• France
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • The Netherlands
  • Spain
  • Brazil

Winter of the World

Debuted at #1 on The New York Times’ hardcover and e-book fiction bestseller lists.

Fall of Giants, the first novel in Ken’s extraordinary historical epic, the Century trilogy, was an international sensation, acclaimed as “sweeping and fascinating, a book that will consume you for days or weeks” (USA Today) and “grippingly told and readable to the end” (New York Times Book Review). The Washington Post said, “If the next two volumes are as lively and entertaining as Fall of Giants, they should be well worth waiting for.”

Winter of the World picks up right where the first book left off, as its five interrelated families – American, German, Russian, English, and Welsh – enter a time of enormous social, political, and economic turmoil, beginning with the rise of the Third Reich, through the Spanish Civil War and the great dramas of World War II, to the explosions of the American and Soviet atomic bombs and the beginning of the long Cold War.

Carla von Ulrich, born of German and English parents, finds her life engulfed by the Nazi tide, until she commits a deed of great courage and heartbreak…

American brothers Woody and Chuck Dewar, each with a secret, take separate paths to momentous events, one in Washington, the other in the bloody jungles of the Pacific…

English student Lloyd Williams discovers in the crucible of the Spanish Civil War that he must fight Communism just as hard as Fascism…

Daisy Peshkov, a driven social climber, cares only for popularity and the fast set, until the war transforms her life, not just once but twice, while her cousin Volodya carves out a position in Soviet intelligence that will affect not only this war but also the war to come…

These characters and many others find their lives inextricably entangled as their experiences illuminate the cataclysms that marked the century. From the drawing rooms of the rich to the blood and smoke of battle, their lives intertwine, propelling the reader into dramas of ever-increasing complexity.

As always with Ken, the historical background is brilliantly researched and rendered, the action fast-moving, the characters rich in nuance and emotion. With passion and the hand of a master, he brings us into a world we thought we knew, but now will never seem the same again.

Excerpts and more

Read the first chapter

Listen to an excerpt

See a table of the principal characters

Discussion guide for students and reading groups

Real Stories of World War Two, inspired by Winter of the World

Timeline of major events

Winter of the World timeline

A timeline of the major events of the era, kindly provided by Editora Arqueiro, the publishers of the Brazilian edition, Inverno do mundo. Click on the image for a larger version or download it.

Published as

Winter of the World by Ken Follett, Dutton, New York, September 2012.

Bestseller lists

    • #1 on Spain’s La Razón bestseller list (8 November 2012)
    • #1 on the New York Times fiction hardback and e-book bestseller lists (7 Oct 2012)
    • #1 on the Canadian Booksellers Association bestseller list (22 September 2012)
    • #1 on the German fiction bestseller list (19 September 2012)
    • #1 on the Italian fiction bestseller list (15 September 2012)
    • #1 on the Bog & idé bestseller list – Denmark (19 September 2012)

The Century Trilogy

The first novel in the Century trilogy, Fall of Giants, was published in September 2010. The third novel, Edge of Eternity, was published in September 2014.