Winter of the World (The Century Trilogy #2)

Winter of the World (The Century Trilogy #2)

by Ken Follett

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"This book is truly epic. . . . The reader will probably wish there was a thousand more pages." —The Huffington Post

Picking up where Fall of Giants, the first novel in the extraordinary Century Trilogy, left off, Winter of the World follows its five interrelated families—American, German, Russian, English, and Welsh—through a time of enormous social, political, and economic turmoil, beginning with the rise of the Third Reich, through the great dramas of World War II, and into the beginning of the long Cold War.

Carla von Ulrich, born of German and English parents, finds her life engulfed by the Nazi tide until daring to commit 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 social climber, cares only for popularity and the fast set until war transforms her life, while her cousin Volodya carves out a position in Soviet intelligence that will affect not only this war but also the war to come.

Look out for Ken's newest book, A Column of Fire, available now.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780451468222
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/26/2014
Series: Century Trilogy , #2
Pages: 928
Sales rank: 26,344
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Ken Follett is one of the world’s best-loved authors, selling more than 160 million copies of his thirty books. Follett’s first bestseller was Eye of the Needle, a 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, and the Kingsbridge series has sold 38 million copies worldwide.
Follett lives in Hertfordshire, England, with his wife Barbara. Between them they have five children, six grandchildren, and three Labradors.


Hertfordshire, England

Date of Birth:

June 5, 1949

Place of Birth:

Cardiff, Wales


B.A. in Philosophy, University College, London, 1970

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Excerpted from "Winter of the World"
by .
Copyright © 2014 Ken Follett.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“Some of the biggest-picture fiction being written today.”—The Seattle Times

“A consistently compelling portrait of a world in crisis.”—The Washington Post  

“Masterfully sweeping.”—The Louisville Courier-Journal

“Gripping…powerful.”—The New York Times

“An entertaining historical soap opera.”—Kirkus Reviews


What was the motivation for following five different families, as opposed to a single family in the Century Trilogy.
I wanted my characters to be involved in all the major upheavals of the century—wars, revolutions, riots, and so on. It was quite difficult to achieve this with only five families. With one it would have been impossible.

When do you expect readers to see the last book?
Autumn 2014, if I finish it in time.

How was writing about the two World Wars different? Did it require changing gears to write about one versus the other. Was one more interesting to you?
We think of the Second World War as a crusade against evil, and no one is in any doubt about who the good and bad guys are. World War One is different: there are no good or bad guys, and our question is: How did we let this happen?

How many of your books have been adapted for film? Which was your favorite film? And do you have any favorite actors in those films?
I was very pleased with the movie of Eye of the Needle. The miniseries of The Pillars of the Earth is also terrific. Donald Sutherland was in both! I'm looking forward to seeing the miniseries of World Without End this autumn.

In Pillars of the Earth, you immerse the reader in the role of cathedrals in society. Does that interest date from your childhood, or did you come to in later in life?
Later. Like many youngsters I never looked at the buildings around me. In my twenties I started to be curious about buildings in general and cathedrals in particular. While studying cathedral architecture I began to read about the people who built these huge churches. Around the same time I was trying to make it as a novelist, and pretty soon I had the idea of writing a novel about building a cathedral.

What your favorite band? And what's the name of your band?
Lately I've been listening to the Black Keys, a guitar band with vocal harmonies, which is what I like best. I play bass in Damn Right I Got The Blues, which is an amateur blues-rock band made up of people like me who have a career and don't want to be in the music business except for fun. I play occasionally in a folk-rock band called Clog Iron.

And have you met the Queen?
Yes. She shook my hand and said nothing.

Customer Reviews

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Winter of the World 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 597 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
These imbeciles who do book reviews based on COST should put a sock in it and go to the library. If you can't afford to buy a book, don't complain and post a bad review when readers are looking for reviews about the CONTENT of the book. Most, if not all people who read book reviews are not interested in your sob stories about how you should get all your eBooks for free because you feel entitled. I'm sure you don't think twice about spending twenty bucks on junk at your local Walmart. Second book in trilogy is as good as or even better than the first. Can't put it down, except for when I have to work. Ken Follett is a master at creating characters that are so colorful and fascinating that I wish I could step into the book and meet them. The amount of historical research that Follett had to do is amazing. Maybe he should do all of that research and writing for free...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good Lord--what happened?! "Fall of Giants," the first book in the proposed trilogy, is a wonderful, "grab you" read. It was like the best comfort food on a dreary day, and I read it in one long sitting. Waiting for this, I was terribly excited...and and utterly crushed to find this next volume largely unreadable. It's a huge disappointment. ***WAY too many characters, WAY too many plotlines and little to no in depth characterization--there's no time! Therefore, it becomes not only difficult to keep track of who they are, where they are--but to care about them. That was not a problem in "Giants," but here? This rambles to the point where, at times, I found myself skimming. With the exception of Lloyd and Robert (who, unless I missed it, just disappears in the first 150 pages and is never mentioned again)--the rest? Uh--whatever. "Pillars of the Earth" also proved Follett can masterfully handle a large scope...but this does not work. ***Tries too hard to be too many places; there seems to be a need to have ALL the characters in history's hot spots: Berlin, Pearl Harbor, Midway, the Solomon Islands, meeting Hitler, being in Parliament, seeing Churchill, rescuing Blitz victims--it's too much and begins to read as too contrived. (Long lost and now estranged brothers suddenly finding each other as one is dying in a RAF battle...come on) ***Ponderous pace and writing; while "Giants" moves swiftly, getting us involved in the characters' plights, this is wooden. At times, the prose is mechanical, leaden--no elegance or grace. Minute battle details that lose attention quickly--then areas brushed over that would probably grab our attention. If half the characters, half the scope and half the length were cut--we'd still have a 500 page novel--and a gripping, intriguing read. This is mind boggling and pretty much tells me that even if part three takes another two matter. I won't be reading it. Oh--so disappointed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Following the "Fall of Giants" this second installment in the Century Trilogy follows the five families from the Nazi encroachment in Germany in 1933 through World War II and the atomic bomb. Follett paints a portrait of an atrocious period in our world with an interwoven web of darkness, hope, crisis, and despair. Presented through American, German, Russian, English, and Welsh perspectives, the characters play out this drama with harmony and discord. Even staunch Follett fans will find it somewhat difficult to plow through this latest tale. Although the historic accounts and the inclusion of real historical figures add a wonderful dimension, too often the characters get lost in tiring repeated opinions, political and moral discourses, and lengthy literary proselytizing. The style is leaning too much towards James Michener's sweeping verbose sagas and further from Mr. Follett's gripping, memorable narratives originated in "Pillars of the Earth." I am on the fence about reading the third installment.
Cast55116 More than 1 year ago
I've been waiting for this book for 2 years. I'm so disappointed. His other trilogy books grabbed me by the end of the first 20 pages and never let go. I kept reading and kept hoping it would get better. No such luck. I read Fall of Giants in one day. I couldn't put it down. This book just seems bloated and I have really no desire to lose sleep in order to find out what comes next. I haven't been this heart broken since Tom Clancy started to suck.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought the book was wonderful, but I feel that Follett, despite all of the detail included, left out one of the most significant aspects of World War II, namely the holocaust. Yes, he made allusion to the death camps, but only briefly. He had his characters present at almost every important event of the time, so why not at least one scene describing SOMEONE being present to fully describe the horrors found ehen the Americans and the Russians liberated the death camps?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I listened to the book on CD (all 25 of them!) and loved every minute of it. The reader, John Lee, has an amazing ability to give each character his or her own voice. I had no trouble following the characters or the plot. This book gives a sympathetic face to the many Germans who were not Nazis and it gives the reader a glimpse into what it was like to live during the rise of Naziism. It also gives the reader a picture of what life was like for the Germans during the Russian occupation. This book puts a different face on World War II, both in Germany and in Russia. Follett's portrayal of Stalin is quite illuminating. This is not a rehashing of hundreds of other fictional books that take place during WWII. I enjoyed Follett's interesting characters, his description of daily life in Germany and Russia, and even some of the flawed characters (Fitz, Eric, etc.) show a touch of humanity and dimension of character. It is with great anticipation that I await the third book in this trilogy. For those who did not enjoy reading this book, I suggest that you listen to it. It's a marvelous way to enjoy this lengthy, multi-faceted book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As someone who never really got into history, this series has really grabbed me. I love reading the perspectives of families in different countries. I did have a hard time keeping up with all of the characters in this book, but overall, i thought it was excellent.
Candela59 More than 1 year ago
I love this second installment in the trilogy. I actually like it better than the first one. I think it might have something do with the fact that I know more about the history of this era. The characters are fully fleshed out and the history is fascinating. What more could you ask? You get a great story and a history lesson all wrapped up as one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a forum for people to discuss the book and talk about whether they liked it or not.. its not b and n fault its 20 dollars. Its the publisher. Stop being cheapos. Its 1000 pages for goodness sakes thats 20 bucks for a few weeks of reading. Sheesh
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed the first volume--Fall of Giants, but this volume just didn't measure up. I could certainly tell the author was English when he had one of his American characters refer to the hood of a car as the "bonnet". That is a definite English term. Also, portions of the story line pertaining to World War II seemed to have been lifted from a Hollywood movie script (think Midway). Disappointing. I may read the third volume once it is published but I won't be anxiously waiting for it. Too bad as the author is better than this particular book.
ElsieKS More than 1 year ago
Fast paced and chock full of historical information about events leading up to WW II. It made so many issues clear and gave a scary insight that makes it easier to understand the present. I am anxious to see what the final book will be. I have not read anything by Mr. Follett that I didn't fall into.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As always Ken Follett writes a wonderful book with in depth characters and well researched historical facts. Even though the book was very long, I read it in a few days. I truly hope he continues to write these very well researched historical books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You have to remember that follett writes 1000 page books. If you go through all of that effort, you want something back.
Vivmack More than 1 year ago
I'm almost done with this book.. and I'm going to hate to see it end.. That's how good it is!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wish we didn't have to wait so long for the next book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book spent FAR too much time going back over details from the first book. Every new section had some of the same reminders and I found it very annoying. This book could have easily been 150 pages less and maybe the cost wouldn't have been so ridiculous. I doubt I will be interested enough to buy the third one. This book didn't even come close to the first one. I was throughly disappointed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
At 20 bucks it's a bargain. 1000 pages of great writing.
PAA More than 1 year ago
This is a very, very long book, and I am still reading it. The book is most enjoyable, informative with a good bit of World War II history thrown in. Follet has done a wonderful job of re-introducing the main characters and introducing their off-spring. This book is meeting my expectations and has been well worth the wait. A very good read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am almost finished with this book, and I can hardly put it down. The storyline completely holds my attention, although I had to use a "cheat sheet" to keep the families straight for the first hundred pages. Now, I feel related to all of them and I enjoy the connections they make among the countries. The bonus for me is the research and clarity shed by Follett on World War II which my father fought in. I am giving these first two books to my brother for his birthday although he doesn't often read fiction. I think that baby boomers and seniors will especially enjoy this trilogy.
AlexisJ More than 1 year ago
This sequel to Fall of Giants was fantastic. It picks right up where the other left off and I found myself reading it for hours at a time because I could just not put it down. And yet when it ended I wanted more. I can hardly wait till the final book comes out ( I hear the end of 2014). Follett makes you want to know what happens to his characters and their offspring
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Had to pace myself....could have finished very quicky but wanted to be sure did not miss anything. Book gave characters opportunity to grow, learn from past errors...will surely read this book and Fall of Giants again.....while waiting for last book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm always intimidated at first by the sheer size of Ken Follet's books. I read "Pillars of the Earth" and "World Without End' in their (fat) paperback versions and loved them, but even so, I waited awhile to decide to start his next series, The Century Trilogy, just because I wasn't sure I was ready to take on the weight of the books. Enter the Nook Book versions of "Fall of Giants" and "Winter of the World" -- problem solved, and as always his stories never disappoint. Tracking families from the first book through the second somehow deepens the connection to the stories, and you can suspend any disbelief that these interconnected characters managed to be first-hand witness to almost every major event of the 20th century. Now I can't wait for the final book of the trilogy (Nook version of course)!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this so much more than Fall of Giants........didn't want it to end. Can't wait for the next one!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A very good book.
NurseJaney More than 1 year ago
Just loved "Fall of Giants", but it was not easy to connect to the families at the beginning. This followed them through WWII in England and Germany, and was very descriptive of of how the common folk dealt with war, destruction, shortages, and occupation. Thought it was a tad "jerky" at times. Still will wait for #3.