‘Winter Of The World’ is the second part of Ken Follett’s trilogy about the twentieth century. It is an ambitious novel, taking readers from 1933 through the Second World War to 1949. The plotting is complex with characters in the US, England, Germany and Russia who experience some of the key points of this period of history – the rise of Hitler, the Nazi euthanasia programme, the war in Europe, Pearl Harbour, war in the Pacific, the development of the atom bomb, the aftermath of war in Germany – the list could go on and on. The raft of characters and wide ranging storylines does mean that some important parts of this period of history are missed or skimmed over, but that is perfectly understandable.
The historical information in this book creates a believable backdrop for the lives and loves of the fictional characters, and is testament to the in depth research which Mr Follett must have carried out. The characters are quite well rounded and believable of themselves, although the fact that they are almost all upper class or wealthy does give a certain bias to the book; even the family which comes from a Welsh mining village is involved in politics and has MP’s amongst them. I realise that Mr Follett does this to move the plot on, but I would have preferred to read about a few more ‘ordinary’ people.
Mr Follett has a way with words which brings scenes to life; he also writes in a way which keeps the story moving at a good pace and so draws the reader into his world. The first novel in the series, ‘Fall of Giants’, which deals with the first thirty years of the last century, should be read before this novel to give an understanding of who the main characters are and where they came from, but as that is an equally well researched and well written novel reading it will be no hardship!
‘Winter Of The World’ is a novel which will be enjoyed by people with an interest in twentieth century history, and also fans of Mr Follett’s previous books. I heartily recommend it.
Winter Of The World can be found on Amazon
Ken Follett’s website
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