Five linked families live out their destinies as the world is shaken by tyranny and war in the mid-20th century. Berlin in 1933 is in upheaval. Eleven-year-old Carla von Ulrich struggles to understand the tensions disrupting her family as Hitler strengthens his grip on Germany. Into this turmoil step her mother's formidable friend and former British MP, Ethel Leckwith, and her student son, Lloyd, who soon learns for himself the brutal reality of Nazism.
He also encounters a group of Germans resolved to oppose Hitler - but are they willing to go so far as to betray their country? Such people are closely watched by Volodya, a Russian with a bright future in Red Army Intelligence. The international clash of military power and personal beliefs that ensues will sweep over them all as it ranges from Cable Street in London's East End to Pearl Harbour in Hawaii, from Spain to Stalingrad, from Dresden to Hiroshima.
At Cambridge Lloyd is irresistibly drawn to dazzling American socialite Daisy Peshkov, who represents everything his left-wing family despise. But Daisy is more interested in aristocratic Boy Fitzherbert - amateur pilot, party lover, and leading light of the British Union of Fascists. Back in Berlin, Carla worships golden boy Werner from afar. But nothing will work out the way they expect as their lives and the hopes of the world are smashed by the greatest and cruellest war in the history of the human race.
Winter of the World is the second novel in Ken Follett's uniquely ambitious and deeply satisfying trilogy The Century. On its own or read in sequence with Fall of Giants, this is a magnificent, spellbinding epic of global conflict and personal drama.
©2012 Ken Follett (P)2012 Penguin US/Macmillan Digital Audio
Right, I have just finished listening to this epic story and I have to say I have not had an audio book like it. Having listened to the previous book in the series (Fall Of Giants) I thought that it would be impossible to top, well this one is even better. Great character development, well narrated and gripping. The story lines are interesting and in some parts deeply shocking with some, not graphic but disturbing descriptions of human behaviour. I noticed that this was a good book when I woke up in the middle of the night and started listening to the audio book hoping to drift off to sleep, then 4 hours later still awake I had to get up and go to work! The sooner the next book in the series is released the better. I would recommend this book to everyone!
"Setting a standard"
There are many stars in this audiobook. Obviously, the author is one - Ken Follett's majestic sweep both stirring and emotional. The next star is John Lee, who captures a wide variety of accents, from different countries and regions, as well as carrying off both male and female voices. He sets a standard for other narrators. Finally, the various characters shine like stars. Although it is obvious where Follett's sympathies lie, all the fictional characters are brought to life, while the 'real life' characters are realistic and invest the novel with further authenticity. You'll be sorry when you have finished, but then, in two years' time, we'll have the final installment. It is unlikely to reach the heights of this novel, though, given the history that 'Winter of the World' covers.
"Winter of the World"
I'm a Ken Follett historical history fan from way back. There has never been anything other than a well-researched, brilliant novel. John Lee narrates the books like they were written for him. But Winter of the World has proved even Ken Follett can outdo himself! This should be required reading for history classes in England and the U.S. I have never been a real fan of the history of WWII but this was the easiest and most captivating history lesson I have ever had. Couldnt stop listening. You just cannot go wrong with this book it's a real winner.
"The horror of war"
Follet's story unfolds in a manner that really clamps ice around your heart, and vicariously one gets a feel for the horror that both civilians and soldiers experienced, and for the utterly bizarre social circumstances that war creates
Such well developed characters. I even felt for the Germans in this battle, you find yourself wanting them all to come out of it well.
"Another cracker from Ken!"
I love Ken's writing style, it's so easy to read and thus translates very well to audio. Well done John Lee. Beautifully read bringing another dimension to the characters and realism. This middle chapter of the trilogy was slightly too long - but what to leave out??? Super story cannot wait for number 3.
"Great author, Brilliant narrator"
I have enjoyed every one of Ken Follet's historical novels and this is certainly one of his best. But, what really makes the audiobook special is the narrator, John Lee. I am in awe of his narration skills and have begun to search for his books, regardless of the author. Thank you John for bringing great books to life.
So. How to begin? I would love to say this was a great book, I enjoyed the first one. But I felt this book was more of an historical book rather than a literary novel. Ken Follet really knows his stuff however so I cannot fault him on that and I learned a few things! On a negative side there were far too many silly coincidences. Everyone crosses everyone else's path across Europe, Britain, USA and Russia, what are the chances! I even began to roll my eyes and I guessed that the British brother in the French resistance would be the one to discover his other brother in the fighter plane over France. And it becomes a little condescending when ken reminds us of things more than once, like he doesn't trust us to remember, I didn't like that, it wasnt helpful. And I actually listened to a whole part of a book on time and a half speed, the narration was just a little too slow for me. If u have read the first book I suppose you have to listen to this one but otherwise I wouldn't really recommend (saying that tho, I will probably read the third one when it comes out!)
"Brilliant story, fabulous narration from John Lee"
Continuation of Fall of Giants storyline. Loved every second. I was disappointed when Fall of Giants ended and couldn't wait to start on Winter of the World. Now I have finished both I feel really sad - so invested in the people and the interconnected stories. I am really going to miss them.
Brilliant story, fabulous narration from John Lee
"History as a teacher should see it."
I have for the first time wished that I had spent more time with history and less with imagination and fantasy. In part this comes from the passion of the story teller and Ken has brought to life an amazing time in history with a beautiful and full back story.
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