Winter of the World – Ken Follett

rsz_9780230710108 (1)

published by MacMillan, UK in 2012

Back cover summary

Five interlinked families live out their destinies as the world is shaken by tyranny and war in the mid-twentieth century.

Berlin in 1933 is in upheaval. Eleven-year-old Carla von Ulrich struggles to understand the tensions disrupting her familiy as Hitler strengthens his grip on Germany. Into this turmoil steps 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 rages 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 Peshkow, 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 Fascist.

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 Fen Follet’s uniquely ambitious and deeply satisfaying the Century trilogy. On its own or read in sequence with Fall of Giants, this is a magnificent, spellbinding epic of global conflict and personal drama.

My comments:

This second book in the same vein as the first one is really up to our expectations. We are pleased to renew with the lives of these families we are now familiar with, only to start fearing for their future. I greatly appreciated the wide scope of Follett’s description of the run-up to WW2, leaving out none of the then world foes, from the Spanish Civil war, the growing strength of Nazism, to the thirst for power of Communism.

This is a wonderful depiction of all  the hopes, deception and desillusion which prevailed during the 1st half of the XX century.

Much more interesting, more easily read that our old History school books. You cannot put it down until the last page.