Book Review: When Eight Bells Toll By Alistair Maclean

joyalariwoStarred Page By joyalariwo, 2nd Nov 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Reviews>Film & TV>Action

A gang of murderous pirates seem to control the high seas of Scotland, soon both crew, vessels and cargo disappear mysteriously....

When Eight Bells Toll In A Nutshell

A new ring of smugglers were terrorizing the seas of Scotland, they were ruthless, calculating and vicious cutthroats, they were also impossibly always privy to the time and place of precious cargo and knew when to strike because soon both vessel, cargo and crew disappeared from the face of the earth without a trace.

Who they were or how they managed to get their information was still a mystery just their modus operandi seemed clear yet not so clear.

Phillip Calvert a secret agent in the employ of Her Majesty's service, is called upon to do something about it, he thinks short of magic will do the trick, especially when his plans go awry. Worse the secret agents he put undercover in the Nantesville were all killed in a gruesome manner by none other than a maniac.

Calvert takes on the responsibility for their deaths and vows to catch these murderous pirates but he soon discovered that rather than unmasking the smugglers, he seemed to be always fighting to stay alive.

My Thoughts

From the first page I was hooked and Calvert our main character was already fighting for his life, brilliant plot lines that certainly kept me on my toes, When Eight BellsToll by Alistair Maclean was a delightful read. It was an enjoyable short read, didn't want to stop until the last page!

Calvert Vs James Bond

I liked the way Alistair Maclean portrayed Calvert, he wasn't like our regular secret agents such as 007, or as how Timothy Dalton or Pearce Bronson would have played James Bond. Calvert was 007 portrayed by Daniel Craig, only more aggressively rude and yes definitely brutal.

Also it was quite weird yet funny the way Calvert was constantly bellyaching and always complaining, if it wasn't about the minimum wage and lack of pension, it would be the working hours or conditions, or the lack of respect and recognition from Admiral Sir Arthur Arnford - Jason K.C.B Calvert grumbled about the weather too, he complained about everything even about himself.... Oh what a hero!

Memorable Texts

Inshort when a Peacemaker's bullet hits you in, say the leg, you don't curse, step shelter, roll and light a cigarette one handed then smartly shoot your assailant between the eyes. When a Peacemaker's bullet hits your leg, you fall to the ground unconscious and if it hits the thigh bone and you are lucky enough to survive the torn arteries and shock, then you will never walk again without crutches because a totally disintegrated femur leaves the surgeon with no option but to cut your leg off. And so I stood motionless, not breathing for the Peacemaker Colt that had prompted this unpleasant train of thought was pointed directly at my right thigh. pg 5.

My eyes went back to the hand. The angle of the Colt hadn't varied by a fraction of a degree. Unconsciously, almost, I braced my right leg to meet the impending shock. Defensively, this was a very good move, about as useful as holding up a sheet of newspaper in front of me. I wished to God that Colonel Sam Colt had gone in for inventing something else, something like safety pins. pg 6.

It was as black as the Earl of hell's waistcoat. The sky was black, the woods were black and the icy heavy driving rain reduced what little visibility there was to just nothing at all. The only way to locate a tree was to walk straight into it, the only way to locate a dip in the ground was to fall into it. pg 70.

There was a pause, then she said: "You could have pushed these two over the edge if you wanted to, couldn't you. But you didn't. You could have cut Harry's arm, but you cut your own. I'm sorry for what I said Mr.Calvert about you being horrible and terrible. You do what you have to do" Another pause. "I think you're rather wonderful"

"They come around in the end" I said but I was talking to myself, she'd vanished into the mist. I wished drearily that I could have agreed with her sentiments, I didn't feel wonderful at all, I just felt dead tired and worried stiff for with all the best planning in the world there were too many imponderables and I wouldn't have bet a brass farthing on the next twenty-four hours. I got some of the worry and frustration out of my system by kicking the two prisoners to their feet. pg 185.

Errors, Photo Credits & Articles

I was surprised when my usual suspects turned out to be innocent, I did notice some blips in terms of timing, in pages 5 and 70 dusk was called dawn and vice versa.

When Eight Bells Toll By Alistair Maclean was an enjoyable short read and it is worth reading, its also a motion picture starring Anthony Hopkins, I will definitely watch out for it and see how the movie goes.

Many many thanks to El Allaoui Omar, check out my other book reviews:

The Fires Of Heaven

Done To Perfection

The Romanov Prophesy


Book Review, Books Made Into Movies, British Secret Agents, Espionage, Joyalariwo, My Thoughts, Pirates, Secret Agents, Smugglers

Meet the author

author avatar joyalariwo
I am a screen writer who loves reading, watching movies and gardening. I like traveling and meeting people, here's hoping you enjoy my writing as well!

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
6th Dec 2013 (#)

sounds awfully good reading my friend...will order it from the library...thanks much..

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
7th Dec 2013 (#)

Interesting. If Hopkins is in the movie, I will probably watch that. ;)

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author avatar Legend
8th Dec 2013 (#)

I love Maclean - that's one writer who definitely knows how to write

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author avatar Ptrikha
3rd Feb 2014 (#)

I have read "Athabasca" and "Santorini" written by Alistair Maclean. His description of naval ships, as well as intricacies of Air Force and their operations is amazing. His stories weave a complex web of suspense. At times, they seem too complex, but overall quite gripping. I have also seen the movies- "Force 10 from Navarone" and "Guns of Navarone", "Ice Station Zebra" , "Where Eagles Dare" based on his novels.

You have written a great review, and perhaps I will check out on this novel one day.

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author avatar joyalariwo
3rd Feb 2014 (#)

Thanks Ptrikha!

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