Winter of the World: Book Two of the Century Trilogy Audiobook, by Ken Follett Play Audiobook Sample

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

Winter of the World: Book Two of the Century Trilogy Audiobook, by Ken Follett Play Audiobook Sample
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Author: Ken Follett Narrator: John Lee Publisher: Penguin Audio Audio Length: Series:The Century Trilogy Release Date: September 2012 Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download ISBN: 9781101579367

Plot Summary

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.

Publisher Summary

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.

Ken Follett’s Fall of Giants, the first novel in his extraordinary new historical epic, The Century Trilogy, was an international sensation, acclaimed as “sweeping and fascinating, a book that will consume you for days or weeks” (USA Today) and “grippingly told and readable to the end” (The New York Times Book Review). “If the next two volumes are as lively and entertaining as Fall of Giants,” said The Washington Post, “they should be well worth waiting for.”

Winter of the World picks up right where the first book 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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  • Gripping . . . powerful.

    - The New York Times
  • Some of the biggest-picture fiction being written today.

    - The Seattle Times
  • A consistently compelling portrait of a world in crisis.

    - The Washington Post  
  • “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
  • Masterfully sweeping. . . . Political intrigue, amorous episodes, suspense, and drama. History comes to life.

    - The Louisville Courier-Journal
  • [Follett] is so good at plotting a story, even one that takes on such a complex topic such as the World War II era. That's what makes Winter of the World so hard to put down. You want to know what happens next.

    - The Associated Press
  • An entertaining historical soap opera.

    - Kirkus Reviews
  • The man tells a story so well. . . . Follett can make things glow with some beautifully written episodes.

    - St. Louis Post-Dispatch
  • Clips along at a brisk pace. . . [Follett] knows how to keep the pages turning and how to make the reader feel a kinship with the characters' struggles. . . . No matter the ultimate destination, readers can expect to savor the journey.

    - The Christian Science Monitor
  • “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.”

    - AudioFile
  • “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.” 

    - Booklist
  • “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

Customer Reviews

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  • 4.666666 out of 54.666666 out of 54.666666 out of 54.666666 out of 54.666666 out of 5

    " Winter of the World is a great start to a good historical fiction series. Ken Follett is an in depth story teller with a solid knowledge of history. This book starts the series out prior to World War I and takes place across Russia, England, France, and the United States and follows the various limbs of three family trees. I highly recommend this series to any fan of historical fiction. "

    - BRob, 6/8/2020
  • 4.333333 out of 54.333333 out of 54.333333 out of 54.333333 out of 54.333333 out of 5

    " The transition from Fall of Giants to Winter is quite beautifully carried out, moving seamlessly into the future, focusing on the children of the characters from Fall of Giants. I like the concept of the transition, as well as the continuity of seeing the Giants characters evolve and age. This gives the story a truly human, family connection, just like in real life. As always, the interwoven story lines and myriad well-developed characters completely occupied my attention. Going from an abridged version of the previous book to the full version of this installment gave me a pronounced preference for the full story since Follett does it so well. "

    - barb, 5/12/2017
  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5

    " 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's just so heartbreaking that it is sometimes hard to read. "

    - Autumn, 2/15/2014
  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5

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

    - Brittney, 2/14/2014
  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5

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

    - Helen, 1/28/2014
  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5

    " 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. "

    - Marsha, 1/25/2014
  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5

    " So sad that I have to wait for book 3. "

    - Kristina, 1/20/2014
  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5

    " I really enjoyed Fall of Giants and this did not disappoint. I listened to both on (about 70 hours) while walking. I put many miles on my shoes and was thoroughly immersed in the story. The history as told by the five families made it real. Can't wait for the third book in 2014. "

    - Laf, 1/20/2014
  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5

    " i really enjoyed this book. It was a excellent second book in the series and I'm very much looking forward to the third book of this trilogy. I wholeheartedly recommend it to anybody who enjoys fictional history. "

    - Ceasar, 1/14/2014
  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5

    " Can't do one more WWII book. It is probably better than two stars I just can't stand all the violence. "

    - Grace, 12/23/2013
  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5

    " poor dialogue, flat characters. to me - boring. I loved Pillars of the Earth and Fall of the Giants so I'm not sure why this book fell so short in my eyes, but I'm glad others liked it. "

    - Nance, 12/12/2013
  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5

    " Cool book, chilling description of pre-WW2 growth of fascism. Great character development, a little long though towards the end. Curious to read the final book. "

    - Ian, 12/7/2013
  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5

    " This Book was pretty good, not as good as Fall of Giants, but a good read... "

    - Lori, 11/21/2013
  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5

    " See my review of Fall of Giants. Same thoughts. I did particularly like the descriptions of the Soviet aspect. "

    - Caryn, 11/15/2013
  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5

    " Loved this book, but then I haven't found one of Ken Follett's books that I haven't enjoyed. Can't wait for the third book in the series. "

    - Glenda, 10/24/2013
  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5


    - Fran, 9/30/2013
  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5

    " Wow. These people who when through this time period truly are "the greatest generation". "

    - Travis, 9/14/2013
  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5

    " Winter of the world is stunning in its brilliance. I loved the history of so many diverse groups and how they were all intertwined. The only reason i did not give it five stars was because of graphic sex scenes that I felt were unnecessary. Otherwise, brilliant!! "

    - Candace, 7/27/2013
  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5

    " Whew! Thank goodness that is over! Not the best WWII book out there, but unique for its breadth. It really focuses on the political characters that were influential in charting the course of the war. "

    - Outdoorgrrl, 5/23/2013
  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5

    " Just as good as the first! Cant wait for the third "

    - Sandy, 5/23/2013
  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5

    " I am addicted to this Follet Trilogy Can't wait for the third book to be released. "

    - Laurel, 5/15/2013
  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5

    " Excellent. I love Ken Follett and this book, rich in history with enough fiction thrown in to draw you in and really develop a relationship with the characters, is exactly why. "

    - Memory, 4/10/2013
  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5

    " Incredible book. Just like the first one. Cannot wait until the last book in the trilogy is completed "

    - Tracy, 4/5/2013
  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5

    " Liked it at first but by the end it seemed to be weighed down by countless stereotypes "

    - Barrabhoy, 1/11/2013
  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5

    " anxious to see how this trilogy ends.. "

    - Christine, 1/1/2013
  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5

    " Very good book. I'm looking forward to the 3rd part of the trilogy to come out. "

    - Audrey, 11/23/2012
  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5

    " good historical fiction following the true events pretty closely.I've actually learnt some things I didnt know about.Just wish there were less "romance" in it. "

    - Marta, 11/23/2012
  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5

    " Winter of the World is a fine example of why I consider Ken Follett to be one of the finest writers working today. His writing in this book is mesmerizing with excellent character development and plot developments that will keep you glued to the story from beginning to end. "

    - e.d.w., 11/19/2012
  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5

    " While I enjoyed this book for the most part it could have done with some better editing in my opinion. Numerous sections go on far too long and are stuffed with unecessary dialog and mundane details. The story is excellent if you can manage to trudge through the overdone parts. "

    - Bill Waters, 11/4/2012
  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5

    " I am amazed at the turn around Follet accomplished in this book. I found the prequel to be boring and a real let down from the author of Pillars of the Earth. But the second book stands along other great books of historical fiction such as Gone With the Wind and anything written by John Jakes! "

    - Travis, 10/27/2012
  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5

    " Good selection that follows the first book "Fall of Giants". This book takes the reader through World War II up to 1949. Some of the parts are predictable and the writing is less as impressive as the first book. I hope that the last book of this trilogy brings more to the table ! "

    - William, 10/27/2012
  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5

    " This second installment in Follett's sprawling epic series, The Century Trilogy, is just as brilliantly well-written and engrossing as Fall of Giants, the first novel. This truly is historical fiction at its best! "

    - edgar t., 10/23/2012
  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5

    " Good novel but man are there a lot of characters to keep track of! I had a bit of a hard time with it for that reason. It got rather confusing at points trying to sort out who was connected to who. "

    - Lucy M., 10/19/2012
  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5

    " I loved Fall of Giants, the first book of this excellent series. I'm very glad that Winter of the World is just as good if not better! I found it to be exceptionally enthralling and can't wait for the final book of the trilogy. "

    - A.L., 10/11/2012
  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5

    " Loved 'Fall if Giants' and this was equally brilliant! Highly recommended! "

    - Sarah, 10/1/2012

About the Author

Ken Follett is one of the world’s best-loved authors, selling more than 160 million copies of his thirty books. His first bestseller was Eye of the Needle, an Edgar Award–winning spy story set in the Second World War. In 1989 The Pillars of the Earth was published and has since become the author’s most successful novel. It reached number one on bestseller lists around the world and was an Oprah’s Book Club pick. Its sequels, World without End and A Column of Fire, proved equally popular, with the series selling forty million copies worldwide and hitting the #1 New York Times bestsellers list.

About the Narrator

John Lee is the winner of numerous Earphones Awards and the prestigious Audie Award for Best Narration. His has twice won acclaim as AudioFile’s Best Voice in Fiction & Classics. He also narrates video games, does voice-over work, and writes plays. He is an accomplished stage actor and has written and coproduced the feature films Breathing Hard and Forfeit. He played Alydon in the 1963–64 Doctor Who serial The Daleks.