This is part of the century trilogy & is going to be a hard book to review because it is a thick (818 pages), hardbacked book (as people who have seen me carrying this big book around will verify). Hard to review because by the time I got to the end of this book I had forgotten half of what happened earlier on in the story, there are also many characters to remember too.
Basically it carries on from the first of the trilogy ‘Fall of Giants’ which follows the lives of 5 families each from different parts of the world – Wales, Russia, America, Germany & English – taking us through the first world war and the Russian revolution. You need to read this book first.
In this second book of the trilogy we carry on with the same families but obviously many more characters come into play as the members of these families diverse. It takes the reader from the Russian revolution through to the second world war and the events & political issues that led up to it. Hitler, Stalin, Churchill, Roosevelt, the spread of Facism, the brutality of the Nazis and their extermination of handicapped people, not just jews and homosexuals. The beastiality of the Russian Red army who were as bad if not worse than the German Brownshirts. I really enjoyed Fall of Giants & was looking forward to this his second and I did enjoy it, I loved the mixture of fact & fiction – but - there were times when it was pointless, when the sentence/paragraph was inconsequential, especially as the story went on. For example:
(when working on the first atomic bomb the tension was unbearable as the rods were slowly removed from the neutron/uranium pile) : Greg looked at his watch. It was eleven thirty.
Suddenly there was a loud crash. Everyone jumped.
McHugh said: F-ck!
Greg said what happened:?
Oh, I see’ said McHugh. The radiation level activated the safety mechanism and released the emergency control rod, that’s all’.
The Italian scientist announced “I’m hungry. Let’s go to lunch’ in his Italian accent it came out: “I’m hungary. Les go to luncha”.
'Volodya was travelling to Alkbuquerque by train, he was a Russian spy trying to recruit an American scientist. ‘ He went to the toilet to change his underwear & put on a new shirt he had bought in Saks’ ….why do we need to know this?
I would suggest you wait until just before the third book comes out in 2014 before reading the first two otherwise the 6 month wait from now until publication will fade your memory. It was a couple of months from me reading the first book to the second – not recommended to do.