Book Review: The Century Trilogy

A few months ago, I was fortunate enough to come across The Century Trilogy while perusing the Barnes & Noble website.

The trilogy is written by Ken Follett and currently has 2 of the 3 books published. The second book, “Winter of the World” was released just last year and is available in hardcover.

Cover of “Fall of Giants”. Book 1 of 3

The first book of the trilogy, “Fall of Giants” is a #1 New York Times Bestseller and revolves around the happenings of five families in the early twentieth century.  The families represent different countries and socio-economic backgrounds; a Welsh mining family, Russian factory workers, upper class American family, and aristocratic English and German families. As the book progresses, you discover that all of these families become interrelated through the politics and events of the Great War.

I am a huge fan of historical fiction and this quickly became my favorite book series of that genre, as well as one of my favorite book series ever. Most of the historical fiction I read concerns World War II, so I didn’t have much of the historical background knowledge I usually do when I began reading “Fall of Giants”. There wasn’t much need, however, as Ken Follett masterfully kept a beautiful balance of fiction and historical fact.

A big reason, I am a little embarrassed to say, that I started to read “Fall of Giants” was because I love the television show, Downton Abbey. This show and The Century Trilogy are not related except for the time period, yet I was pleasantly surprised to see that there were many parallels between the book and the show; lovable characters, drama and the class tensions that helped cause some of it. The difference is that, at least in my opinion, “Fall of Giants” is simply better. The book covers a much grander scope than the series that includes several families from different countries. Because of the occupations and social positions of some of the members of the 5 families, the reader is allowed a historically accurate behind-the-scenes look at the political workings of the governments involved in the first World War. Readers also experience the terrors, horrors, and heroism found in battle that occurred during the war.

“Winter of the World” cover. Book 2 of 3

The second book, “Winter of the World” is also a #1 New York Times Bestseller and follows the next generation of the families that readers have come to know and love. This book contains the same formula of “Fall of Giants” in terms of historical fact and fiction. The difference being that “Winter of the World” concerns the families’ roles in the Spanish Civil War and, more importantly, World War II. It gives readers an especially good look at the perspective of Germans and Russians living in their respective countries, as opposed to the usual American perspective most of us have grown up with.

The final book of the trilogy will be titled “Edge of Eternity”. This book is said to revolve around the Cold War. The release is scheduled for some time in 2014.

The Century Trilogy, as I previously mentioned, quickly became one of my favorite book series to date. It was my first time reading any of Ken Follett’s work and I was very pleased and impressed with his style of writing. This book series will have you laugh with the characters and cry with them, as you experience with them their turbulent lives during some of the most historic moments of recent human history.

This series contains historical facts, drama, romance, action, adventure, and more. Truly a must read for any lover of books.

For more information on The Century Trilogy, Ken Follett, and other books by Follett, please visit his website:


  1. I just got Fall of Giants and cannot wait to read it. Have you read any of Ken Follett’s other books such as Pillars of the Earth or World Without End? I would highly recommend both books.

    • I haven’t yet had the chance. I’ve heard the are wonderful, though. I have seen the television adaptations and, although I don’t know how they compare to the novels, I thought the were very good.

  2. I tried watching the first episode of the television miniseries and couldn’t really get into it since the book was so good. The show couldn’t compare to the book for me. Do you watch Game of Thrones? Now that is a great show also based on a series of books. I love the show but don’t want to start reading the books yet because I want to continue to be surprised.

    • I’ll definitely give those books a try then! Yes, I have read and watched Game of Thrones. The show has diverged quite a bit from the books, in my opinion. Both are still very much enjoy
      able, however.

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