Watch the video and try to understand what Ken Follett says about the following:
- The different events in 20th century the trilogy covers.
- The characters in the story.
- History book or novel?
- How Follett makes sure his novels are historically accurate.
- Why he uses romance in fiction.
- The point of view in his novels and the writers he read to see how the main events in 20th century have been brought together in literature.
To check your answers you can read the transcript below.
Fall of Giants begins in 1911 as a prologue, in 1911. The real story begins in 1914 and covers ten years. The second book will cover the Second World War and the third book in the trilogy will cover the Cold War.
Fall of Giants is about five families, one American, one Russian, one German, and two British families, and it’s about their destiny, and it's about them getting, falling in love and getting in, getting married and going to war and making money and losing money, all the things that novels are always about. But it's also about their experience of the great events of the first part of the 20th century, so the people in Fall of Giants live through the First World War and the Russian Revolution and the aftermath of those events in the early 1920’s.
So it's not really, it's not a history book, it's a novel. And it's about individuals and their passions, but it's also about their experience of history. It’s about them living through great historic events.
I didn't want to take any liberties with history. I wanted this insofar as I'd say what happened on the world stage, in war, on the battlefields, in parliaments, that's all true, that's exactly how it happened. And the way I do that is I usually I put a fictional character in the room, so one of the people who we're reading about, one of the young men on one of the young women, is there on the scene at some real event and finally, when I have done all my own reading, I hired actually eight history professors to read the typescript and correct it. And so… I hope with all that there should be no mistakes.
Social divisions have always, all through history, have always been undermined by romance and so for me this is a way of bringing people from different levels of society together, and even though they may be hostile to one another in principle and maybe across a political divide, certainly across a social divide, they may nevertheless be very attracted to one another, and that of course messes everything up, and that’s where drama comes from.
My subject is all of western civilization uh... It’s not from the point of view of one country. I’ve tried to see all the important events from international points of view. And the subject isn’t even just a war, you know, it's not just about the First World War. The Russian Revolution takes up just as much of the story
and it's just as important and of course the two are linked, everybody knows. So when I was thinking, you know, who should I read to see how they've tackled this challenge, I basically found that nobody's tackled this challenge, I’m on my own.