To read it is to live it, and I just read the First World War.
This is by far the most in depth, complex and amazing book I have read, irrespective of any genre. What this story is about and why should you want to read it is perhaps best described by the author himself in this interview below.
I always appreciate good character development in any book but Follett has taken it to a massive ship building level by not describing just one or two characters but by doing so for 5 separate families all the while keeping pre-war, war and post war scenarios and melodramas in the background so that the readers do not get bored, which I absolutely loved.
All the events that occur in the backgrounds of these 5 families have actually occurred and this is what makes this book so interesting to read.
The fact that Follet hired 8 separate history professors to check the accuracy of the historic events only goes to show that this book is not just another massive novel.
When I initially bought this novel because of all the hype, I grumbled thinking Damn it!!! 900 pages!!! Maybe it’ll be 300 pages on the world war and the remaining 600 pages on family dramas. I am happy to say, I was dead wrong. The most clever part of this novel is to use romance to tie the 5 families together. Simply ingenious
Another noteworthy feature of this novel is that it gives an observer’s perspective of the war. No nation is seen as the bully or the bullied. You can love, hate or adore the characters in the book depending on your perspective of life. The best part for me was living during the beginning of the 20th century and learn the varying cultures of 4 different nations and how both the rich and poor in each of these nations lived their lives in these 900 pages.
Even though I have the sequel to this novel, Winter of the World,lying in my bookshelf just behind me, I can’t or rather I won’t read it right now for fear the awesome century streak will get over quickly and due to the sad fact that the third book will probably launch on September 2014 :C .
For Indian readers, both the book in paperback editions are available for Rs.350 each i.e. Rs.700 for both, but you can grab both for an awesome price of Rs. 260 at HomeShop18.