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When Eight Bells Toll Paperback – 6 Jun 2005


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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; New Ed edition (6 Jun. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006158110
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006158110
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 11.4 x 18.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 293,371 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

• ‘Keeps up its high-wire tension all the way. Not to be missed’ Guardian

• ‘A cracker-jack opening. Insistently readable’ Evening Standard

• ‘Breathless action…and a sterling plot’
Financial Times

About the Author

Alistair MacLean, the son of a Scots minister, was brought up in the Scottish Highlands. In 1941 he joined the Royal Navy. After the war he read English at Glasgow University and became a schoolmaster. The two and a half years he spent aboard a wartime cruiser were to give him the background for HMS Ulysses, his remarkably successful first novel, published in 1955. He is now recognized as one of the outstanding popular writers of the 20th century, the author of 29 worldwide bestsellers, many of which have been filmed.


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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Holt on 17 Feb. 2013
Format: Paperback
Although this story probably only merits 4 stars as a thriller, I gave it 5 because of the added interest of the Bond context. The hero, Calvert, a Government agent, is clearly a deliberate attempt to show James Bond as MacLean thought he should be. Here is no vacuous snob, or sexual predator - no, this is Bond with a brain, from a similar background to you or I, a Bond with wry humour, with a compassion for others - irrespective of station. Calvert, too, is a killer - but a killer with a conscience and a keen sense of justice. He usually gets things right - unlike Bond, who seems to make a mess of everything, before somehow stumbling upon a way of defeating the villain. Most of all, Calvert is a planner - he uses his intelligence and experience to reduce the odds against him and to develop a winning strategy. The only odds Bond seems to understand are those in a casino. And as for forward planning .....!

I like the setting of the Western Scottish coast, to some perhaps not as exotic as Bond locales. But if you've ever walked in the area around Skye you'll know that it is every bit as beautiful as any Bond location, and that it is an area where more or less anything could happen and remain hidden for days. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and even found parts of it quite moving! - not what is expected from MacLean. The equivalent of Bond's M - Uncle Arthur, is an altogether more interesting character - upper-crust, the perfect foil for Calvert's persona, usually in control, and ready to back his agent to the hilt if needed. Calvert's relationship with his boss is complex; he has considerable freedom to do what he regards as necessary, but there is considerable resentment - essentially class-based, and a surprising cynical admiration and trust.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By BookWorm on 23 Oct. 2007
Format: Paperback
If you've read any other Alister MacLean books you'll have high expectations, and this one doesn't disappoint. The plot is fast moving and gripping, making it hard to put down - at no point is the ending at all obvious. In addition, the style of writing is clever and witty with lots of amusing lines. The characters are portrayed realistically too - they have their weaknesses and make mistakes (unlike in some other books of a similar genre). All in all, a great book from start to finish.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By William Meikle on 23 Mar. 2008
Format: Paperback
This is my favorite of all of MacLean's thrillers, and not just because it is set in my native Scotland.

MacLean's books often rely of a big twist near the end. In many of the lesser books, Bear Island for example, you can see it coming from far away. But in WEBT, he keeps things taut, and the action moves so fast and furiously it doesn't give you time to think.

The other great thing about this one is the beginning. It starts right in with a great suspense scene, and just ranks up the tension from there.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Darren Harrison VINE VOICE on 28 April 2003
Format: Paperback
I was first alerted to this book when as a young boy I saw the 1971 movie adaptation starring Anthony Hopkins and Robert Morley on the BBC. Fans of MacLean should know what to expect here with a naval secret service officer investigating gold bullion pirating in the Irish Sea. This case takes him to Scotland. The pace is relentless and the suspense breathtaking. I highly recommend this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sandy on 8 Nov. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A classic story that stands the test of time. For all those who don't know it then this is one of the best 'spy' novels ever written.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I love the story and have read the paper edition numerous times (film is rubbish) but just re read it on Kindle and it is absolutely FULL of typo's and layout problems. This is NOT acceptable! I have reported typo's and yet no seen an email or anything from Amazon/Kindle to acknowledge this. It is a travesty that one of the best British authors should be treated so shabbily in digital form. Buy the book and not the kindle version in its present form.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Somnambulist on 5 Sept. 2006
Format: Paperback
When Eight Bells Toll is really almost a Bond story that doesn't involve any female love interest. Calvert is the hero defying death, swimming for miles whilst all around him are falling.

The bleak scenery of the Scottish Islands is a perfect backdrop for a similarly austere main character, as the atmosphere created is so real, you can almost smell the sea.

A good book which although the story has aged slightly, is still worth a read for the British spy die-hards.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
When Eight Bells Toll.

Another very good novel by Alistair Maclean unfortunately spolit by poor spelling in the Kindle version.

I don`t know how Kindle transfer from the "Book" but its not by scanning. Quality Control needs to be reviewed.
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