The author of this book is Alistair MacLean. His whole name is Alistair Stuart MacLean; some of his books are published under the pseudonym Ian Stuart. He was born in Scotland in 1922, and was son of a minister. His father died when he was 14 years old. At the age of 17, he joined the navy, and under World War II he worked as a torpedo man. Alistair’s first novel was H.M.S. Ulysses in 1955. After this publication, himself and Alastair MacNeill wrote many books together, but Alistair ha written most of them alone. Alastair MacNeill was born in 1960, so you can do the math of which books MacLean wrote alone. When MacLean died in 1987 he left behind several layouts for new stories that MacNeill worked on, and gave out. Alistair’s most known books are:
o H.M.S. Ulysses, 1955
o The Guns of Navarone, 1957
o South by Java Head, 1957
o The Last Frontier, 1959
o Night without End, 1960
o Fear Is the Key, 1961
o The Dark Crusader, 1961 (as Ian Stuart)
o The Satan Bug, 1962 (as Ian Stuart)
o Ice Station Zebra, 1963
o Where Eagles Dare, 1967
o Force 10 from Navarone, 1968
o Bear Island, 1971
o Alistair MacLean Introduces Scotland, 1972
o Seawitch, 1977
o River of Death, 1981
o Partisans, 1982
o The Lonely Sea, 1985
Captain Keith Mallory: The leader of the operation, and a famous mountain-climber.
Colonel Andrea Stavros: One of Mallory’s good friends and
Colonel Dusty Miller: The last man in the trio “Force 10 from Navarone”.
Sergeant Reynolds: One of three sergeants hired in to help the original force. A stubborn man who often questions orders,
Sergeant Groves: The second sergeant hired in.
Sergeant Saunders: The third sergeant hired in.
Petar: A man who appears to be a blind singer, but he’s really the head of British espionage in the Balkans.
Maria: A girl who appears to be Petar’s sister, but is a British spy.
General Jensen: Mallory’s superior and the brain behind the operation.
Hauptmann Neufeld: Leader in the camp where Force 10 land in Bosnia, also an important part in the plan.
Droshny: A Cetnik-leader, next-commander in Neufeld’s camp.
General Zimmermann: The man in charge of two armoured divisions, that’ll have to be eliminated.
Published in 1968. Book number two about Mallory, Andrea and Miller. Book number one is named “The Guns of Navarone”. In this book Mallory, Andrea and Miller blows up the Guns of Navarone, to very important guns. A film is also made of “The Guns of Navarone”, many mixes the first book, the second book, and the film.
The chapters in the book are divided into time zones. A chapter can be named Saturday 0015-0100. And then the next chapter is Saturday 0100-0230
Mallory, Andrea and Miller have just accomplished the mission at Navarone, when they are sent on a mission in Bosnia. Their mission is to rescue a trapped divisions of Partisans, some lost British agents, and convince the Germans that a major assault is coming in Yugoslavia, so they will withdraw the troops they have on the Gustav-Line in Italy.
Mallory, Andrea, Miller, Reynolds, Groves and Saunders are placed on a plane to Bosnia, everyone, except Mallory thinks they are just rescuing some British agents. Only Mallory knows the whole plan. Andrea and Miller know that Mallory knows what he’s doing, but the three sergeants doesn’t like that they are not being informed.
The force tricks Hauptmann Neufeld and his men, that they’re on their side. But they use the freedom they get to fix things they need, like an airplane out of Bosnia when the mission is accomplished. They also fool Neufeld to think that a major assault is coming. Neufeld tells this to his superior, General Zimmermann, who sends both his armoured divisions over the Neretva Bridge.
Nearby the Neretva Bridge, there is a dam, the Neretva Dam. Mallory plans to blow up this dam, when the divisions of Zimmermann are nearby. Blowing up the dam is a very difficult task. Germans are patrolling the dam, and Neufeld, Droshny and their men found out about what Mallory was up to, and followed them when they went to blow up the dam. After a lot of gunfire, fighting and knife throwing our heroes manage to blow up the dam, but Reynolds, Groves and Saunders was killed during the adventure.
The story ends with Mallory horror-stricken, he’s just got the message of another assignment…
What I think about the book:
I think the book was pretty exciting. MacLean portrays everything, especially in the action scenes, and it can actually be too much once in a while. When too many details appear, your brain doesn’t manage to put all the expressions in order, and you don’t understand a thing. This is a good book, it’ll take some time to get into it, but when you have read the first 50-60 pages, it starts to get exciting. I would recommend this book to people that is interested in war and action.