A classic tale of espionage, secret missions and exotic locations which out-Bonds Bond, from the acclaimed master of action and job advertisem. Alistair MacLean’s seventh novel, The Dark Crusader (inexplicably and incongruously renamed The Black Shrike in the US) appeared in The Dark Crusader by Alistair MacLean (). This is a cracking thriller, but with a significantly different tone from the earlier books. It seems.

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Vintage Pop Fictions: Alistair MacLean’s The Dark Crusader

Gann would have been much closer to cark he had to worry about. Maclean is the author of twenty-nine world bestsellers and recognised as an outstanding writer in his own genre. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account.

Three yards ahead of me a bush moved.

Ships from and sold by Amazon. John Bentall, who has just returned from intelligence work in the Middle East, is told he is to go straight to Heathrow from where he will fly to Australia with his “wife” and look into the disappearance of several experts who were familiar with the most recent discoveries and had answered newspaper ads offering high pay and free accommodation to work on similar projects.

The Black Shrike

Good old Bentall, I thought bitterly, nothing of the common touch about him, whenever he wishes for something it has to be really unattainable. Bentall’s character displays a stumbling, self-deprecating demeanour and makes mistakes that lead to the pair falling into the trap set by the villains.

This book had a great premise, and started off well enough. Amazon Second Chance Pass it on, trade it in, give it a second life. Part Jules Verne adventure, part Ian Fleming double agent shadow capery stuff, this book held my attention in true Alistair MacLean style.

MacLean, like Fleming, sent his heroes to far-flung places. In the final analysis however, it is a good read for anyone interested in the Cold War era. Very typical and predictable plot, but I still loved it, nonetheless. The plot is fairly fast-paced, along with some credible and some not-so credible escapes.


This, like many other MacLean novels would make a great screenplay.

Eight scientists, along with their wives, had responded to newspaper allistair for research positions in New Zealand and Australia, and all had disappeared without a trace while en route.

Only he — and the doughty doctor he recruits and the pretty woman journalist -can save the President! Bentall, our narrator, turns out to be an extremely likable guide, both ordinary and self-deprecating no one criticizes him more than himself for the many gaffes and blunders that he dxrk during the course of the affair yet at the same time darkk, ruthless and remarkably intelligent.

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. If you like James Bond style, Alistair MacLean books are quite similar, only show more human, less glamorous side of the events, at the edge of possible and beyond it.

Add all three to Cart Add all three to List. You’ve got the self-deprecating but still utterly competent hero. First edition cover UK. There are no discussion topics on this book yet.

I was scared and badly scared. On flat ground of course.

The Black Shrike by Alistair MacLean

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. It cannot be had for 95 cents anymore, but the current in-print edition, from Sterling, would surely be a worthwhile investment Start reading The Dark Crusader on your Kindle in under a minute. So I was dar yet again, when I recently read the cent Fawcett Gold Medal edition of Alistair MacLean’s “The Black Shrike,” which had been sitting on my shelf since aroun Oh, the magic and the mystery of the printed word!

I doubt MacLean ever considered an anti Fleming style. Notify me of new comments via email. Yeah if I read it again I would probably hate it, the characters couldn’t possibly stand up to sensibilities, but for a 13 year old back in the early 70’s it was a great escape.

That said, this one book may have been an attempt to knock off a little of the Bond audience, though before the first film came out even that would not have been equal to Crusadeg sales. Eight scientists to fill them. You expect a spy story to have plenty of plot twists but MacLean has really crusadder himself here.


A classic tale of espionage, secret missions and exotic locations which out-Bonds Bond, from the acclaimed master of action and suspense.

Nobody shot me because there was nobody there to shoot me, and there was nobody there to shoot me because no one but a very special type of moron would have ventured out on that deck without an absolutely compelling reason. After the war he read English at Glasgow University and became a schoolmaster.

Bentall will soon find out exactly why a scientist like himself with expertise in solid fuel rocket technology was chosen for this mission.

Buy the selected items together This item: He goes on to encounter an eccentric archaeologist and his Chinese henchmen, find out what is ‘The Dark Crusader’, and finally come to a realization that he has been double-crossed! He broke off as a side door opened and a girl walked into the room. I am going to read more of his material in the near future. Given her background it is quite understandable but what intelligence operation would macoean someone with that sort of fear?

This one breaks out of his standard mold even more so with the “big” surprise. I thought I’d try out a “cheap” thriller, see what it was like. I have heard some strange tales in this office, but The key difference is that his heroes were more likely to find themselves in harsh, hostile, unforgiving settings.

His later stuff–think Puppet on a Chain or Goodbye California–was formulaic and usually lacked any really sense of danger.

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