Also by this author: Fall of Giants, Winter of the World
Published by Dutton Books on September 16, 2014
Genres/Lists: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Political
Read synopsis on Goodreads
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As with all Ken Follett trilogies, I knew I would love Edge of Eternity . Not only is Follett a stunning author who writes sweeping histories, this was the third in his more recent endeavor and I devoured the first two. It’s such a nice feeling to pick up a book knowing full well that I’m going to adore it and have no trepidations, whatsoever.
The Century trilogy kicks off with the rise of World War I and concludes with the end of the Cold War. Like the first two, Fall of Giants and Winter of the World, Edge of Eternity threads the stories of the same families, albeit different generations, as they face historical moments that include the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Civil Rights movement, and the fall of the Berlin Wall. As with the previous books, their worlds collide in subtle ways and his rich character development allow us to empathize with each and every one of them.
One of the things I love about Ken Follett is that I always learn so much about history from his novels. Even though they are historical fiction, they are rooted in so much fact that I long ago gave up googling to see what was real. In essence, the characters are fictional but the realities and political situations they face are real. Unlike his previous novels, however, I was much more tuned in to the events of this book because it is recent history. But even when I know the events that take place, I always learn a tremendous amount about history that is often overlooked.Once again, Ken Follett delivers perfection in the politically-charged Edge of Eternity. Click To Tweet
In the case of Edge of Eternity , this included a different perspective of John F. Kennedy, the intricacies of daily life in East Germany before the wall fell, and the Russian perspective on communism. One of Follett’s greatest gifts is to show the thoughts, fears, and motivations of what we consider to be opposing forces. While I very rarely change my opinion on them, because I tend to be well read and well-versed in history anyway, it offers new insights on nearly every major historical event. This is important because in order to overcome opposition, one needs to know why they think and do what they do, and Follett doesn’t hold back from critical analysis of both those we revere and those we hate.
For example, JFK is historically portrayed as a great president who had a penchant for pretty women. But Follett’s portrayal tells the story of a more complicated man, one who was unsteady in his policies and who feared being unlikable. This, in and of itself, isn’t a surprise, but the intricate ways in which Follett tells the story is remarkable.
Another example is Russia and their ardent desire to defend communism and the political in-fighting that took place before and during its fall. While the secret resistance and all-powerful government are not news, Follett’s insight into the internal political forces that helped shape the outcome, as told through the eyes of “people” who were there, are illuminating.
Once again, Follett has delivered a stunning novel and end to a trilogy that will both teach the reader history without judgment and make you fall for characters they never would have expected. I never know how to review his books because they are that good, so I urge you to read them and escape to a world gone by that will offer you a richer knowledge of the world we currently live in.
Recommended for: Historical fans with a penchant for world politics.