Ice station Zebra, published in 1963, was Alistair MacLean's tenth fiction book. And it is a brilliant read. Dr. John Carpenter is attached to the nuclear submarine Dolphin in a desperate race to the Arctic to rescue the inhabitants of Ice Station Zebra, which has just suffered a devastating fire. But, as usual with MacLean, there is much more to the story and it involves lots of underhanded spy business and devious shenanigans as a saboteur seems to be running amok among them.
It benefits from the setting of the submarine, allowing MacLean to not only tell a gripping little spy story, but also to work in some tense and dramatic set pieces based around the perils of submarining. MacLean has all his stock characters - the sardonic hero with his secret knowledge, the cunning mastermind villain and the tough, reliable good guys that seem to populate most of his books. No matter that we've met them all before, they seem like old friends whose company we can enjoy for another few hours. It's a cracking read and recommended for all fans of this boys own style adventure.