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Publisher's Summary

On a bright September morning in 1939, two days after Britain declares war on Germany, a group of privileged but desperate people gather in Southhampton to board the largest, most luxurious airliner ever built - the Pan American Clipper - bound for New York.

The passengers include a fascist English aristocrat fleeing with his family and a fortune in jewels; a German scientist escaping from the Nazis; a murderer under FBI escort; a beautiful young woman heading for a new life; and a handsome, charming, unscrupulous thief.

They will be in the air for 30 hours, soothed by the carpeted lounges, the curtained beds, the gourmet dining room, and the endless champagne. But once inside the flying palace, there is no escape. Over the Atlantic, the Clipper's passengers are gripped by mounting fear and tension as their journey reaches the point of no return.

©1991 Ken Follett; (P)1991 Brilliance Audio

Critic Reviews

"Follet soars to a thoroughly satisfying ending with aeronautical precision." (Publishers Weekly)
"Tom Casaletto's glib performance makes this seemingly endless journey fly by with ease. His many accents are first-rate." (AudioFile)

What members say

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  • Overall

Fun Listen

Follett weaves another fine yarn!

This book is written from the perspective of a handful of different characters who all end up on a transatlantic flight together.

As a master story teller, he weaves it all together exceptionally well, combining action, romance and intrigue.

The conversations and actions near the end get a little cliche' and campy but I think Follet was just trying to capture how people really spoke in 1939 as opposed to sounding a little hokey at times.

The narrator was good.

Of his recent Audible releases, I would rate this one the second best behind "A Dangerous Fortune", which was terrific. The Needle, Triple and Lie Down with Lions are decent but not as good.

I teetered between a 4 or 5 star and rounded up :)

33 of 35 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Good Yarn With a Few Unexpected Twists

This story will keep you engaged throughout. The characters are well developed separately and brought together with some interesting consequences. Follett is truly a great storyteller more than a great writer. Sure, there are some slightly implausible parts where you think, "Why doesn't he do this or do that?" But, hey, this is a fun story and not a literary masterpiece. If you are the type that scoffs and shoots holes in stories, go ahead. But if you are looking for a fun plane ride with lots of bumps and twists, give it a try.
One caveat, the sex scenes are more descriptive and frequent than is necessary for the story.

18 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story


I was entertained and I learned some things about history. This takes place just before World War II broke out, and I believe you get a feel about what life was like back then. It was interesting to hear about 19 and 21 year olds that have to run away from home. Today we might find it hard to believe that back at that time, some Englishmen would be pro Hitler. We have to remember that the world was just coming out of a Depression. It seemed as if Democracy was not working, people were starving, etc... It was also interesting to hear that some governments were hoping Hitler would destroy Russia. Plus you have to remember as is pointed out quite clearly in this story that Lords, Kings and Queens were still ruling several countries and most including England had Aristocracy, who held lots of power. There was a large caste system and Jews were hated by many.

I like Follett's writing even when it is not his best. He has some great characters and one of the main characters is a thief. I will have to admit at times this seems like an X rated version of the Love Boat. Anytime you read Follett, expect some sex, cause he writes about real life situations and sex happens.

The plane itself was pretty cool and Follett talks about it after the story ends. Unless you are a plane enthusiasts most people have probably never heard of the flying Love Boat.

For this book, I liked the narrator, he seemed to have the right voice for this type of story.

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Scott
  • Roseville, CA, United States
  • 09-18-08

Excellent Story

Follett spends a 1/3 of the book setting up his characters like dominoes. Then the plane takes off and he lets the dominoes tumble in wonderfully intertwined yet unpredictable patterns. Nearly all the characters are well developed and highly believable, several conflicted. The plot is more complex than one would expect in such a limited space. This story is very well researched, produced and narrated. Overall: A first rate thriller.

16 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Story ruined by poor narration

What would have made Night over Water better?

a better narrator, such as Frank Muller

How could the performance have been better?

The narrator, Casaletto, did a dreadful job with English accents. I gave up after a couple of chapters.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Extreme dissapointment with the narrator.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Lisa
  • Petersburg, VA, USA
  • 07-08-09

Great book, terrible narrator

I loved this book but listening to this particular narrator was painful. He put nearly the same inflection on every sentence, so that he always sounded as if he were reading the exciting line of a kid's book. If Follet weren't so good, I couldn't have kept going.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Sandyjean
  • Wilton, CA, United States
  • 07-14-12

This was Follet? NO!!

Would you try another book from Ken Follett and/or Tom Casaletto?

I love Ken Follet and have been enthralled by his other books. This was not one of them. The story line itself was good. The writing/sex/intregue were all so terribly boring.

On top of that, the reader was unexciting to say the least. He sounded bored with all of it. I was too.

Would you ever listen to anything by Ken Follett again?

Of course. Pillers of the Earth was unsurpassed.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

No interest in what he was reading.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Night over Water?

All the sex scenes. Someone said it was like sex of their grandmother. Yep!

Any additional comments?

Come on Mr. Follet. Please do what we know you can do.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

A Ship of Fools...

While I was listening to this, I thought-- I've got t re-read Katherine Anne Porter's "Ship of Fools" because this novel reminded me of "ship" in the air vs. sea. So after I finished listening to this, I did listen to "ship" and it wasn't a very good mental comparison.

Some of this repeats what I just wrote about "Ship."

Here's the thing, I've said in reviews before that more literary novels do not always fare so well as "listens." I think of Follet as storyteller, someone like the brilliant Bryce Courtney who puts together a brilliant story, and the story drives all, and the characters are quickly and proficiently sketched and the reader is quickly and professionally sucked in to a compelling narrative, an these books are tailor-madefor Audible. "Ship" is harder to carry off in Audible form -- it's a more psychological novel, and doesn't let you sit back (drive/commute/walk) and relax, you have to REALLY listen (or read). Or listen twice.

Follet as always is sheer storytelling enjoyment, strong narrative, fun, you'll want to speed-listen. Follet is perfect for Audible (or beach-reading) and is story telling its finest.

There are other good/legitimate reasons to read/listen as well, and "Ship" is not for the story, it's for the psychological insight. I love that I can honor two world class writers in one review, and encourage listening/reading to both for different reasons.

"Night Over water" will pull you in and give you great listen/story that you won't want to pause, as I expect from this author and have yet to be disappointed!

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Bruce
  • Dublin, OH, United States
  • 06-11-08

the early Ken Follett

The story took quite awhile to get going. The narrative seems to be more directed to a teenage audience then an adult one. The story telling, however, seems to presage the authors subsequent excellent stories.

The narrator does a fine job and his accents carry the story to a certain extent.

8 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

I Learned Something New!

Great story! Interesting and suspenseful the entire way through.

It was hard for me to follow the various story lines at first since I have trouble keeping track of names, but that didn’t last long and I soon got swept up by the plot.

I also loved learning about the Pan Am Clipper!! I knew nothing about it prior to this book; a fascinating little bit of history.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful