What to read next: Ken Follett’s “Edge of Eternity”

Internationally acclaimed novelist Ken Follett brings fans the conclusion to his historical epic, “The Century Trilogy.” It totals 1,098 pages. One cannot understate the level of detail that Follett puts into his work as he intertwines the lives of the five families hailing from America, Germany, Russia, England and Wales. Readers who have read first two novels in the trilogy, “Fall of Giants” (2010) and “Winter of the World” (2012), will be familiar with these families. For those wary of such a vast cast of characters, Follett includes a helpful diagram in the front of the book that outlines the relationships between characters.

It is a story that recounts the past, but seems so familiar to the events of the present. The US is poised against Russia, both flexing their muscles as a sign of dominance in a complex international arena where influence matters the most. More so, civil unrest threatens to sweep entire governments away and economic turmoil weighs heavy on the world. All the while, these five families attempt to navigate treacherous relationships and stringent social standards where the way forward is uncertain and the path unclear.

There are a number of characters to feel connected to, but readers will find George Jakes, born in secrecy because of his mixed-race parentage, Follett’s most compelling character. Attacked and nearly killed in Alabama as a member of the Freedom Riders, George represents all those who fought and continue to fight for equal rights and those who paid a heavy toll in the process. One could make parallels to events today that continue to unfold in Ferguson, Mo.

This novel is a testament to the creativity and literary prowess possessed by Follett. “Edge of Eternity” is a thrilling conclusion to an epic series that readers will surely find delight in reading. A literary fiction novelist first, Ken Follett succeeds in also opening a window into a history not far removed from the present. No one should feel daunted by the sheer size of the novel. Once engrossed in the story, it will be hard to put down.

Available now, “Edge of Eternity” can be found wherever books are sold.

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