Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Night Over Water

I've completed another audio book: Night Over Water by Ken Follett. Regular readers of this blog will know that I listen to an audio book back and forth to work every day, about a 30 minute commute for me one way. I selected this one from the library because I have read 4 or 5 Ken Follett novels so far and while some have been better than others, I have never felt that I've wasted my time.

This novel takes place in 1939 just after England has entered World War II. It's told from multiple points of view, all from people who will take a flight aboard a Pan-Am Clipper (a truly luxurious (and historically accurate) airplane in the second 2/3rds of the book. This is sort of like a "Murder on the Orient Express" set-up although more thriller than who-dunnit mystery. Passengers include business people, aritocratic families, a debutante, a film star, a petty thief, etc. They all have reasons for being on this luxury plane ride across the Atlantic, some of them because they want to be there and some because they have to be. The thriller/action part of the plot surrounds the lead engineer of the plane who is forced to sabotage it in order to save his wife who has been kidnapped by mafia types in America. They want to spring one of their compadres from on board who is being transported back to jail in the US. In the end it turns out to be much more complicated than that even and most of the characters that were unknown to each other at the beginning are involved together in the action at the end.

This is a well-plotted novel; the suspense builds as we make our way through the story and we get to see events from several perspectives. Mr Follett does a great job building his characters and even though there are quite a lot of them, it is easy to follow the action because we know them so well. And he does a fantastic job of establishing the atmosphere. The descriptions of the scenes and especially the dialog of the characters really brought me in to the era. Sometimes it was like I was watching a Humphrey Bogart movie. The only problem I had was not with the novel itself but rather the production of the audio discs I was listening too. The narrator did a good job of voicing so many parts but it seemed like the whole thing had been spliced together one sentence at a time. It made it sort of disjointed and it definitely interfered with the "Losing oneself in the story" aspect. Regardless of that, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and rank it among the best of Ken Follett's work I have experienced so far.

Next audio book for me: Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead. Coming in at a cool 24 discs this one's going to take me to Thanksgiving to finish...

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Top 10 Books in no particular order (Well Known Authors)

  • "The Stand" by Stephen King
  • "Kane and Able" by Jeffrey Archer
  • "The Killer Angels" by Michael Shaara
  • "The Dark Elf Trilogy" by RA Salvatore
  • "Name of the Wind" by Patrick Rothfuss
  • "River God" by Wilbur Smith
  • "Mortalis" by RA Salvatore
  • "Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card
  • "Centennial" by James A Michener
  • "The Repairman Jack" series by F. Paul Wilson

Top Books/ Series in no particular order (Lesser Known Authors)

  • "The Sculpter" by Gregory Funaro
  • "Power Down" by Ben Coes
  • "Revolution at Sea Saga" by James L. Nelson
  • "Black Rain" by Graham Brown
  • "Top Producer" by Norb Vonnegut
  • "Prairie" by Anna Lee Waldo
  • "The Wild Blue" by W. Boyne & S Thompson
  • "Unsolicited" series by Julie Kaewert
  • "Freedom" by William Safire