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Download Winter of the World: Book Two of the Century Trilogy Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Winter of the World: Book Two of the Century Trilogy, by Ken Follett Click for printable size audiobook cover
4.00012613521695 out of 54.00012613521695 out of 54.00012613521695 out of 54.00012613521695 out of 54.00012613521695 out of 5 4.00 (15,856 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Ken Follett Narrator: John Lee Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Century Trilogy Release Date:
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Winter of the World is the second part of Ken Follett's Century trilogy, the first part being Fall of Giants which spanned the years 1911-1924. In Fall of Giants, Follett detailed historical events such as women's suffrage, the first world war, the Russian revolution and the growing tension between the working class and the aristocracy. This second book spans the years 1933-1949, so there are a new set of historical events in the background, such as World War II, the Spanish Civil War and Russia under Stalin's regime. This is a world where human beings continue to live despite the threat of violence, so there's love as well as war going on at the same time.

One of the main characters is Daisy Peshkov, the daughter of a rich man whose story was told in the previous book. She travels to England where she has two suitors—half-brothers who are unaware of the other's existence. One of them is "Boy" Fitzherbert who is also the Viscount Aberowen and the other is Lloyd Williams, the son of Earl Fitzherbert and a maid in the household, who eventually went on to become a Member of Parliament. Daisy eventually chooses Boy over Lloyd and is the sexual aggressor in the relationship, once again showing how much things have changed since the beginning of the trilogy because in the first book, such a thing was not possible.

Follett does a good job mixing love with aggression which, according to Freud, are the two main characteristics of the human race, existing side by side even though they are opposed to each other. The horrors of Nazi Germany, the startlingly brutal attack on Pearl Harbor and other historical events are given their due. At the same time, there are more personal attacks such as when thugs use dogs to attack a gay man and the disabled start disappearing into a hospital never to return.

This is an ambitious book but, like other books that tell the life of a particular character during a historical period, such as Gone With the Wind, it really gets into the minds of the characters and shows you what it was like to live through such times.

Ken Follett is a Welsh writer whose childhood was divided between Cardiff and London. As a child, he wasn't allowed to watch TV, so he gravitated towards books. He went to University College London and worked as a journalist in Cardiff and London. However, he didn't find the work challenging enough and eventually turned to publishing and writing. Although his initial motives were purely pecuniary, his books are amazingly well-researched and many have made it on to the New York Times bestseller list while some have been made into movies. He has strong political views and his wife, Barbara Broer was, at one point, a Labour Official.

Ken Follett follows up his #1 New York Times bestseller Fall of Giants with a brilliant, page-turning epic about the heroism and honor of World War II, and the dawn of the atomic age.

Winter of the World picks up right where Fall of Giants left off, as its five interrelated families—American, German, Russian, English, Welsh—enter a time of enormous social, political, and economic turmoil, beginning with the rise of the Third Reich, through the Spanish Civil War and the great dramas of World War II, up to the explosions of the American and Soviet atomic bombs.

Carla von Ulrich, born of German and English parents, finds her life engulfed by the Nazi tide until she commits a deed of great courage and heartbreak … American brothers Woody and Chuck Dewar, each with a secret, take separate paths to momentous events, one in Washington, the other in the bloody jungles of the Pacific … English student Lloyd Williams discovers in the crucible of the Spanish Civil War that he must fight Communism just as hard as Fascism … Daisy Peshkov, a driven American social climber, cares only for popularity and the fast set, until the war transforms her life, not just once but twice, while her cousin Volodya carves out a position in Soviet intelligence that will affect not only this war—but the war to come.

These characters and many others find their lives inextricably entangled as their experiences illuminate the cataclysms that marked the century. From the drawing rooms of the rich to the blood and smoke of battle, their lives intertwine, propelling the reader into dramas of ever-increasing complexity.

As always with Ken Follett, the historical background is brilliantly researched and rendered, the action fast-moving, the characters rich in nuance and emotion. With passion and the hand of a master, he brings us into a world we thought we knew, but now will never seem the same again.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Follett’s real gifts are those of a natural storyteller: swift, cinematic pacing, the ability to juggle multiple narratives coherently, and an eye for the telling detail. The result…is an honorable piece of popular entertainment and a consistently compelling portrait of a world in crisis.”

    Washington Post

  • “Should come with a warning label: ‘Abandon your normal activities for a couple of days when you crack this one open, because you’re likely to get hooked like a Copper River salmon.’”

    Seattle Times

  • “Riveting…Follett is a master craftsman. He fills his pages with fascinating characters and then uses the great events of this time to make an exciting plot. He succeeds in every way possible.”

    Huffington Post

  • “Just as potent, engrossing, and prolix as the opening opus, Fall of Giants…Rife with plotlines, interpersonal intrigue, sweeping historical flourishes, and an authentic and compelling cast, this is a dynamic tale of characters struggling to survive during one of the world’s darkest periods…Will leave fans eagerly awaiting the trilogy’s crowning capstone.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “John Lee’s narration enhances the complex plot with an impressive assortment of European accents…[This] grandly scaled epic is enriched by a superb narration.”


  • “A tale of heroes and heroic acts. In the hands of a less adroit storyteller, it would be hackneyed, but Follett moves his…figures through interesting situations and draws the reader in to care what happens to them.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • “Follett never lets the action lag as he adeptly ties together all the sweeping economic, cultural, political, and social transformations of the entire era.” 


  • “Follett’s storytelling is unobtrusive and workmanlike, and he spins a reasonable and readable yarn that embraces dozens of characters and plenty of Big Picture history.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • A #1 New York Times Bestseller
  • A USA Today Bestseller
  • A Los Angeles Times Bestseller
  • A 2012 Barnes & Noble Best Book for Fiction
  • A Publishers Weekly Bestseller
  • A 2012 Washington Post Notable Book for Fiction
  • A Kirkus Reviews Top 25 Book, September 2012
  • A 2012 Amazon Top 100 Book
  • A 2012 iTunes Best Audiobook

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Autumn | 2/15/2014

    " Welcome back to the Century Trilogy! I wanted to love this book like I loved Fall of Giants, but I couldn't. The plot is just as rich, the characters (all of our old friends from Fall of Giants plus their children) are just as vibrant and human, the writing is just as pitch-perfect. The only reason I couldn't fall in love with this book is really no fault of its own: the violence can be truly horrific. Rape, murder, war, genocide, torture - all of these live within these pages. And sometimes it was so hard to read that I had to walk away and come back later. He didn't overly-dramatize, he didn't fabricate torture scenes just for fun. Everything Follett writes in this book is accurately indicative of what occurred during WWII. It's just...it's just so heartbreaking that it is sometimes hard to read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Brittney Bramlett | 2/14/2014

    " Can anyone rate a Ken Follett book with less than 5 stars? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Helen | 1/28/2014

    " Love his books. Cannot wait for the third. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Marsha | 1/25/2014

    " I liked it, but not as well as the first one. I thought the characters were less developed and I wasn't as invested in them as I was with the characters in the first book. I am looking forward to the next book. "

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