When Eight Bells Toll, Paperback
4 out of 5 (1 rating)


From the acclaimed master of action and suspense. The all time classic Millions of pounds in gold bullion are being pirated in the Irish Sea.

Investigations by the British Secret Service, and a sixth sense, have bought Philip Calvert to a bleak, lonely bay in the Western Highlands.

But the sleepy atmosphere of Torbay is deceptive. The place is the focal point of many mysterious disappearances.

Even the unimaginative Highland Police Sergeant seems to be acting a part.

But why? This story is Alistair MacLean at his enthralling best.

It has all the edge-of-the-seat suspense, and dry humour that millions of readers have devoured for years.




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This book was pretty good, but not MacLean's best. It's an action/thriller set at sea featuring British Secret Service agent Peter Calvert and his boss, Admiral Sir Arthur Arnford-Jason, called Uncle Arthur for some reason. Calvert is witty, but is also a cold blooded killer. He's also a bit of a misogynist, although that may be a product of the book's publication time of the 1960s more than anything.The opening scene is spectacular, one of the best I've read. It really leaves you breathless. People are trying to kill Calvert. Why? Who? Well, as is the case with most MacLean heroes, Calvert displays superhuman skills and stamina to get to those trying to get to him. A plot is uncovered, a piracy plot, in which people and ships are disappearing, people get murdered, and a helicopter he's in gets shot down. One thing that frustrated me about the book, though, was that you don't really have a clue what it's all about until you're about two thirds of the way through it. By that time, you might be irritated you've read so far without having been told what's going on. Calvert, though, seems to know a lot and likes to tell people what's going on, even after Uncle Arthur has said things about need to know. He has his reasons though. Of course, with most MacLean novels, there's a twist at the end of the book, although I found it a bit convoluted. Call me a dullard and I won't take offense. I just had to read extra carefully to make sense of it all. Another thing that bothered me was the plot seemed just so unrealistic. I don't see how anyone would have done what was done in this novel. Too much chance to plan realistically. Still, it lends itself toward excitement. Whatever my complaints, this book is action packed and rarely slow. Lots of violence, if that's your thing. It's very similar, I think, to a James Bond film -- just more violent. Think of the era of publication and it makes sense. Recommended? Yes.

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