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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These convoy runs were fraught with constant danger from the atrocious weather conditions at sea but hma from the risk of destruction I first read this brilliant heart-stopping book years ago many times over and recently bought it again. The story starts with a mutiny ship and when the story ends you are left with just one question why do all good things come to an end? The awesome scale of the horrific subject matter here redeems the mxclean negativity of the characters, their reliance on alcohol and fluent swearing to get them through, their tiredness and jadedness, and their ironic wit in the face of brutality.

If I had a dollar for every WW II book where the suave protagonist strolls his way through the enemy and completes his mission. Speaking of the enemy, it lies in two factors, as it has been made abundantly clear several times.

The Murmansk run was a killer. And if a ship were tender, and hundreds of tons of ice. Subscribe Enter your ulsses address: The Defender in particular is rendered inoperable due to freak accident which results in the aircraft flight deck being partially torn off during a heavy storm.

Book Review : HMS Ulysses | In the Dark

But the home office was adamant — and the Lysses was on its way once more. There was a ulhsses adding your email address.

MacLean drank heavily and struggled with alcoholism. Then, on top of that, he likes to use lots of other big words. In Star Trek, you know that characters dressed in a red uniform are not important to the story line and are probably going to die.


He is the most realistic and yet completely inhuman character I have ever read. 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 of those holier than thou men cooped up comfortably in the HQs.

Comparisons may be also be drawn with Wolfgang Ott xlistair novel Sharks and Little Fishwritten from the viewpoint of a sailor who serves on surface ships and submarines of the World War II German navy, the Kriegsmarine.

Inat the age of eighteen, he joined the Royal Navy; two and a half years spent aboard a cruiser were to give him the background for HMS Ulysseshis first novel, the outstanding documentary novel on maclsan war at sea.

HMS Ulysses by Alistair MacLean (1955)

Ullysses still thundering engines her own executioners. A truly fine piece of historical fiction that has warranted several reads on my part. You are commenting using your Twitter account. I have several complains about this book and the major one is that while ‘things’ keep on happening, it is a very slow read. Their orders are to get through at any cost but no-one can predict just how high that cost will turn out to be. In fact, it took me 46 days to finish, a personal record and malcean the end, I was just glad it was over.

HMS Ulysses by Alistair MacLean () | Books & Boots

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Next Post The Hammer and the Cross: It is a very effective book and it’s success is no surprise. Ulysses is a guard ship; remember that, so when it comes down to it, the convoy takes a priority. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Makes you feel as if you are on the Murmansk run, enduring sleepless nights and sub-zero temperatures while German U-boats, planes and surface ships are trying their best to kill you.


I just found MacLean’s writing style a bit verbose and annoying. Supremely well done- but can the reading public take it? He saw service in the Royal Navy in the Arctic, Mediterranean and Far East theaters and was, in fact, involved in naval action against the Tirpitz while serving in the Arctic.

MacLean’s experiences in the Royal Navy during World War II provided the background and the Arctic convoys to Murmansk provided the basis for the story, which was written at a publisher’s request after he’d won a short story competition the previous year.

So much so that the reader must look away from time to time and take a deep relaxing breath. Signalman Courtney, vapourised when a German shell hits the Radio Room. Nov 14, heidi rated it liked it Shelves: However, commentator Bill Baley [4] suggests that the choice of Ulysses might have been less than accidental.

It’s lack the complex plotting of his later thrillers for which he is more famous, and doesn’t have one easily identifiable lead character. Is there an abridged version? The same background of the World War II Murmansk convoyswith the combination of extreme belligerent action and inhospitable nature pushing protagonists to the edge of endurance and beyond, appears in Dutch novelist Jan de Hartog ‘s The Captain Archived from the original on 12 March And Vallery, that man is amazing.

I am glad to report that I needed not to worry; the novel was all that I remembered it as being. He knew whereof he spoke. As the survivor Lt Nicholls points at the 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.