Book Review – Winter of the World – Ken Follett
▪ Book: Winter of the World
▪ Author: Ken Follett
▪ Genre: Historical Fiction
▪ Year of Release: 2012
▪ Read 941-page hardcover edition in May 2014.
In this second book of the Century Trilogy, we pick up about a decade after the first book left off. WWI is behind us, however the characters and their children from book one are now dealing with new European and world-wide crises, including the Spanish Civil War, Nazism in Germany, and WWII. Several families and characters from the Soviet Union, Germany, Britain, and the USA are dealing with the fallout of these events, and are trying to live their lives in difficult and stressful conditions.
As with the first book of his Century Trilogy, author Ken Follett has done another masterful job at bringing a lot of historical fact and detail into a fictional story involving fascinating and interesting characters.
The characters continue to develop, mature and evolve throughout the story arcs, and weave in and out with each other and across the continents. Follett does an exceptional job at balancing action and battle scenes with a lot of romance, sensuality, and character development, which is key. One example is the character of Daisy, who has several personal observations about mid-way through the book, and the romance behind her thinking is written superbly by Follett. We grow to really care about these diverse set of characters, or we grow to really despise a few of them as well. Either way, our emotional reactions show that Follett has done his job in bringing these people to life in the storyline.
Furthermore, the fact that some characters change and evolve and have different thinking patterns that change with the historical times is a testament to the way things happen in real life. Follett’s ability to keep things fresh and changing in this way is also impressive.
Although the scenes themselves are exciting, and we see our cast of characters interacting with each other across nations and with leaders and diplomats, one small issue from the first book persists, which is that there are a lot of flukes and conveniences which are written into the storyline to ensure the characters continue to meet each other again and again, and interact with the right people at the right time.
However, this is a small complaint, and overall, this is another exciting, fast-paced read, and when a book is the length that this one is, having it still be a fast-read is a compliment to the author!
Overall: 4 stars out of 5 stars.