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Winter of the World
Cover of Winter of the World
Winter of the World
The Century Trilogy, Book 2
"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.
"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.
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  • From the book Chapter One

    1933

    Carla knew her parents were about to have a row. The second she walked into the kitchen she felt the hostility, like the bone-deep cold of the wind that blew through the streets of Berlin before a February snowstorm. She almost turned and walked back out again.

    It was unusual for them to fight. Mostly they were affectionate—too much so. Carla cringed when they kissed in front of other people. Her friends thought it was strange: their parents did not do that. She had said that to her mother, once. Mother had laughed in a pleased way and said: "The day after our wedding, your father and I were separated by the Great War." She had been born English, though you could hardly tell. "I stayed in London while he came home to Germany and joined the army." Carla had heard this story many times, but Mother never tired of telling it. "We thought the war would last three months, but I didn't see him again for five years. All that time I longed to touch him. Now I never tire of it."

    Father was just as bad. "Your mother is the cleverest woman I ever met," he had said here in the kitchen just a few days ago. "That's why I married her. It had nothing to do with . . ." He had trailed off, and Mother and he had giggled conspiratorially, as if Carla at the age of eleven knew nothing about sex. It was so embarrassing.

    But once in a while they had a quarrel. Carla knew the signs. And a new one was about to erupt.

    They were sitting at opposite ends of the kitchen table. Father was somberly dressed in a dark gray suit, starched white shirt, and black satin tie. He looked dapper, as always, even though his hair was receding and his waistcoat bulged a little beneath the gold watch chain. His face was frozen in an expression of false calm. Carla knew that look. He wore it when one of the family had done something that angered him.

    He held in his hand a copy of the weekly magazine for which Mother worked, The Democrat. She wrote a column of political and diplomatic gossip under the name of Lady Maud. Father began to read aloud. "' 'Our new chancellor, Herr Adolf Hitler, made his debut in diplomatic society at President Hindenburg's reception.'"

    The president was the head of state, Carla knew. He was elected, but he stood above the squabbles of day-to-day politics, acting as referee. The chancellor was the premier. Although Hitler had been made chancellor, his Nazi Party did not have an overall majority in the Reichstag—the German parliament—so, for the present, the other parties could restrain Nazi excesses.

    Father spoke with distaste, as if forced to mention something repellent, like sewage. " 'He looked uncomfortable in a formal tailcoat.' "

    Carla's mother sipped her coffee and looked out of the window to the street, as if interested in the people hurrying to work in scarves and gloves. She, too, was pretending to be calm, but Carla knew she was just waiting for her moment.

    The maid, Ada, was standing at the counter in an apron, slicing cheese. She put a plate in front of Father, but he ignored it. " 'Herr Hitler was evidently charmed by Elisabeth Cerruti, the cultured wife of the Italian ambassador, in a rose-pink velvet gown trimmed with sable.' "

    Mother always wrote about what people were wearing. She said it helped the reader picture them. She herself had fine clothes, but times were hard and she had not bought anything new for years. This morning she looked slim and elegant in a navy blue cashmere dress that was probably as old as Carla.

    " 'Signora Cerruti, who is Jewish, is a passionate Fascist, and they talked for many minutes. Did she beg Hitler to stop...

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    July 30, 2012
    This second installment of Follett’s epic Century trilogy is just as potent, engrossing, and prolix as the opening opus, Fall of Giants. Continuing the histrionics of the five families introduced in Fall, this masterfully conceived novel picks up in 1933 as Carla von Ulrich, 11, feels the horror of Nazi encroachment in Germany and proves a staunch resister, while her older brother, Erik, becomes an infatuated soldier. Elsewhere, English student Lloyd Williams aggressively resists the Fascists in the Spanish Civil War. Later, wealthy American brothers Chuck (a closeted homosexual) and Woody Dewar head to the South Seas to fight the good fight as socialite Daisy Peshkov, Woody’s first love, is swept up with Lloyd and the drama of war. Rife with plot lines, interpersonal intrigue, sweeping historical flourishes, and an authentic and compelling cast, this is a tale of dynamic characters struggling to survive during one of the world’s darkest periods. While some may find Follett’s verbosity daunting, others will applaud his dedication and ability to keep so many plots spinning while delivering a story that educates, entertains, and will leave fans eagerly awaiting the trilogy’s crowning capstone.

  • Kirkus

    September 1, 2012
    Follett continues the trilogy begun with Fall of Giants (2010) with a novel that ranges across continents and family trees. It makes sense that Follett would open with an impending clash, since, after all, it's Germany in 1933, when people are screaming about why the economy is so bad and why there are so many foreigners on the nation's streets. The clash in question, though, is a squabble between journalist Maud von Ulrich, nee Lady Maud Fitzherbert--no thinking of Brigitte Jones here--and hubby Walter, a parliamentarian headed for stormy times. Follett's big project, it seems, is to reduce the bloody 20th century to a family saga worthy of a James Michener, and, if the writing is less fluent than that master's, he succeeds. Scrupulous in giving characters major and minor plenty of room to roam on the stage, Follett extends the genealogy of the families introduced in the first volume, taking into account the twists and turns of history: If Grigori Peshkov was a hero of the Bolshevik Revolution, his son Volodya is a dutiful soldier of the Stalin regime--dutiful, but not slavishly loyal. Indeed, most of the progeny here spend at least some of the time correcting the mistakes of their parents' generation: Carla von Ulrich becomes a homegrown freedom fighter in Germany, which will have cliffhanger-ish implications at the very end of this installment, while Lloyd Williams, son of a parliamentarian across the Channel, struggles against both fascism and communism on the front in the Spanish Civil War. (Lloyd's a perspicacious chap; after all, even George Orwell needed time and distance from the war to gain that perspective.) Aside from too-frequent, intrusive moments of fourth-wall-breaking didacticism--"Supplying weaponry was the main role played by the British in the French resistance"--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, with real historical figures bowing in now and then. Will one of them be Checkers, Richard Nixon's dog, in volume 3? Stay tuned. An entertaining historical soap opera.

    COPYRIGHT(2012) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    April 1, 2012

    In 2010, Follett launched "The Century Trilogy" with the No. 1 New York Times best seller Fall of Giants, which traced the lives of five interrelated families--American, German, Russian, English, and Welsh--through the early years of the 20th century. A daunting book, but most readers will be back for this follow-up, featuring the same families but moving them along to the rise of the Third Reich and World War II.

    Copyright 2012 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    August 1, 2012
    Follett follows the bestselling Fall of Giants (2010) with the eagerly anticipated second volume of his ambitious Century Trilogy. Picking up the disparate plot strands approximately 10 years later, he introduces the next generation of the five original familiesAmerican, German, Russian, English, and Welsh, respectivelyas it stands poised on the brink of another international catastrophe. As fascism extends its grip on Europe, the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor, London is blitzed, the Soviet Union is invaded, and the lives of all the interrelated major characters are dramatically and permanently altered. Serving as participants in and witnesses to all the major events of the mid-twentieth century, their dovetailing stories provide a remarkably comprehensive overview of a rapidly evolving chain of events that will challenge and change the course of world history. In the hands of a less gifted writer, these 900-plus pages and the breadth of the subject matter might be daunting, but Follett never lets the action lag as he adeptly ties together all the sweeping economic, cultural, political, and social transformations of the entire era. High Demand Backstory: The first volume in Follett's epic Century Trilogy was a runaway bestseller. Expect immediate high demand as fans of Fall of Giants will be impatient to find out how the main characters and their extended families fare as another world war looms on the horizon.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2012, American Library Association.)

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The Century Trilogy, Book 2
Ken Follett
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