Jean-Paul’s Rating: 3/5 stars
And we’re done with Ken Follett’s Century Trilogy. “Edge of Eternity” picks up where “Winter of the World” left off. We follow the same families as the previous books, but this time the events are bookended by the rise of the Berlin Wall and the fall of the Berlin Wall.
I feel like a broken record at this point because book three has all of the same strong points and weak points as the previous two books. The historical portions of the book are quite interesting at times but the interpersonal relationships leave room for much improvement.
More obviously than the other two books, “Edge of Eternity” is innately political. This should come as little surprise considering Follett actually lived through all of the events and so has more to say about them. For instance, while he does an ok job of portraying the conservative viewpoints of Nixon, Regan, et al., his disagreement with that viewpoint shines through more than in previous books. It’s hard to live through the Civil Rights era and not have an unbiased view of the wrongs committed. It’s also a bit welcome, though, as his previous books in the trilogy always seemed a little too “Yay, America!” while not really covering the serious shortcomings of the country at the times.
Ken Follett’s times are also partially my times as well and I have to say, seeing non-historical characters in historical situations that I’m more familiar with is disconcerting in a way that’s hard to describe. It’s almost as if he’s stealing a bit of history. Sure, he’s doing the same thing in the other books, but somehow having a fake Senator seems less serious a sin than having a fake person sleeping with John F. Kennedy. Or maybe it’s just because it’s much more sensationalist and lazy than the other sins. I’m not sure what it is, but it bugs me.
I’m glad the trilogy was over. They were all decent enough reads, but it’s hard to recommend them to anyone. Really, if you’re at all interested in any of the times covered by the books, you’re probably better off getting recommendations on an actual history book instead of Follett’s historical fiction books.