Well, I'm finally done this one! It took a little longer than normal. Being sick doesn't help either. I rarely get sick but when I do ,its bad.
I thoroughly enjoyed Ken Follett's epics, Pillars of the Earth and World Without End. Though they are ridiculously long, the pages flew, so I was eager to read and review Follett's latest epic, Fall of Giants which promises to be the first in The Century Trilogy.
The thing is 1000 pages long and 4 inches thick, but when you've got an expert storyteller weaving an enthralling tale, you never want it to end anyway. I became so engrossed that I couldn't fall as sleep after a few chapters as per my usual routine. What is it that makes Follett so consistently readable? In Fall of Giants it's because the book is so well researched ( the period is early 20th century especially WWI) with information on coal mining, trade unions, women's suffrage, protocols and manners of the minor royalty, politics, government, revolution and war. The story flows from this rich period but the riveting characters are at the forefront. Even the largely unsympathetic characters, such as the Earl, are made at least understandable because Follett thoughtfully portrays their motivations. There are few if any completely good or evil characters here, as it should be. (Though Follett seems none too fond of Russians and priests - be they Catholic, Anglican or Orthodox!)
In the past, I have criticized authors that I believe would benefit from more editing (e.g., Steven King, John Irving) so why don't I find Follett's book to be too long? Because there are no slow spots, no political point pushing, and no self-indulgent purple prose. As I mentioned, this book is part of a trilogy, but it is very much a stand alone novel which makes it all the more satisfying to read. Gotta give Ken a thumbs up on this one. Maybe it will be a TV series like Pillars some day!