Edge of Eternity by Ken Follett
Ken Follett’s Edge of Eternity is the final book in the ‘Century’ trilogy. With high expectations, not only as a follow up to Fall of Giants and Winter of the World in this trilogy, but particularly after The Pillars of the Earth, which captured millions of readers all over the world, people have had varied opinions on Follett’s latest release.
Known as a master storyteller, Follett depicts the lives of five families from across the globe from 1961 to 1989, focusing on the many historical and political events of that time, from the Civil Rights movement to Communism to name but a few.
I was hooked by the first chapter. Having been born in 1988 myself, I only remember these historical events as facts and figures passed on by my history teacher and read about in textbooks. Reading Edge of Eternity was a true eye opener as it humanizes a history that has been taught in classrooms to my generation but never experienced.
It goes without saying that Follett has a real knack for storytelling. He describes events in a very clear and concise manner, with little hyperbole or jargon, while maintaining the powerful impact of the point he wishes to get across. Chapters about the Freedom Ride and Vietnam in particular stand out as parts that I found a real struggle to get through due to Follett’s succinct and graphic accounts.
At 1,000 pages – the first five of which dauntingly listing the characters and their family trees – Edge of Eternity is a true undertaking, not only for Follett as the writer but for the reader as well. The first 500 pages deal only with events from 1961 to 1963, going into terrific detail of each family member and their gripping stories and individual struggles.
Unfortunately as the book progresses, the timeline speeds up, so drastically in fact that at certain points you feel like you must have replaced your bookmark in the wrong spot. To be fair, this was also rather necessary to keep the book at a maximum of 1,000 pages however I feel a happy medium between scrutinizing detail and fast forward could have perhaps been found.
Discussing Edge of Eternity with other readers has been interesting as opinions vastly differ. It seems you will either love it or hate which, due to its political subject matter, seems only natural as politics finds a way to divide opinions on a daily basis. With political slants kept in mind, it is a true undertaking but a gripping read for an open-minded reader. For myself, it has been a joy to read it and a true shame to come to an end of such a fascinating and unforgettable story.
REVIEWER: Hannah Stibbe
TITLE: Edge of Eternity
AUTHOR(S): Ken Follett