on an oil rig and here and there.
Sigh, another later MacLean novel and another one I'm struggling to finish.
The setup sounds great - a shady businessman pitted against a man sworn to take down his empire.
Great hook for a story! Except... that isnt really what happens. John Worth, the shady businessman, doesnt feature all that much and isnt that much of a villain, Ok he bends the law a little bit but big deal. Meanwhile, John Cronkite (he's the hero, his name is John after all, this is a MacLean story!) has barely featured and I have read over half the book. More disturbingly, the reason for Cronkite's grudge is never explored, Worth took him to court, I think, or something. You just feel that Cronkite should just get over it.
The narrative is driven by a pair of private investigators who dont appear to have any work to do but do have a nifty line in excuciating dialogue. Lots of other carboard characters appear and dissapear as events happen to undermine Worth's empire.
I just dont feel why I should care though. I cant side with either 'team' on this one, if anything I want Cronkite to get whats coming for acting like a sulky child. Its like watching a pouting overpaid footballer squaring off against his manager.
Worth and Cronkite should drive the story, not be relagated on the sidelines, it should be a deeply personal grudge where action brings reaction, consequence bring retaliation. That would have made for a gripping, driving story, instead MacLean takes us through a series of tedious events without illiciting sympathy or excitement.
A lot like The Way To Dusty Death, this would have made for a better film than a book.
So far the best MacLean's I have read are
ICE STATION ZEBRA
NIGHT WITHOUT END
GUNS OF NAVARONE
WHERE EAGLES DARE
SOUTH BY JAVA HEAD.
Of MacLean's later work I think the only one I have read so far worth reading is BREAKHEART PASS.
Athabasca next, more oil...