Ice Cold in Alex Paperback
Part of the Cassell Military Paperbacks series
The bestselling novel which inspired the Hollywood movie starring John Mills. They served it ice-cold in Alex - pale amber Rheingold beer in tall, dewy glasses.
This is the image that haunts Captain George Anson. Stationed in the North African desert just before the fall of Tobruk, an ice-cold lager seems a million miles away.
When Anson is detailed to escort two nursing sisters to Alexandria, it looks as though his wish is finally about to come true - a routine assignment, with a lager at the end of it as his reward.
But what starts out as a routine journey soon becomes an epic.
Forced to drive further and further south in order to escape the advancing German Army, Anson and his small party are soon on the edge of the Great Sand Sea.
As they battle with the physical agonies of a six-hundred-mile drive through the desert it soon becomes apparent that each member of the group has his or her own private struggles to resolve.
Not only that, but with a Nazi agent in their midst, it is clear that not all of them are going to make it to Alexandria ...
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 256 pages, 1 maps
- Publisher: Orion Publishing Co
- Publication Date: 12/06/2003
- Category: Second World War fiction
- ISBN: 9780304366255
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Review by TimBazzett
I had never heard of this book, first published more than fifty years ago, but saw it mentioned online in an interview with Patrick Hennessey the young author of current English bestseller,The Junior Officers' Reading Club (see my review of that book). Apparently the film version of Ice Cold in Alex is a UK classic. Having read the book, I hope to see the film one day. But the book itself is most satisfying. Landon's story-telling skills reminded me very much of another UK author, Nevil Shute. I have read at least a dozen Shute books and enjoyed them all. There is something about his modest, understated way of telling a good story that draws you in and keeps you turning the pages eagerly, wondering what will happen next. Ice Cold in Alex is a story like that. It is a novel of war, but without the violence. The characters are non-violent non-combatant types, simply trying to do their jobs in the best way possible, and suddenly pitted against a much larger and impersonal enemy - the empty wastes and desert of North Africa. Using an omniscient point of view, Landon allows his readers to get inside the heads of all four characters, and makes them all, in the end, extremely human and good people. It is a most satisfying read. The one jarring note here is my discovery that the book is out of print, and not just here, but in the UK. My copy is a 2004 reprint which I was able to find used. The DVD of the film, starring John Mills, however, is still available. It makes me wonder if, in this more visual age, the book will never see print again while the film lives on. If so, more is the pity, for Christopher Landon is a very skillful and masterful story-teller. I recommend this book highly. - Tim Bazzett, author of SOLDIER BOY: AT PLAY IN THE ASA