori and Lev Peshkov, two Russian orphans who work in a locomotive factory and have personal reasons to hold a grudge against Princess Bea and the rest of the Russian royal family. Grigori and Lev's father was executed by Bea's aristocratic family for alleged improper grazing of cattle on Bea's family's land.

The overall theme of the novel revolves around common people trying, and many times succeeding, in throwing off the yokes so often placed on them by a society (largely focused on Britain and Russia) dominated by the landed aristocracy.

The characters and their extended families find their fortunes changing for the better and for the worse due to both their interactions with each other and the effects of the First World War.

Critical reception[edit]

The book received generally favourable to mixed reviews, lauding the extensive historical research that has been intertwined into the narrative.[2][3]


  1. ^ "Fall of Giants". Ken Follett. 
  2. ^ William Sheehan (2010-09-19). ""Fall of Giants," the first installment of Ken Follett's The Century Trilogy". Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-12-31. 
  3. ^ Roger Boylan (2010-09-30). "Last Monarch Standing". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-12-31.