Night over Water

( 109 )

Overview

September 1939. England is at war with Nazi Germany. In Southampton, the world’s most luxurious airliner—the legendary Pan Am clipper—takes off for its final flight to neutral America. Aboard are the cream of society and the dregs of humanity, all fleeing the war for reasons of their own…shadowed by a danger they do not know exists…and heading straight into a storm of violence, intrigue, and betrayal….

Shortly before Britain enters the war in 1939, a group of ...

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Night over Water

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Overview

September 1939. England is at war with Nazi Germany. In Southampton, the world’s most luxurious airliner—the legendary Pan Am clipper—takes off for its final flight to neutral America. Aboard are the cream of society and the dregs of humanity, all fleeing the war for reasons of their own…shadowed by a danger they do not know exists…and heading straight into a storm of violence, intrigue, and betrayal….

Shortly before Britain enters the war in 1939, a group of desperate people escape on the Pan Am Clipper bound for New York--unaware that there's a plot to sabotage the 30-hour flight.

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Editorial Reviews

Washington Post Book World
Follett is a master.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's 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.
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)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780451173133
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/15/1992
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 544
  • Sales rank: 183,844
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 4.12 (h) x 1.45 (d)

Meet the Author

Ken Follett
Ken Follett is the author of numerous international bestsellers, including Jackdaws, Hornet Flight, Code to Zero, Triple, Eye of the Needle, Pillars of the Earth, and A Dangerous Fortune. He lives in England.

Biography

As a young boy growing up in Cardiff, Wales, Ken Follett's love for all things literary began early on. The son of devoutly religious parents who didn't allow their children to watch television or even listen to the radio, Follett found himself drawn to the library. It soon became his favorite place -- its shelves full of stories providing his escape, and ultimately, his inspiration.

Follett's more formal education took place years later at London's University College, where he studied philosophy -- a choice that, as he explains on his official Web site, he believes guided his career as an author. "There is a real connection between philosophy and fiction," Follet explains. "In philosophy you deal with questions like: ‘We're sitting at this table, but is the table real?' A daft question, but in studying philosophy, you need to take that sort of thing seriously and have an off-the-wall imagination. Writing fiction is the same."

After graduating in 1970, a journalism class touched off Follett's career as a writer. He started out covering beats for the South Wales Echo, and later wrote a column for London's Evening News. Becoming more and more interested in writing fiction on evenings and weekends, however, Follett soon realized that books were his true business, and in 1974 he went to work for Everest Books, a humble London publishing house.

After releasing a few of his own novels to less than thunderous acclaim --including The Shakeout (1975) and Paper Money (1977) -- Follett finally hit it big with 1978's Eye of the Needle. The taut, edgy thriller with more than a dash of sex appeal flew off the shelves, winning the Edgar award and allowing Follett to quit his job and get to work on his next book, Triple. Showing no signs of a sophomore slump, Triple went on to spark a string of bestselling spy thrillers, including The Key to Rebecca (1980), The Man from St. Petersburg (1982), and Lie Down with Lions (1986). 1983's On Wings of Eagles was an interesting departure -- a nonfiction account of how two of Ross Perot's employees were rescued from Iran in 1979.

Follett changed direction even more sharply in 1989, surprising fans with The Pillars of the Earth -- a novel set in the Middle Ages many critics considered his crowning achievement. "A novel of majesty and power," said The Chicago Sun-Times of Follett's epic story. "It will hold you, fascinate you, surround you."

Follett's next three books were a trio considered to be more suspenseful than thrill-filled -- Night Over Water (1991), A Dangerous Fortune (1993) and A Place Called Freedom (1995), but The Third Twin (1996) and The Hammer of Eden (1998) marked a return to Follett's trademark capers. The wartime novels Code to Zero (2000) and Jackdaws (2001) showcased Follett's "unique ability to tell stories of international conflict and tell them well," according to Larry King in USA Today.

Follett "hits the mark again" (Publishers Weekly) with his latest story of international intrigue, Hornet Flight (2002) -- the WWII story of a young couple trying to escape occupied Denmark in a rebuilt Hornet Moth biplane who become unwitting carriers of top-secret information.

In a way, Follett's smash-hit success has allowed him to give back to the library of Cardiff, Wales -- by filling its shelves with his own transporting tales.

Good To Know

Eye of the Needle was made into a major motion picture, and four of Follett's books have been made into television mini-series: The Key to Rebecca, Lie Down with Lions, On Wings of Eagles and The Third Twin -- the rights for which were sold to CBS for the record sum of $1,400,000.

A very civic-minded soul, Follett is quite involved in his Hertfordshire community, serving as President of the Dyslexia Institute, Council Member of the National Literacy Trust, Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Chair of Governors of the Roebuck Primary School & Nursery, Patron of Stevenage Home-Start, director of the Stevenage Leisure Ltd. and Vice-President of the Stevenage Borough Football club.

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    1. Hometown:
      Hertfordshire, England
    1. Date of Birth:
      June 5, 1949
    2. Place of Birth:
      Cardiff, Wales
    1. Education:
      B.A. in Philosophy, University College, London, 1970

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 109 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(46)

4 Star

(37)

3 Star

(17)

2 Star

(5)

1 Star

(4)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 109 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2009

    A compelling read

    Follett's character development was stunning, really pulling you into the story. The premise, all characters are passengers from different walks of life on the air ship on its last trans-Atlantic flight, was unique; the time setting, just as WWII is declared in England, is a truly dramatic setting. When the story ended, I wanted to know what happened to the characters subsequently.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 14, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Great cast & amazing premise!

    Ken Follett always does such an amazing job of blending history into a fantastic fiction piece this time involving one of the last sea planes to cross the Atlantic at the start of World War II. The book really shines with the many cast members all being fleshed out and becoming individuals. This was a great drama with personal relationships thrown into a war time action novel. Great stuff!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2013

    Ken Follett is fabulous!!!

    Riverclan members can all go home.You are no longer welcome ANYWHERE.Quit using the review sites to communicate with "friends" you've never met and wouldn't like even if you had met them! You are all such destructive bab

    2 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2013

    I'm reading this book for the second time; the first time I read

    I'm reading this book for the second time; the first time I read it was just after it was written in the early nineties. It reminds me of watching an old black-and-white movie. The characters, their surroundings and the way they talk and act are perfectly in tune with the period in which the story is set. Just as gripping the second time round, I think this is a wonderful read. 

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2013

    Flight Over Water

    I am a huge fan of Follett. Of all the books I have read this one was a bit weak though enjoyable. This doesn't discourage me from reading more.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2013

    A piece of crap

    Really dull and pointless

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 15, 2013

    Superb mystery with pre-wwII historic backdrop. The characters w

    Superb mystery with pre-wwII historic backdrop. The characters were well-defined but at times it was a bit difficult keeping up with the point of view switches. Overall, an interesting concept with the villain well-concealed in the mass of characters. Recommended for mystery readers.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2014

    Very engaging, strong historical footing.

    Very engaging, strong historical footing.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 1, 2013

    This was another amazing work by Ken Follett.  The story was so

    This was another amazing work by Ken Follett.  The story was so intense I lost major amounts of sleep wantig to see what would happen next.  The ending really blew me away.  A FANTASTIC read!!!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2013

    To serireria

    *i start sucking ur bo.obs*

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 29, 2013

    Very Good Book

    Loved this book. Never did drag and never a dull moment. I highly recommend it.
    Clarice Bostick

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2013

    Great story!

    Ken Follett is one of the best! A book that is hard to put down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2012

    An Excellent Read!

    This is the kind of book I love! No over the top, unbelievable storyline. Mr. Follet's ability to describe in such detail the way the interior of the plane was laid out and all it's amenities was amazing. You really could get into the story. I could not put this book down.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2012

    If you like historical fiction - read this!

    The author does a great job of bring the history of the plane into the story line. You can actually picture what he is describing and feel as though you are flying on the plane yourself.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 18, 2012

    A Must Read

    Couldn't put this book down once I started it. Enjoyed the story line and the characters. This is very fast paced with a touch of history. I highly recommend it.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2012

    RIVERCLAN TERRITORY

    Trespassers may experience symtoms such as being shredded, drowned, attacked, chased off, or killed violently. Have a nice day!

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2012

    I recommend.

    One of the author's better novels. It has a variety of characters with whom to relate...or not.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 18, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Gr8 read

    Interesting characters !

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  • Posted March 5, 2011

    Up and away, into the wild blue yonder...

    Wow. This is without question one of my all-time favorite books. It's like "Murder on the Orient Express Part Two: The Sky's the Limit!" Ditto all the other rah-rah comments about characters, plot, structure...and add to that it's one great SOAP OPERA - with sex, violence, and an almost James Bond-like ending. I actually thought that this book might be "stuffy" (at first) because Follett spent so much time developing the characters, but once the flight started, the story literally "took off." Night Over Water is both a solid read and a great period piece...Buy it, read it!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2011

    jenu

    Never knew this aircraft/ship exsisted. Enjoyed the history lesson. Follet does a great job.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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