This final part of Clavell's "Asian Saga" is also undoubtedly his best. Clavell takes us on a moving, thrilling and deeply absorbing ride throug the life of commercial helicopter pilots surviving the vicious and bloody revolution by religious fanatics as Khomeni returns to rule in Iran. From beginning to end this isa writer at the very height of his talent and it shows in every word. Don't be put off by the 1200-plus page count or the cast of over a hundred characters. There's no denying the book can be hard work with this much information and this many protagonists, but it's so much more rewarding than almost every other book you could find on this site once you get going. Reminiscant of Ernest Hemmingway and Graham Greene, with emotions and lives torn to pieces in times of conflict, you will not so much read a story as live another life through the pages of this exceptional novel. Add it to your shopping cart this instant.
His only novel not playing the far east. This tells the story of a small helicopter outfit, supplying the iranian oil rigs with everything needed. The company belongs to Struan's Noble House, too, the boss is Andrew Gavallan, Ian Dunross' nephew. It depicts the events just before and during the revolution, toppling the Shah, and about all the trouble that came for S-G Helicopters due to the fightings between the different iranian factions (muslim fanatics, soviet-led communist rebels and local tribes) and between all of them and any non-iranian person. There's romance, too, thanks to two threads, one about a finnish pilot of S-G Helicopters and his iranian wife, trying to escape via Turkey, and the other one with another pilot who has also an iranian wife. This is also a very good book by Clavell, full of action, adventure, suspense, romance and exotic places and people.
The map contained within the inner-cover pages of the hardback edition portrays the 'hottest' geo-political region on the planet today.
Iran is in the centre, bordered by Afghanistan and Pakistan to the east, Iraq and Syria to the west, the old USSR to the north. The only significant country missing from this equation is Israel.
At the bottom is the Persian Gulf with the Strait of Hormuz channeling into the Gulf of Oman.
If there is going to be a 'whirlwind', a potential flashpoint for a terrible new war (or even World War III), it could very well be right within the latitude and longitude of this map's co-ordinates.
The actual book itself is a superior - though slightly old-fashioned - adventure thriller. Lots of characters; linking sub-plots; suspense and tension cranking up like an epic disaster movie. But - as the previous reviewer indicated - the reader gets a long and detailed lesson regarding the history of Islamic Fundamentalism in Iran. The machinations of the CIA and the KGB. The horrors that the Shah and his evil secret police visited upon this nation, with overt Western backing. And the emergent fresh horrors visited by the next set of secret police...
'Whirlwind' is a primer, an introduction, to the present timebomb ticking away day after day. Clavell shows the humanity and sacrifice of the ordinary Iranians, men and women, who were desperately trying to survive through the terrifying crises happening all around them during the Revolution. And one feels for their modern day counterparts facing a new and just as frightening set of circumstances/possibilities.
I enjoyed this book which was well written, with realistic characters. Norman has set the scene and described the journey that takes Liza Plain (a journalist) and Michael Rider to Shiloh in Rhode Island where to their surprise they encounter each other on Christmas Eve.
Michael has had many difficulties in his life and secrets and lies have left him bitter and susceptible to the mysterious Whirlwind an organisation that lures him to Shiloh to wreak revenge.
This reminded me of an Agatha Christie – Shiloh is about to be hit by the Storm to End All Storms which leaves the town cut-off from the outside world and captive. The scene is set, Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve and the churchgoers are held hostage in the Church by a gang of ruthless men (including Michael Rider). Liza is forced to be the witness to events to give her the story of a lifetime. The captive audience are to witness the revelation of past sins and the manipulation of events long hidden.
Excellent! A thoroughly well thought out piece of work with intrigue and surprise right until the end.
Thank you NetGalley for providing an ARC of this book via my Kindle in return for an honest review.
This is a great book, it is beautifully written, full of twists and turns and keeps you gripped all the way to the end. I would highly recommend this book, don't let the number of pages put you off, you will find by the end you want to read more.
I bought this book to replace my old tatty well read copy as the pages had started to fall out, and I might want to read it again, no I will want to read it again, who am I kidding. Treat yourself get all James Clavell's Asian books and read them chronologically using the dates the books are set and not the order they were written and you won't be disappointed.
I love the James Clavell books, and this is definitely one of the best. Start a little slow (as do most if his books), builds up the characters and provides a good insight into the culture the story is woven into. By the halfway point of the book I couldn't wait to get back to the story on the train each day. It left me a little empty when I finished the book, and nothing has filled the gap since.