I read this novel right after finishing WORLD WITHOUT END, so it was a bit of a jolt to get myself used to 1911, having left the last novel in 1361. But once I’d made the adjustment, I found myself gripped by another strong cast of characters and the disparate lives that they lead. It was sheer genius for author Ken Follett to create characters that were placed strategically in various different places of the world (Wales, England, Russia, Germany and the United States), and yet have connections to each other by way of family ties, friendships or because of their employment. Follett has a way of taking unlikeable characters and making the reader interested in these people, so that even when they misbehave, we still want to see what they do next.
This is a large novel that spans thirteen years, from the coronation of King George V in 1911 to the year 1924 when everything has fallen apart after a truly dreadful war. But Follett does not give us a twentieth-century ending where everything just stops. Nor does he use his ending as a cheap way of marketing the next volume. Instead, we have an ending that is just perfect in my opinion. I loved it, and I look forward to reading the next volume in this series. Five stars.