The Guns of Navarone / Force 10 from Navarone Audio CD – Jun 3 2010
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'Could hardly be bettered.' Sunday Times 'Its strength comes from the speed of its narrative, its vivid creation of tensions and its power in handling descriptions of action.' Evening Standard 'Action sustained at a high pitch. From the outset there is a feeling of suspense: a problem that can only be solved by action involving danger and demanding courage ... an insistently gripping tale.' Scotsman
About the Author
Alistair MacLean, the son of a minister, was brought up in the Scottish Highlands. In 1941 he joined the Royal Navy. After the war he read English at Glasgow University and became a teacher. Two and a half years spent aboard a wartime cruiser gave him the background for HMS Ulysses, his remarkably successful first novel, published in 1955. He is now recognized as one of the outstanding popular writers of the 20th century, the author of 29 worldwide bestsellers, many of which have been filmed.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
"The Guns of Navarone" is a fantastic adventure/war novel. It's tight and tense throughout, and there's an edge to it that is missing from a number of MacLean's later works. It comes across as more realistic than the fun to read "Where Eagles Dare."
The basic plot of "Guns" is that the, during World War II, the Germans have recaptured from the Allies a number of Greek islands; the last one left will be taken over soon, dooming over 1000 Allied soldiers. The British would evacuate the soliders, except they can't get through a channel covered by the Guns of Navarone. All previous aerial attacks on the guns have failed. So Mallory and company are sent on a mission to approach the island of Navarone by boat, climb a sheer wall face, infiltrate the German fortress, and blow up the guns.
"Force 10" is the sequel to "Guns," written eleven years later. It picks up from the ending of the movie, not the novel, so characters who were in the book but not the movie disappear. This time, there's another mission, and Mallory, Andrea, and Miller are paired with three young soldiers who are more eager and less experienced. It too has an edginess to it, but it's not as thrilling as "Guns."
Note that the movie version of "Force 10" starring Harrison Ford, Robert Shaw, and Edward Fox is based on the book in name only (well, except for one fight scene, sort of). Andrea isn't even in the movie. So don't expect the book to be anything like the movie. (Which may be good or bad depending on what you thought of the movie.)
In sum, these are prime examples of MacLean working at his peak. You can't go wrong here.
Force 10 merits a mixed review. Though billed as a sequel to Guns, it is actually a sequel to the movie version, which added the usual Hollywood froth to the book, and hence is a bit disorienting for the reader who has not seen the movie. Based in what used to be Yugoslavia, our team of heroes, now somewhat abridged, attempts a brilliant feint to fool the Nazis as to the direction of the main Allied attack into Europe. The feint also has a significant local impact of course. Again an excellent thriller (my only real beef is the discontinuity with the Guns novel) and in fact both Guns and Force 10 are MacLean at his early best, when his novels were concise doses of thrilling action. Among his early strengths were high quality dialog and terrific descriptions, especially of events of nature like storms and floods. Excellent suspense for the most part, fast paced action, believable yet wondrous storyline and gripping prose. Good for an air or train journey or even vacation reading.
(Personally I have read the book around 75 times and can still read it with the same enthusiasum as though it is the first time.)