EDGE OF ETERNITY is the sweeping, passionate conclusion to Ken Follett’s extraordinary historical epic, The Century Trilogy.
Throughout these books, Follett has followed the fortunes of five intertwined families – American, German, Russian, English, and Welsh – as they make their way through the twentieth century. Now they come to one of the most tumultuous eras of all: the enormous social, political, and economic turmoil of the 1960s through the 1980s, from civil rights, assassinations, mass political movements and Vietnam to the Berlin Wall, the Cuban Missile Crisis, presidential impeachment, revolution – and rock and roll.
East German teacher Rebecca Hoffman discovers she’s been spied on by the Stasi for years and commits an impulsive act that will affect her family for the rest of their lives.…George Jakes, the child of a mixed-race couple, bypasses a corporate law career to join Robert F. Kennedy’s Justice Department, and finds himself in the middle not only of the seminal events of the civil rights battle, but a much more personal battle of his own.…Cameron Dewar, the grandson of a senator, jumps at the chance to do some official and unofficial espionage for a cause he believes in, only to discover that the world is a much more dangerous place than he’d imagined.…Dimka Dvorkin, a young aide to Nikita Khrushchev, becomes a prime agent both for good and for ill as the United States and the Soviet Union race to the brink of nuclear war, while his twin sister, Tania, carves out a role that will take her from Moscow to Cuba to Prague to Warsaw – and into history.
As always with Follett, the historical background is brilliantly researched and rendered, the action fast-moving, the characters rich in nuance and emotion. With the hand of a master, he brings us into a world we thought we knew but now will never seem the same again.
As soon as I started this last installment of Follett’s Century Trilogy, I knew this would be my least favorite of the series. I have to say though, it’s impossible for people to write without bias, and when it comes to history, it’s even more impossible when you’ve experienced those events first hand. The fact that Follett has lived through many of the events that take place in this book make it unavoidable that his personal opinion will seep through into the story. Furthermore, the fact that these events are still so fresh, makes it impossible for the reader to have an open mind. Both of those factors make this a difficult book to read.
Another element that I think shows this is the weakest book in the series is just the vastness of it. Fall of Giants covered about ten years, Winter of the World took on sixteen, and the finale attempts thirty plus years of complex global relations and drastic social changes. On top of the historical issues, I found that his network of characters, and the shifting between them, was not as successful as in his first two installments. I also didn’t really like any of our new characters or feel as attached to them as our older generations.
My mom thought this book would be my favorite because I spent so much of my studies focused on African-American history and the Civil Rights movement. All the events in this book though are ones that, I feel, are popular knowledge and therefore failed to present any new information. In the previous two books there were all sorts of events that were referenced that I didn’t know about and was excited to see portrayed through Follett’s imagination.
Yet another element that made this installment fall flat for me was the over doing of descriptions. I don’t remember all of the specifications supplied in this book being in the previous two. I mean seriously, I don’t care what model of aircraft or car they are traveling in, and seriously, who gives the model number of a shoe? These specifics became tedious in my opinion as opposed to adding detail.
Honestly, I think Follett should have stopped with the World Wars. Moving into an era with so many more years of conflict, various wars, social upheaval, and drastic change in general, I don’t see how there was any way this could live up to the predecessors in this series. Simply it was too much to take on to be executed in the detail and storytelling we’ve come to expect from Follett.