Book Review – When Eight Bells Toll – Alistair MacLean

Several ships carrying gold bullion have been hijacked and Secret Service Agent, Philip Calvert is on the case. Dealing with the ruthless hijackers as well as the treacherous conditions might be more than Calvert can handle.

A classic example of Alistair MacLean‘s writing. The story, set in an enclosed space or area, this time, the Western Isles off Scotland. The main character who might not be perfect but can work out what is happening eventually. Other characters who aren’t who they seem. A twisting plot that keeps the reader guessing right until the last few pages. Its all here. Some great lines and paragraphs show exactly what MacLean was capable of when he was firing on all cylinders.

True, today is very different from 1966. 12 million in gold bullion is still a big number but lottery winners get more than that every couple of weeks. The limitations of the communications at the time are almost laughable compared to the technology that we have today. There are various reasons why When Eight Bells Toll is dated and yet none of them detract from the excellent story telling within.

Alistair MacLean‘s style of writing has inspired so many good writers. Dean Koontz, for example, wrote his first novel, Icebound, in a very similar style to MacLean. Matthew Riley has written several novels that capture the adrenaline rush of MacLeans books. Not stopping to fill in unwanted details, jut keeping the reader turning the pages.

A fast read, an enjoyable read and a read that although dated, stands up well against the test of time!

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