I got this book from the library and was worried knowing I only had it for 3 weeks and I wouldn't be able to re-new it as it is an in demand book. It's very thick. I shouldn't have worried, it only took me 3 days to read. Probably because I couldn't put it down. I loved it. I think it is a highly readable tale. Don't be intimidated by the size of it and the large cast of characters, it's easy to follow. This is the first of a trilogy that will span the 20th Century. This one is set in the time before, during and slightly after the first world war. I have to admit that it had me brushing up on my knowledge of that war.
One thing I like about Ken Follett's writing is that it is believable. You would think he had actually been in a Welsh Coal Mine a the beginning of the century. He absolutely captures it. In the same way, he also able to capture high society London, lower class St. Petersburg and trench warfare.
He is also the first author whose writing of battle scenes I was able to read properly. Usually, I can't follow them and skim read those parts.
I made the mistake of looking at the Amazon reviews of this book before writing this post (a classic blogger mistake) . I was fully expecting to see a lot of 4-5 star reviews of this one. I was wrong. Amazon has it rated as a 3 star book. There aren't many 3 star ratings though, it's almost equally split between 5 star ratings and 1 star ratings. I think the problem Ken Follett has is that he has already published his masterpiece (Pillars of the Earth). Once you have published a book that good, that is what people will inevitably compare future works to. Pillars of the Earth is brilliant, there's no doubt about it. This book still has brilliant writing in it. It's just a different book. You have to go into it realizing that. It's a completely different era, completely different cast, completely different story. It's still very good. I look forward to the next 2 books in this trilogy.