Thursday, January 03, 2013

Night Over Water, by Ken Follett

Night Over Water, by Ken Follett

Set largely aboard the Pan Am Clipper, the legendary aircraft that launched commercial transatlantic service, Night Over Water is a somewhat entertaining, if far-fetched, read. The multiple plots follow the passengers and crew of a flight from the UK to the US immediately after war broke out between England and Nazi Germany, intertwining when they all board and begin interacting with each other. The descriptions of the plane were captivating and it often seems almost another character rather than the setting; as a reasonably frequent overseas traveler the luxury in which people traveled back then is virtually unrecognizable to the state of air transportation today. Of course, having three stops between Southampton and New York taking over 27 hours to make the journey is also hard to imagine today! Unfortunately, the people aren't as compelling; most are shallow caricatures—the lucky thief, the whiny teenager, the English fascist, the forthright engineer, the evil sibling, and so on—and more than one appears in a scene or two and then simply vanishes from the book. The multiple plots vary enough that they hold your interest, though; if it wasn't for the somewhat graphic sex scenes I'd say this was a good novel to give to a younger reader making the switch to adult fiction. While I won't recommend this book to anyone, I won't dissuade anyone from reading it either. Very average, which is disappointing for Follett.

First Sentence:
It was the most romantic plane ever made.

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