Two down, one to go.
Epic barely describes the sweep of Ken Follett’s Century Trilogy. He manages to insert a cast of Welsh, Russian, German and American characters into nearly every significant historic event (the Blitz, D-Day, the atomic bomb) in the lead up to and the aftermath of the Second World War.
Their stories intersect in Fall of Giants (Book One) and continue to intertwine in Book Two. Now, of course, it’s the children of WWI fighting, spying and dying in WWII as their parents take on leadership roles and deal with the consequences of their actions in their respective countries.
Egos and desires come up against the mores and prejudices of the time. Barriers between classes begin to weaken. Gender roles begin to change, but not without a fight by courageous women of our mothers’ and grandmothers’ generations. These women, widowed or left alone by soldiering husbands, fended for their families under decidedly unequal conditions. They strove for equal pay, access to birth control, affordable health care and the right to vote. Sound familiar?
Winter of the World has enough bloody battles, political intrigue, villains, heroes, sex and romance to satisfy most readers. I’m glad for my kindle, though. At over 800 pages, reading and lugging around this tome might just qualify as strength training.