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Night over Water Mass Market Paperback – Sep 1 1992

4.0 out of 5 stars 56 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (Sept. 1 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451173139
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451173133
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 3.5 x 17.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 249 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 56 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #87,958 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

The opulent interior of the first airliner, the Pan American Clipper, on a transatlantic flight from Southampton, England, to New York in war-darkened 1939, is the setting for Follett's high-flying caper, guaranteed to hold the reader in his seat. Recalling a time when air travel was an exotic adventure, master of epic suspense Follett ( Pillars of the Earth ) spins an excruciatingly taut drama on the aerial equivalent of the Orient Express. Persons unknown kidnap the wife of Clipper engineer Eddie Deakin from their home in Maine in order to force Deakin to maneuver an emergency landing in the choppy waters off Bangor. Apparently the shadowy conspirators plan to remove one of the passengers, an intriguing group who include an FBI agent transporting an extradited mafioso; a Russian princess; a British industrialist chasing his wife and her lover; an American movie star; an Oswald Mosely-like aristocrat turned fascist, his daughter and her lover, a young jewel thief. Details of early aviation firmly establish the cast in their era and a tantalizing mosaic of subplots whisks the reader through a whirlwind of romance and intrigue. Follet soars to a thoroughly satisfying ending with aeronautical precision. This is his best since The Eye of the Needle. Author tour.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

With the Dark Ages (The Pillars of the Earth, 1989) out of his system, Ken Follett returns to the spies, sex, and Nazis that did so well for him in Eye of the Needle. Fascinated by the huge flying boats launched by Pan Am in the late 1930's to fly the north Atlantic route, Follett has cooked up a sort of Airship of Fools or Flying Grand Hotel about a Clipper load of rich folks and lowlifes fleeing England after the declaration of war. The passengers include a fascist marquess and his family--so much like the Mitfords as to include a Nazi daughter and her socialist sister; a cuckolded industrialist chasing his pretty wife; an aging movie star; a Jewish refugee physicist; a suspected mafioso; a rich, powerful, but unloved American widow; the widow's weak, treacherous brother; and the handsome young jewel-thief without whom no such epic is complete. The danger that hangs over all these worthies is sabotage of the flight plan by an otherwise trustworthy flight engineer whose wife is being held captive in Maine by nameless rotten scoundrels. The merciless kidnappers want the plane set down early in order to remove a nameless someone before it reaches New York. Since the plane flies rather slowly and since there are three refueling stops, and since the beds make up into comfortable little berths, there is plenty of time for the passengers to search for the marchioness's priceless rubies, counterplot against the bad guys, stretch the legs in Irish pubs, quarrel, have reconciliations and indulge in a fair amount of good, healthy sex. No technothrills. No psychodrama. No fine writing. Hours of good storytelling. (Book-of-the-Month Split Main Selection for November) -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Ken Follett is one of those uneven writers who is just as likely to publish a great book as a mediocre one. Unfortunately, this is a mediocre one. In fact, it reminded me a great deal of those early WWII 'B' movies that studios used to turn out every couple of weeks, where the characters and the plot were pretty predictable and the outcome mostly certain. This book has some points of interest, mostly historical detail. Follett obviously has some kind of keen interest in the big flying boats of the period, but he doesn't use that fascination to advance the story well. The characters are stereotypes and the action is melodrama. The reader doesn't come away from this book with much to remember fondly.
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By A Customer on Sept. 27 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
What a crappy book. I read this after just finishing "Pillars of the Earth." I thought that was such a great book that I couldn't wait to sink my teeth into "Night Over Water." I wish I was wearing dentures so I could take them out and wash them. This book was a huge disappointment. Once I start a book I will finish it, but it was a chore finishing this. The characters are one dimensional. There are no surprises. The story would have been better off remaining in Mr. Follett's mind. It says nothing and goes nowhere I was interested in going. I'm amazed that a man capable of other great works could try to foist this off on the reading public. Guess he needed a few bucks. Read "Pillars of the Earth" again, instead.
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By A Customer on March 14 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Ken Follet takes you back to Pre-World-WarII in, Night Over Water. Through the eyes of different characters, Ken Follet shows you an imaginary flight on the Pan-American Clipper. The flight never happened due to the breakout of war in Europe but the flight depicts what the author thought would have happened on the final flight of the Pan-American Clipper from Europe to America. The story begins with several small stories, stories that all end up on the Clipper. It carried rich celebrities to royalty to businessmen. In the story, it carried movie stars, criminals, detectives, a journalist and an exiled landlord. Ken Follet takes you through the lives of different passengers all fighting different battles.
The clipper was the most luxurious plane of the time. Only a few people in the world could afford to ride in it. There are no longer any of the clippers, they all were scrapped and the parts used for other planes. The clipper had different compartments, all had at least 2 used. The main compartment changed from a lobby to a dining compartment. The seating compartments changed to sleeping bunks. The only rooms that didnt change were the operating rooms and the bathrooms.
During the course of the story, the characters all face many problems. There are disagreements in a family, betrayal in a family business, a summer affair and a scientist kicked out of his country because of his religion.
There were a few things I really liked about the book. What I liked most was how the small stories came together during the book. There were also a few things I didnt like. One of the things I didnt like was how the stories switched too suddenly. It didnt give you time to learn more about the story you just read about.
Once you start reading this book, its hard to put it down.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Ken Follet is a master storyteller and Night Over Water is a masterpiece of a story. The events take place at the outbreak of World War II and the story is told from the perspective of the multiple passengers on a special plane that flies from England to America. The chapters in the story rotate through the story's main characters (i.e. the passengers), each of whom is coping with some type of personal or professional crisis in their lives. It all comes together though and the story continuously piques the reader's interest without the confusion or malaise that can happen when many characters are active in a story.

As always, Follet has researched the subject matter thoroughly and this provides the story with immense credibility and readability. Unlike many other novels within the `thriller' genre, there is never a moment where the reader feels as though they've been taken for a fool because the author has over-sensationalized an event. In this regard, Follet is a first rate story teller and Night Over Water is without doubt one of the jewels in his crown.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Ken Follett can write better than this, and he has on several occasions. That said, this is still a better thriller than 95% of the novels in the genre - the rating is based solely on that comparison.
As other reviewers have pointed out, Follett gives the reader an excellent course in the design, interior, and the "feel" of the Pan Am Clipper; I didn't know anything about this aircraft before I read the book, and Follett's lessons are designed so that any layman can understand them.
But while the plot of this story is well-designed and totally logical, the people come off as cartoon characters. None of them are fully developed human beings in any sense of the word. And the conclusion is curiously incomplete - something unusual in a Ken Follett novel.
As an introduction to Follett's work this would turn anyone off of his other, much better, works - "The Key to Rebecca" and "Eye of the Needle", to name two. I would recommend this book only if you've read some of his other novels, so you can judge for yourself what he's really capable of writing.
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