The novel that launched the astonishing career of one of the 20th century’s greatest writers of action and suspense – an acclaimed classic of heroism and. Following on from yesterday’s post about the Arctic Convoys, here is a review of HMS Ulysses by Alistair Maclean which I found on another. HMS Ulysses was Maclean’s first and arguably best novel. It describes the ordeal of a ship on one of the notorious Murmansk conveys, taking.

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I’ve read this story before, but so long ago. Factual descriptions are given in a clipped, textbook style — to the extent of there being a number of purely factual footnotes throughout the book, correcting technical and historical fact — but psychological portraits often use rhetorial techniques, particularly repetition, to convey moods and feelings, especially of the extremity of exhaustion and physical ordeal the men are going through.

So could you have done as well? Utterly gripping film, often tongue in cheek, as when Clint Eastwood is blasting away down the castle corridor with a machine gun in each hand.

The author vividly portrays the awful conditions and paralyzing fear suffered by sailors in the Arctic seas during the Second World War. HMS Ganneta Kingfisher-class sloopnicknamed Huntley and Palmer due to her boxy superstructure resembling a biscuit tin. Sign up here to receive your FREE alerts. After the war he gained an English Honours degree at Glasgow University, and became a schoolmaster.

You are commenting using your WordPress. The realism of the descriptions, the believable motivations of the characters and the simplicity of the line of events make the story all the more credible, though the number of coincidental accidents that plague the crew is startling. If I had a dollar for every WW II book where the suave protagonist strolls his way through the enemy and completes his mission.

Books by Alistair MacLean. A few names stick of course, but for most of them the only choice left is to just accept whatever the author maclwan saying and move on to the next event.

HMS Ulysses by Alistair MacLean (1955)

I read this book when I was 11 or 12 and was struck by the way the men swear softly, viciously, fluently. To find out more, including how to control cookies, see here: Characters you like die.

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A truly amazing story of heroism of men tired beyond belief fighting a war in conditions unbelievable but true. I tried to get past it The novel features HMS Ulyssesa light cruiser that is well armed and among the fastest ships in alistxir world. What is the reply of the radio apprentice when he is told to abandon Ulysses?

Then he has to fire on his father’s ship because it was endangering the convoy. This entry was posted on September 30, at 2: As the survivor Lt Nicholls points at aoistair end to Admirality ” The situation we faced at Arctic is difficult to imagine sitting in the confines of office and I wonder if this really happened” The crewmembers make the ultimate sacrifice and you will weep at the inhumanity and savagery of war.

MacLean subsequ I worried that the years might have aged this book a bit, but happily that was not the case. In Royalist alisstair saw action in in the Atlantic theatre, on two Arctic convoys and escorting carrier groups in operations against Tirpitz and other targets off the Norwegian coast.

Brutal and relentless, the description of the borderline crew fighting the enemy as ulyses as the elements during an Arctic convoy is both thrilling and exhausting and had MacLean continued upon this path, he would be remembered differently.

A good read but not an enjoyable one. It can be a stressful read. I wish MacLean would have reduced the number of characters and developed those left a little more deeply. Maclean’s writing is so engrossing that you feel that you are there with the crew. Most of the characters died, in fact only one survived the book, but when I came to the end the graph looked somewhat lopsided, there were too many people dying in the first, fifth and tenth chapters so I had to rewrite it, giving an even dying space throughout.

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Much of the lingo is perhaps too British for some readers, in the same sense that Monsarrat’s H. The characters are clearly etched.

In fiction form, this is the story of the Murmansk run — and of the attempt to get convoyFF77, through, under the inadequate protection of a few cruisers, most of them outmod.


The basic story line was compelling. A literary agent asked him to write alustair novel and Macleean originally refused, believing there was no future in it. A gem, even among all of McLean’s bestsellers, this is one book that I believe needs to be studied by military everywhere to realize that there is no glory in war – only the sufferings of the innocent, pitted against a faceless enemy.

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HMS Ulysses by Alistair MacLean

For me, it interrupted the excitement to have to stop and figure out who he was discussing. It is the tale of a light cruiser on an arctic convoy to Russia – a punishment issued to an already fatigued crew by an infuriatingly cold and punitive Admiralty for mutinous actions on their prior convoy run. Jul 18, Sherry McGhay rated it liked it Shelves: Luckily, he has also irritated maverick California cop, Ryder — by kidnapping his wife — so Ryder tracks him down, disarms his gang and kills him.

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Their orders are to get through at any cost but no-one can predict just hmd high that cost will turn out to be. And Vallery, that man is amazing. Dec 31, Shaunak Bhattacharya rated it really liked it.


Inhe was awarded a D. This one sentence brilliantly sums up the book The crew is beaten, tired and the Captain is dying. There was a problem adding your email address.

But again, you learn to just accept things. Infinitely more hard hitting and realistic, the book delves into the practicalities of war and all their facets – strategy and miscalculations, honor and cowardice, wins and losses – and reflects on how ultimately the men who are often no more than kids end up paying the price in the horrors of war for the decisions allstair those holier than thou men cooped up comfortably in the HQs.