The Guns Of Navarone - Alistair MacLean

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The Guns Of Navarone - Alistair MacLean

The classic World War II thriller from the acclaimed master of action and suspense. Now reissued in a new cover style. Twelve hundred British soldiers...

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Review of "The Guns Of Navarone - Alistair MacLean"

published 28/03/2006 | workangel
Member since : 20/03/2006
Reviews : 20
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Excellent
Pro A brilliantly writtenWW2 thriller full of action, clever planning and bravery
Cons None
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"Alistair Macleans the Guns of Navarone."

I bought my copy of this book in a small bookshop in Stockton for £3.97 in their sale. I bought it specifically because my husband had bought the DVD and I always like to read a book before it is interpreted for film.

I have read one or two of Maclains other books and expected to enjoy this one, but was quite unprepared for just how good this book is. It has all the necessary ingredients for a totally absorbing book:

a truly great story
very well written
the right length

The story:

Set in world war 2 (WW2) the Germans need to bring Turkey into the war on their side - and use the theatre of the Greek Islands to demonstrate their strength and organisation and engineering prowess.

The Allies have a large contingent of soldiers on the isalnd of Crete under threat from the Germans and plans are made to evacuate the men onto a fleet of Navy ships. The only problem with this plan is that the ships have to pass close to the isalnd of Navarone - where the Germans have several huge guns, powerful enough to reach any ships passing through the straits,
These guns have been placed in battlements dug out of sheer rock faces and are totally inaccessible to an conventional assault. The safety of the ships and the thousands of troops on Crete depend on the destruction of these seemingly impregnable guns.

In London a small team is put together whose task is to rendezvous with the Resistance on Navarone and disable the guns, using the only way thought possible: that of scaling a virtually vertical rockface. The team has specialist climbers, bombers etc and successfully reaches Navarone, but is quickly becomes clear that the Germans are expecting an assault of some kind and are therefore at a high stage of alert.

The rest of the book is about the execution of their plans and the interaction between the team and the small resistance unit they work with.

Opinion

What made this book so good was the way Maclean creates atmosphere and tension in his writing plus his clearly drawn characters. The leader of the team, Mallory, is an outstanding climber and a natural leader. He recognises in Andrea, the leader of the resistance team, another natural leader and together they twist and tweak their plans until they can create a position to attack the guns.

There is an American, Dusty, who is part of the British team who is an explosives expert - he stands off and watches the interplay between the rest of the teams. You know he won't miss anything.

There are two female characters , vastly different and totally believable. They are not written in to pad the book out with a love interest, they show clearly the roles that were played by some women during the war and how important they were. Their sub plots are very interesting and add a new dynamic to the story.

All of the characters have a sub plot going on at the same time as the main target - and these are gradually rolled out to give the reader a better insight into them: you realise they had a life before the was that was totally different, or that they are not all as strong as they seem, that one or more are hiding big lies which can destroy the operation and everyone in it....

The plot moves along at a very good pace, and the teams move from one obstacle or blow to the next and you cannot read fast enough to see how they escape or cope. If your nerves are not strung out enough on the action front, then there is the constant awareness of the deadline for the ships going through the straits and the need for the guns to be silenced before they arrive. Plus - the Germans seem to be very good at finding them....

The book succeeds because of its strong story and pacey writing, great believable personnel and little insights into their non war lives, hopes and dreams. You can feel the tense courage of the teams and their absolute belief in their ability to succeed.

Its really stirring stuff !!

I will definitely reread it several times and almost certainly get more from it on each reading.


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Comments on this review

  • trevorbrock published 13/04/2006
    Now that takes me back - if I'm not mistaken I was reading that in the last couple of years of schooldays - had it been published originally in the 1960's? - Trevor
  • clownfoot published 07/04/2006
    Good stuff - I really need to get round to reading this and Where Eagles Dare to see if the books are just as good as the films based on Maclean's work. Alboy
  • Chouchinciao published 28/03/2006
    Good review of a good book, although his later books were rubbish. I liked the film too.
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Product Information : The Guns Of Navarone - Alistair MacLean

Manufacturer's product description

The classic World War II thriller from the acclaimed master of action and suspense. Now reissued in a new cover style. Twelve hundred British soldiers isolated on the small island of Kheros off the Turkish coast, waiting to die. Twelve hundred lives in jeopardy, lives that could be saved if only the guns could be silenced. The guns of Navarone, vigilant, savage and catastrophically accurate. Navarone itself, grim bastion of narrow straits manned by a mixed garrison of Germans and Italians, an apparently impregnable iron fortress. To Captain Keith Mallory, skllled saboteur, trained mountaineer, fell the task of leading the small party detailed to scale the vast, impossible precipice of Navarone and to blow up the guns. The Guns of Navarone is the story of that mission, the tale of a calculated risk taken in the time of war...

Product Details

Author: Alistair MacLean

Title: The Guns Of Navarone

Genre: Thriller

Type: Fiction

ISBN: 0006172474; 0286132966; 0385089953

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