After plodding through Jeffrey Deaver’s well-written but ultimately insignificant James Bond novel, Carte Blanche, I turned my attention to Alistair MacLean’s When Eight Bells Toll. Here, at last, was a writer that knew how to create a memorable action scene. I last read When Eight Bells Toll about forty years ago. I am pleased to report it has aged very well indeed, like a fine wine with a heady aroma. All of MacLean’s books are like that. He possessed an uncanny ability to take a simple plot and turn it into a rousing adventure tale. Perhaps his best known novel is The Guns of Navarone. I’m quite fond of Caravan to Vaccares and western fans will no doubt recall
I would also recommend Puppet on a Chain, Force 10 From Navarone, Where Eagles Dare, and Ice Station Zebra. Breakheart Pass.
There isn’t anyone writing international thrillers today that has MacLean’s talent, although more than a few of them are making a valiant effort. But MacLean shared with Ian Fleming a zest for words, an understanding of character, and an eye for location. Do yourself a favor, pick up one of the new editions being re-released by Sterling Publishing. I think four titles are available now - When Eight Bells Toll, The Guns of Navarone, H.M.S. Ulysses, Ice Station Zebra and the
– with The Satan Bug, Where Eagles Dare, Lonely Sea , Force 10 From Navarone and Caravan to Vaccares scheduled for re-release in the very near future. You can visit the Sterling Publishing website HERE. Meanwhile, forget Carte Blanche. You’ll get more bang for your buck with Alistair MacLean. Bear Island