There are very few books that I have read twice but this is one of them.
I first read it several years ago, so I picked it up when I saw it in the Charity Shop and the story was fresh again.
Most of the story is set aboard a luxury flying boat, one of Boeing B-314 Clippers operated by Pan American Airways. These were large aircraft, the most luxurious ever built with seats for only about 20 people who were flown across the Atlantic to America in complete luxury. As the journey took over 24 hours the passengers spent a night on the aircraft with the seats converting into bunks as on a sleeper train.
War has just broken out in Europe in 1939 and most of the passengers are fleeing England but for different reasons. There is a fascist English Lord and his family who have to flee from possible internment, a German scientist escaping from the Nazis, a murderer under FBI escort, a young wife fleeing a domineering husband and an unscrupulous thief.
We hear each one’s story and then KF weaves them together in a grand story. You are never sure how it will end as Follett keeps you guessing right to the end. Each character is beautifully drawn so that you feel you are on the aircraft with them.
I cannot give many details of the story as it is so complicated with all the various characters, but it is easily followed. The characters are fictional of course, but the plane actually existed and flew this route, although only for a limited time.
Even though the book is 640 pages long, you will be disappointed when you get to the end.
Another grand saga from Follett and thoroughly recommended.