Book: Winter of the World.
Author: Ken Follett
Apologies for my inactivity on my blog of late that is due to my being on a midterm break, school is out for a week so I’m a happy teacher 🙂 Right now however I once again have the time to beguile you all with the wonderful book I have read of late.
As to the latest read of mine, it promises everything a book should, it incorporates history, war, adventure, politics, romance and many more interesting titbits that will leave the reader positively gagging for more. The book I am reviewing this week is none other than ‘Winter of the World’ by Ken Follett. And let me inform you, it is a fantastic read. As mentioned in the review for the book previous to this in the Century series, this was my first encounter with Ken Follett as a reader. I had literally never heard of him before this, which I am deeply ashamed to say. Nevertheless I have countered this by reading as many of his books that I can get my hands on.
Winter of the World is just like its predecessor. A story that follows the lives of five families (now the children of the families in the first book) in five different countries (England, Wales, Germany, Russia, America). However instead of revolving around the First World War, this novel concentrates on the Second World War, and the impact it had on the characters in each of the countries previously mentioned. As an avid fan of anything to do with the Second World War, you can understand my intrigue with this book. Not only does the author provide the reader with a look at society during this era but also provides us with an in-depth historical and political analysis of the time, which is reflected quite effectively through his character storylines.
The novel chronicles the major events between the years 1933-1949, so we are privy to the sate of Germany following the aftermath of the First World War, the rise of Hitler and his fascist movement, the lead-up to the involvement of allied countries, the Spanish Civil war, the final entrance of America into the war through the war in the Pacific and the brewing tensions between Russia and other countries leading to the Cold War. Ken Follett successfully describes the horrendous nature of this war and the persecution of various races through the use of his well developed characters who represent the courage and fear that was widespread during this terrible time.
This is one of those novels where you come away from reading it actually learning something new. As already mentioned, I’m a fanatic when it comes to the Second World War, so to actually come away from reading this book with such new knowledge was a wonderful experience. There were many scenes and characters that stood out for me in this novel, from the brave and passionate Carla, who dared to fight against the tyranny of Nazi Germany, to the Welsh character of Lloyd, who seeks to rid the world of fascism, to Daisy, a brash American who quickly realises that buying into a title will not buy one’s happiness. There are such a wide variety of characters, who are both interesting and dynamic so the reader quickly becomes part of their world without any trouble.
What I also like about Ken Follett, is his ability to show us points of view from every ranking in society, be it the lower classes or royalty. He superbly captures the personification of these classes and the reader can literally observe what daily life was like for these groups of people in this era. He does this with such clarity that the reader is transported back through time and scenes become so realistic its uncanny. Follet also has a talent for writing a monstrous sized book and yet the story is so fast paced, one finishes it without realising just how long the story is. A true talent of an author I must admit.
This is a read that must not be missed my avid readers. For those of you that love a fast paced thriller which incorporates history, romance and politics, this is the book for you. I also dare to say that this novel is even better than it’s predecessor. It is a great pleasure to have had the honour to write a review for it and I do hope I have convinced you all of its worth.
As always please do not hesitate to leave your opinions or any comments either on my blog or my twitter page.
The Avid Reader 🙂