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Night over Water

Written by: Ken Follett
Narrated by: Russell Bentley
Length: 18 hrs and 41 mins
5 out of 5 stars (3 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Set during the outbreak of the Second World War, Night over Water is a feat of storytelling from the best-selling master of the historical thriller, Ken Follett.

On a bright September morning in 1939, two days after Britain has declared war, a group of privileged but desperate people gather in Southampton to board the largest, most luxurious airliner ever built - the Pan American Clipper, bound for New York: an English aristocrat, fleeing with his family and a fortune in jewels; a German scientist, escaping from the Nazis; a murderer under FBI escort; a young wife running away from a domineering husband; and a handsome, unscrupulous thief....

©2018 Ken Follett (P)2018 Macmillan Digital Audio

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • JamesDevon
  • 08-11-18

Poor narration

Sounds very wooden; as if it is being read by software rather than a person. Made what is probably a good plot seem very tedious. As a result I gave up on the book.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Philip
  • 20-09-18

Not one of Follett's finest.

Predictable formulaic plot, simplistic dialogue, slow and tedious in places plus excessively graphic sex scenes. And did one of Follett's characters really say '... or else the girl gets it!'. Hmmm, one to avoid unfortunately.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Ian
  • 22-10-18

Astonishing poor narration

I was really looking forward to listening to this book. However, after an hour of listening I can’t listen to another minute of the awful, amateurish narration. An insult to the listener . I will have to return the book. Hopefully it will re-produced soon with a professional narrator

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • jken
  • 21-04-19

Great story

Really enjoyed the story but found the stilted reading style quite irritating. His accents were good though and a lot of readers can't do them.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Dr. view (London, England)
  • 13-03-19

best story for me loved it will read more of Ken l

best story for me loved it will read more of Ken Follett for the ages

1 person found this helpful

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  • mrs.d
  • 21-09-18

Good story diabolical narration

This was infuriating. The story and characters are a lot of fun - sort of orient express meets downton abbey beneath the shadow of war; romance and gangsters; might ‘die tomorrow so may as well sex’ in confined spaces.... But the awful narration was an insult to both listener and the poor author: like a cross between Thomas the tank engine and some awful vicar reading the bible; almost ever sentence read with a gap, then downward inflection (a full drop at the end as I came to think of it). Example of how little attention this lazy man gave to what he was actually reading was someone remarking ‘tonelessly’ with great animation and I could swear the characters were swapping accents. I ended up surviving the experience by mentally following the narration in my head and reinterpreting it as the words would have appeared on the page. Really do not know how anyone let this through the net. My advice - read the book and avoid this reader like the plague. (Oh and the characters, as depicted, were like cartoons - wildly ott accents that shredded the dialogue - so, maybe Thomas the tank meets chipper cartoon Americans and posh English people).

3 people found this helpful

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  • MH
  • 02-04-20

decent story, awful narrator

Narrator's voice dropped octave at the end of every single sentence. Very distracting. Otherwise the story was ok.

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  • N T
  • 05-11-19

not the best narrator

The narrator has a very odd intonation and cadence which at times detracts from the narrative.

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  • LB
  • 25-09-19

Worst book ever, by a huge margin.

A car crash of the worst writing/audio I have ever encountered.
This is such a heinous car crash of a book that I only listened to see if it could actually get any worse... and by god did it take that challenge and run with it.

Never has a book, audio or otherwise, literally (not figuratively!) made me exclaim out loud as yet another outrageously written mess is spouted out in the most heavy handed, amateurish fashion.

The writing style is as clumsy as a drunken three legged blind bull on roller skates trying to get around a china shop that has a greased floor... and the shop is on an ocean liner in rough seas.

Ken Follett knows a bit about wartime history, or at least enough to not make the less knowledgeable listener turn off in exasperation of any inaccuracies, but for every bit he gets right, the rest is rubbish that he clearly hopes no one will notice.

I can't cook a Michelin star winning meal, but that doesn't mean I don't know a bad meal when I eat one, and this is a bad meal. See that analogy? That used a comparison to something people would know about, whereas Follett uses something hardly anyone understands, to explain something else that hardly anyone else would understand... Poor writing.

His amorous scenes are embarrassingly written, as if by a schoolboy who only knows about sex from the imagined and inexperienced playground stories from other boys, and a GCSE biology book. Has Follett ever met a real woman? His writing suggests not. The sex scenes alone are hilarious due to his abominable handling of the subject.

Luckily a good narrator can save a story, hence why I purchased this one. I had listened to Jackdaws, and although the non-historic parts were sub-par, the wartime feel was compelling. Sadly, again, the sex scenes would have been better off with the lovers looking into each others eyes... and then ending the chapter, letting the listener fill in the blanks (a monk or nun would probably fill in the blanks more convincingly than Follett!). Either way, the narrator was good enough to make me try Follett again.

The narrator this time though is awful.

With a rollercoaster inflecture and random grammatical pauses, stops and run ons, Russell Bentley's narration soon starts to overshadow the tedious long winded start to the story. With emphasis WHERE there should BE none, and, ran, dom sentence structures that. Are so fragmented that you get whiplashed Bentley's vocal style quickly. Becomes irritating.

Just like that.

Add that vocal style to one of the clumsily written scenes of passion and you'd swear that this whole thing was just a bet to see how bad a story could be, yet still sell.

A good narrator can save a story, and a good writer can make up for poor narration. In this case the two got together and beat the life out of this audiobook, leaving the listener with no desire to purchase anything with either the writer or narrator in again.

You have been warned.

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  • robert thompson
  • 30-05-19

Great job Mr Follett!

I thought that the narration was excellent. I couldn't fault it. I didn't want to put the book down. I couldn't wait to see how the story unfolded.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Carolyne
  • 12-09-18

Slow

The story is as tedious as a trans Atlantic crossing would have been. Although the story was obviously well researched, it got totally bogged down in its attempts to keep the reader in the Clipper aircraft .
One of Ken Follets worst books

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  • Bill
  • 31-03-19

Exiting and technical

Enjoyable multi plot adventure, would like a sequel. Liked the twist at the end with the good guys coming through