Alistair MacLean
Overview
 
Alistair Stuart MacLean was a Scottish
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

 novel
Novel
A novel is a book of long narrative in literary prose. The genre has historical roots both in the fields of the medieval and early modern romance and in the tradition of the novella. The latter supplied the present generic term in the late 18th century....

ist who wrote popular thrillers or adventure stories, the best known of which are perhaps The Guns of Navarone
The Guns of Navarone (novel)
The Guns of Navarone is a 1957 novel about World War II by Scottish thriller writer Alistair MacLean that was made into a critically acclaimed film in 1961...

, Ice Station Zebra and Where Eagles Dare
Where Eagles Dare
Where Eagles Dare is a 1968 World War II action-adventure spy film starring Richard Burton, Clint Eastwood and Mary Ure. It was directed by Brian G. Hutton and shot on location in Upper Austria and Bavaria....

, all three having been made into successful films. He also wrote two novels under the pseudonym Ian Stuart.
MacLean was the son of a minister, and learned English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 as his second language after his mother tongue, Scottish Gaelic
Scottish Gaelic language
Scottish Gaelic is a Celtic language native to Scotland. A member of the Goidelic branch of the Celtic languages, Scottish Gaelic, like Modern Irish and Manx, developed out of Middle Irish, and thus descends ultimately from Primitive Irish....

.
Encyclopedia
Alistair Stuart MacLean was a Scottish
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

 novel
Novel
A novel is a book of long narrative in literary prose. The genre has historical roots both in the fields of the medieval and early modern romance and in the tradition of the novella. The latter supplied the present generic term in the late 18th century....

ist who wrote popular thrillers or adventure stories, the best known of which are perhaps The Guns of Navarone
The Guns of Navarone (novel)
The Guns of Navarone is a 1957 novel about World War II by Scottish thriller writer Alistair MacLean that was made into a critically acclaimed film in 1961...

, Ice Station Zebra and Where Eagles Dare
Where Eagles Dare
Where Eagles Dare is a 1968 World War II action-adventure spy film starring Richard Burton, Clint Eastwood and Mary Ure. It was directed by Brian G. Hutton and shot on location in Upper Austria and Bavaria....

, all three having been made into successful films. He also wrote two novels under the pseudonym Ian Stuart.

Life

MacLean was the son of a minister, and learned English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 as his second language after his mother tongue, Scottish Gaelic
Scottish Gaelic language
Scottish Gaelic is a Celtic language native to Scotland. A member of the Goidelic branch of the Celtic languages, Scottish Gaelic, like Modern Irish and Manx, developed out of Middle Irish, and thus descends ultimately from Primitive Irish....

. He was born in Glasgow
Glasgow
Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and third most populous in the United Kingdom. The city is situated on the River Clyde in the country's west central lowlands...

 but spent much of his childhood and youth in Daviot
Daviot, Highland
Daviot is a village in the Highland council area of Scotland. It is about south east of the city of Inverness, next to the A9, the main road to Inverness....

, ten miles south of Inverness
Inverness
Inverness is a city in the Scottish Highlands. It is the administrative centre for the Highland council area, and is regarded as the capital of the Highlands of Scotland...

. He was the third of four sons.

He joined the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 in 1941, serving in World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 with the ranks of Ordinary Seaman
Ordinary Seaman (rank)
In the Royal Navy in the middle of the 18th century, the term ordinary seaman was used to refer to a seaman with between one and two years' experience at sea, who showed enough seamanship to be so rated by their captain...

, Able Seaman
Able Seaman (rank)
In the British Royal Navy in the middle of the 18th century, the term able seaman referred to a seaman with at least two years' experience at sea...

, and Leading Torpedo Operator. He was first assigned to PS Bournemouth Queen, a converted excursion ship fitted for anti-aircraft guns, on duty off the coasts of England and Scotland. From 1943, he served in HMS Royalist
HMS Royalist (89)
HMS Royalist was a Dido-class light cruiser of the Bellona subgroup of the Royal Navy. She was a modified Dido design with only four turrets but improved AA armament - aka Dido Group 2. She was built by Scotts Shipbuilding and Engineering Company with the keel being laid down on 21 March 1940...

, a Dido-class light cruiser
Dido class cruiser
The Dido class was a class of sixteen light cruisers built for the Royal Navy. The design was influenced by the Arethusa class light cruisers. The first group of three ships was commissioned in 1940, the second group and third group were commissioned in 1941–1942...

. In Royalist he saw action in 1943 in the Atlantic theatre
Second Battle of the Atlantic
The Battle of the Atlantic was the longest continuous military campaign in World War II, running from 1939 to the defeat of Germany in 1945. At its core was the Allied naval blockade of Germany, announced the day after the declaration of war, and Germany's subsequent counter-blockade. It was at its...

, on two Arctic convoys
Arctic convoys of World War II
The Arctic convoys of World War II travelled from the United Kingdom and North America to the northern ports of the Soviet Union—Arkhangelsk and Murmansk. There were 78 convoys between August 1941 and May 1945...

 and escorting carrier groups in operations against Tirpitz
German battleship Tirpitz
Tirpitz was the second of two s built for the German Kriegsmarine during World War II. Named after Grand Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz, the architect of the Imperial Navy, the ship was laid down at the Kriegsmarinewerft in Wilhelmshaven in November 1936 and launched two and a half years later in April...

and other targets off the Norwegian coast. In 1944 he and the ship served in the Mediterranean theatre
Mediterranean Theatre of World War II
The African, Mediterranean and Middle East theatres encompassed the naval, land, and air campaigns fought between the Allied and Axis forces in the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and Africa...

, as part of the invasion of southern France
Operation Dragoon
Operation Dragoon was the Allied invasion of southern France on August 15, 1944, during World War II. The invasion was initiated via a parachute drop by the 1st Airborne Task Force, followed by an amphibious assault by elements of the U.S. Seventh Army, followed a day later by a force made up...

 and in helping to sink blockade runners off Crete
Crete
Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, and one of the thirteen administrative regions of Greece. It forms a significant part of the economy and cultural heritage of Greece while retaining its own local cultural traits...

 and bombard Milos
Milos
Milos , is a volcanic Greek island in the Aegean Sea, just north of the Sea of Crete...

 in the Aegean
Aegean Sea
The Aegean Sea[p] is an elongated embayment of the Mediterranean Sea located between the southern Balkan and Anatolian peninsulas, i.e., between the mainlands of Greece and Turkey. In the north, it is connected to the Marmara Sea and Black Sea by the Dardanelles and Bosporus...

. During this time MacLean may have been injured in a gunnery practice accident. In 1945, in the Far East theatre
South-East Asian theatre of World War II
The South-East Asian Theatre of World War II was the name given to the campaigns of the Pacific War in Burma , Ceylon, India, Thailand, Indochina, Malaya and Singapore. Conflict in the theatre began when the Empire of Japan invaded Thailand and Malaya from bases located in Indochina on December 8,...

, MacLean and Royalist saw action escorting carrier groups in operations against Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

ese targets in Burma, Malaya
British Malaya
British Malaya loosely described a set of states on the Malay Peninsula and the Island of Singapore that were brought under British control between the 18th and the 20th centuries...

, and Sumatra
Sumatra
Sumatra is an island in western Indonesia, westernmost of the Sunda Islands. It is the largest island entirely in Indonesia , and the sixth largest island in the world at 473,481 km2 with a population of 50,365,538...

. (MacLean's late-in-life claims that he was captured by the Japanese and tortured have been dismissed by both his son and his biographer as drunken ravings. Webster, Alistair MacLean: A Life, p. 191.) After the Japanese surrender, Royalist helped evacuate liberated POWs from Changi Prison
Changi Prison
Changi Prison is a prison located in Changi in the eastern part of Singapore.-First prison and POW camp:...

 in Singapore
Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

.

MacLean was released from the Royal Navy in 1946. He then studied English at the University of Glasgow
University of Glasgow
The University of Glasgow is the fourth-oldest university in the English-speaking world and one of Scotland's four ancient universities. Located in Glasgow, the university was founded in 1451 and is presently one of seventeen British higher education institutions ranked amongst the top 100 of the...

, graduating in 1953, and then worked as a school teacher in Rutherglen
Rutherglen
Rutherglen is a town in South Lanarkshire, Scotland. In 1975, it lost its own local council and administratively became a component of the City of Glasgow. In 1996 Rutherglen was reallocated to the South Lanarkshire council area.-History:...

.

While a university student, MacLean began writing short stories
Short story
A short story is a work of fiction that is usually written in prose, often in narrative format. This format tends to be more pointed than longer works of fiction, such as novellas and novels. Short story definitions based on length differ somewhat, even among professional writers, in part because...

 for extra income, winning a competition in 1954 with the maritime story "Dileas". The publishing company Collins
HarperCollins
HarperCollins is a publishing company owned by News Corporation. It is the combination of the publishers William Collins, Sons and Co Ltd, a British company, and Harper & Row, an American company, itself the result of an earlier merger of Harper & Brothers and Row, Peterson & Company. The worldwide...

 asked him for a novel and he responded with HMS Ulysses
HMS Ulysses (novel)
HMS Ulysses was the first novel by Scottish author Alistair MacLean, and ultimately, one of his most popular. Originally published in 1955, it was also released by Fontana Books in 1960...

, based on his own war experiences, as well as credited insight from his brother Ian, a Master Mariner
Master mariner
A Master Mariner or MM is the professional qualification required for someone to serve as the person in charge or person in command of a commercial vessel. In England, the term Master Mariner has been in use at least since the 13th century, reflecting the fact that in guild or livery company terms,...

. The novel was a great success and MacLean was soon able to devote himself entirely to writing war stories, spy stories and other adventures.

In the early 1960s, MacLean published two novels under the pseudonym "Ian Stuart" in order to prove that the popularity of his books was due to their content rather than his name on the cover. They sold well, but MacLean made no attempt to change his writing style and his fans may easily have recognized him behind the Scottish pseudonym. MacLean's books eventually sold so well that he moved to Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

 as a tax exile
Tax exile
A tax exile is one who chooses to leave a country with a high tax burden and instead to reside in a foreign nation or jurisdiction which takes a lower portion of earnings. Going into tax exile is a means of tax mitigation or avoidance.-Legal status:...

. From 1963–1966, he took a hiatus from writing to run a hotel business in England.

MacLean's later books were not as well received as the earlier ones and, in an attempt to keep his stories in keeping with the time, he sometimes lapsed into overly improbable plots. He also struggled constantly with alcoholism, which eventually brought about his death in Munich
Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

 in 1987. He is buried a few yards from Richard Burton
Richard Burton
Richard Burton, CBE was a Welsh actor. He was nominated seven times for an Academy Award, six of which were for Best Actor in a Leading Role , and was a recipient of BAFTA, Golden Globe and Tony Awards for Best Actor. Although never trained as an actor, Burton was, at one time, the highest-paid...

 in Céligny
Céligny
Céligny is a municipality in the canton of Geneva, Switzerland. It consists of two small exclaves of the Canton of Geneva into the Canton of Vaud, near Crans-près-Céligny.-Geography:...

, Switzerland. He was married twice and had three sons with his first wife; the third son was adopted.

MacLean was awarded a Doctor of Letters
Doctor of Letters
Doctor of Letters is a university academic degree, often a higher doctorate which is frequently awarded as an honorary degree in recognition of outstanding scholarship or other merits.-Commonwealth:...

 by the University of Glasgow
University of Glasgow
The University of Glasgow is the fourth-oldest university in the English-speaking world and one of Scotland's four ancient universities. Located in Glasgow, the university was founded in 1451 and is presently one of seventeen British higher education institutions ranked amongst the top 100 of the...

 in 1983.

Style of writing

Compared to other thriller writers of the time, such as Ian Fleming
Ian Fleming
Ian Lancaster Fleming was a British author, journalist and Naval Intelligence Officer.Fleming is best known for creating the fictional British spy James Bond and for a series of twelve novels and nine short stories about the character, one of the biggest-selling series of fictional books of...

, MacLean's books are exceptional in one way at least: they have an absence of sex and most are short on romance because MacLean thought that such diversions merely serve to slow down the action. Nor do the MacLean books resemble the later techno-thriller
Techno-thriller
Techno-thrillers are a hybrid genre, drawing subject matter generally from spy/action thrillers, fantasy/war novels, and science fiction...

 approach. Instead, he lets little hinder the flow of events in his books, making his heroes fight against seemingly unbeatable odds and often pushing them to the limits of their physical and mental endurance. MacLean's protagonists are usually calm, cynical men entirely devoted to their work and often carrying some kind of secret knowledge. A sometime twist is that one of the hero's closest companions turns out a traitor.

Nature, especially the sea and the Arctic north, plays an important part in MacLean's stories, and he used a variety of exotic parts of the world as settings to his books. Only one of them, When Eight Bells Toll, is set in his native Scotland. MacLean's best books are often those in which he was able to make use of his own direct knowledge of warfare and seafare, such as HMS Ulysses which is now considered a classic of naval fiction.

Stylistically, MacLean's novels can be broken down into four periods:
  1. HMS Ulysses through to The Last Frontier. These four novels featured third-person narratives and a somewhat epic tone, and were mostly set during World War II. The Last Frontier contained overt philosophical and moral themes that were not well received. MacLean then switched gears to —
  2. Night Without End through to Ice Station Zebra. These four novels (plus two more under the pseudonym Ian Stuart) all featured first person
    First-person narrative
    First-person point of view is a narrative mode where a story is narrated by one character at a time, speaking for and about themselves. First-person narrative may be singular, plural or multiple as well as being an authoritative, reliable or deceptive "voice" and represents point of view in the...

     (and sometimes unreliable
    Unreliable narrator
    An unreliable narrator is a narrator, whether in literature, film, or theatre, whose credibility has been seriously compromised. The term was coined in 1961 by Wayne C. Booth in The Rhetoric of Fiction. This narrative mode is one that can be developed by an author for a number of reasons, usually...

    ) narration laced with a dry, sardonic, self-deprecating humour, and were all set in contemporary times. These are MacLean's most intensely plotted tales, masterfully blending thriller and detective elements. MacLean then retired from writing for three years, returning with —
  3. When Eight Bells Toll through to Bear Island, a varied collection of six novels that still maintained a generally high quality, with some books harking back to each of the first two periods but usually taking a more cinematic approach (not surprising since he began writing screenplays during this time). Finally —
  4. The Way to Dusty Death to the end (twelve novels). There were no more first-person stories, and his prose is thought to have often sagged badly, with excessive dialogue, lazily described scenes, and under-developed characters. Some bore these faults more than others, and all the books sold reasonably well, but MacLean never regained his classic form.


Certain themes are repeated in virtually all of MacLean's novels. For example, they typically feature a male character who is depicted as physically and morally indestructible (for instance, Carrington in HMS Ulysses or Andrea in The Guns of Navarone); such characters are also often described as having an almost inhuman tolerance for alcohol consumption (such as the Count in The Last Frontier or Jablonsky in Fear is the Key).
MacLean was known to reuse plot devices, characterizations, and even specific phrases. For example, the description "huddled shapelessness of the dead" occurs in some form in several stories. Names are often reused as well, with chief female characters being frequently named Mary, or a variation thereupon (Marie, Maria), while a number of MacLean's lead male characters are named John. His villains usually feature a coldly competent and ruthless mastermind paired with a hulking, brutishly powerful subordinate.

Force 10 from Navarone, MacLean's only sequel, picks up from where the film version of The Guns of Navarone leaves off, not his original novel. Otherwise MacLean eschewed inter-novel continuity
Continuity (fiction)
In fiction, continuity is consistency of the characteristics of persons, plot, objects, places and events seen by the reader or viewer over some period of time...

, save for two instances of a character from one novel appearing in another - Colonel De Graaf from Puppet on a Chain reappeared in Floodgate, and Professor Benson from Goodbye California making a second appearance in Santorini.
Altogether, MacLean published 28 novels and a collection of short stories, as well as books about T. E. Lawrence
T. E. Lawrence
Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Edward Lawrence, CB, DSO , known professionally as T. E. Lawrence, was a British Army officer renowned especially for his liaison role during the Arab Revolt against Ottoman Turkish rule of 1916–18...

 and James Cook
James Cook
Captain James Cook, FRS, RN was a British explorer, navigator and cartographer who ultimately rose to the rank of captain in the Royal Navy...

.
There have been reports of a "lost" MacLean novel titled Snow on the Ben, but it appears to be by a different Ian Stuart (refer ISBN 0-7089-6503-2).

Many of MacLean's novels were made into films, but none completely captured the level of detail and the intensity of his writing style as exemplified in classics such as Fear is the Key; the two most artistically and commercially successful film adaptations were The Guns of Navarone
The Guns of Navarone (film)
The Guns of Navarone is a 1961 British-American Action/Adventure war film based on the 1957 novel of the same name about the Dodecanese Campaign of World War II by Scottish thriller writer Alistair MacLean. It stars Gregory Peck, David Niven and Anthony Quinn, along with Anthony Quayle and Stanley...

and Where Eagles Dare
Where Eagles Dare
Where Eagles Dare is a 1968 World War II action-adventure spy film starring Richard Burton, Clint Eastwood and Mary Ure. It was directed by Brian G. Hutton and shot on location in Upper Austria and Bavaria....

.
Moreover, MacLean also wrote screenplays, some of them based on his novels and others later novelized by other writers. MacLean wrote the novel and screenplay of Where Eagles Dare at the same time; in effect it was commissioned by Richard Burton
Richard Burton
Richard Burton, CBE was a Welsh actor. He was nominated seven times for an Academy Award, six of which were for Best Actor in a Leading Role , and was a recipient of BAFTA, Golden Globe and Tony Awards for Best Actor. Although never trained as an actor, Burton was, at one time, the highest-paid...

, who wanted to make a "boy's own" type adventure film that he could take his son to see. The book and screenplay differ markedly in that, in the book, the Smith and Schaffer characters at times go out of their way not to kill anyone, whereas in the film they basically shoot anything that moves. In fact, the film contains Clint Eastwood
Clint Eastwood
Clinton "Clint" Eastwood, Jr. is an American film actor, director, producer, composer and politician. Eastwood first came to prominence as a supporting cast member in the TV series Rawhide...

's highest on-screen body count, as well as a far more laconic interpretation of the Schaffer character.

Around 1980, MacLean was commissioned by an American movie production company to write a series of story outlines to be subsequently produced as movies. He invented the fictitious United Nations Anti-Crime Organization (UNACO
UNACO
UNACO is a fictional agency within the United Nations created by author Alistair MacLean in a series of movie outlines he developed before his death. These outlines were made into full-length novels by numerous authors, most notably Alastair MacNeill.UNACO uses groups of people to form "strike...

), and the books were later completed by others. Among these are Hostage Tower by John Denis and Death Train by Alastair MacNeill. Some of these works bear little resemblance to MacLean's style, especially in their use of gratuitous sex and violence.

MacLean's influence on future adventure/thriller writers is somewhat hard to measure, due to the conventions and expected requirements of the genre changing.

After his death, the popularity of MacLean's work saw a decline, and, according to Amazon.com, as of 2006 none of his novels were in print in the US. However, most are currently still in print in paperback in the UK.

List of works

Novels
Year Title Notes
1955 HMS Ulysses
HMS Ulysses (novel)
HMS Ulysses was the first novel by Scottish author Alistair MacLean, and ultimately, one of his most popular. Originally published in 1955, it was also released by Fontana Books in 1960...

1957 The Guns of Navarone
The Guns of Navarone (novel)
The Guns of Navarone is a 1957 novel about World War II by Scottish thriller writer Alistair MacLean that was made into a critically acclaimed film in 1961...

1957 South by Java Head
South by Java Head
South by Java Head is a novel written by Scottish author Alistair MacLean, and was first published in 1958. MacLean's personal experiences in the Royal Navy during World War II provided part of the basis for the story.-Plot introduction:...

1959 The Last Frontier
The Last Frontier (novel)
The Last Frontier is a novel written by Scottish author Alistair MacLean, and was first published in 1959. It was released in the United States under the title The Secret Ways...

in the USA The Secret Ways
1959 Night Without End
Night Without End
Night Without End is a thriller novel by Scottish author Alistair MacLean, first published in 1959. It is generally considered one of MacLean's very best, especially in its depiction of the unforgiving Arctic environment; among others, the Times Literary Supplement gave it strongly favorable...

1961 Fear is the Key
Fear is the Key
Fear Is the Key is a 1961 thriller novel by Scottish author Alistair MacLean, and a 1972 British film based upon it.-Plot introduction:In the prologue, set in May 1958, Talbot, owner of "Trans Carib Air Charter Co" was in radio contact with one of his planes en route to Tampa, Florida, as it is...

1961 The Dark Crusader
The Dark Crusader
The Dark Crusader is a 1961 thriller novel by Scottish author Alistair MacLean. It was released in the United States under the title: The Black Shrike and under the pseudonym Ian Stuart; it was later republished under MacLean's own name.....

in the USA The Black Shrike (as Ian Stuart)
1962 The Golden Rendezvous
1962 The Satan Bug
The Satan Bug (novel)
The Satan Bug is a thriller novel written by Scottish author Alistair MacLean. It was originally published in 1962 under the pseudonym Ian Stuart, and later republished under MacLean's own name.-Plot summary:...

as Ian Stuart
1962 All about Lawrence of Arabia Non-fiction
1963 Ice Station Zebra
1966 When Eight Bells Toll
When Eight Bells Toll
When Eight Bells Toll is a novel written by Scottish author Alistair MacLean and published in 1966. It marked MacLean's return after a three year gap following the publication of Ice Station Zebra. It combines the genres of spy novel and detective novel, with considerable success...

1967 Where Eagles Dare
Where Eagles Dare
Where Eagles Dare is a 1968 World War II action-adventure spy film starring Richard Burton, Clint Eastwood and Mary Ure. It was directed by Brian G. Hutton and shot on location in Upper Austria and Bavaria....

1968 Force 10 From Navarone
Force 10 From Navarone (novel)
Force 10 from Navarone is a World War II novel by Scottish author Alistair MacLean published in 1968. It is a sequel to MacLean's very popular 1957 The Guns of Navarone, but in terms of plot continuity chooses to follow the also popular 1961 film adaptation, such as including characters who were in...

1969 Puppet on a Chain
Puppet on a Chain
Puppet on a Chain is a novel by Scottish author Alistair MacLean. Originally published in 1969, it is set in the late 1960's narcotics underworld of Amsterdam and other locations in the Netherlands.-Plot introduction:...

1970 Caravan to Vaccarès
Caravan to Vaccarès
Caravan to Vaccarès is a novel by Scottish author Alistair MacLean, originally published in 1969. This novel is set in the Provence region of southern France.-Plot introduction:...

1971 Bear Island
Bear Island (novel)
Bear Island is a thriller novel by Scottish author Alistair MacLean. Originally published in 1971, it was the last of MacLean's novels to be written in first-person narrative...

1972 Alistair MacLean Introduces Scotland Non-fiction, edited by Alastair Dunnett
Alastair Dunnett
Sir Alastair MacTavish Dunnett was a Scottish journalist and newspaper editor. He edited The Daily Record newspaper for nine years and The Scotsman newspaper from 1956 to 1972. In 1975 he became chairman of Thomson Scottish Petroleum and was much involved in the establishment of the oil...

1972 Captain Cook Non-fiction
1973 The Way to Dusty Death
The Way to Dusty Death (novel)
The Way to Dusty Death is a thriller novel written by Scottish author Alistair MacLean. It was originally published in 1973. The title is a quotation from a famous passage in Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Act 5, Scene 5.-Plot introduction:...

1974 Breakheart Pass
Breakheart Pass (novel)
Breakheart Pass is a novel by Alistair MacLean, first published in 1974. It was a departure for MacLean in that, despite the thriller novel plot, the setting is essentially that of a western novel, set in America in the 19th century. Fans of Maclean will recognize the usual plots twists,...

1975 Circus
Circus (novel)
Circus is a novel written by the Scottish author Alistair MacLean. It was first released in the United Kingdom by Collins in 1975 and later in the same year by Doubleday in the United States.-Plot introduction:...

1976 The Golden Gate
The Golden Gate (MacLean novel)
The Golden Gate is a novel written by the Scottish author Alistair MacLean. It was first released in the United Kingdom by Collins in 1976 and later in the same year by Doubleday in the United States.-Plot:...

1977 Seawitch
1978 Goodbye California
Goodbye California (novel)
Goodbye California is a novel by Scottish author Alistair MacLean, first published in 1977.-Plot introduction:Set in the United States, an Islamic terrorist kidnaps nuclear scientists and steals radioactive material from a California nuclear power plant...

 
1980 Athabasca
Athabasca (novel)
Athabasca is a novel by Scottish author Alistair MacLean, first published in 1980. As with the novel Night Without End, it depicts adventure, sabotage and murder in the unforgiving Arctic environment...

1981 River of Death
1982 Partisans
Partisans (novel)
Partisans is a novel by Scottish author Alistair MacLean, first published in 1982. MacLean reverted to the theme of World War II, with which he was successful and highly popular in his early career...

1983 Floodgate
Floodgate (novel)
Floodgate is a novel by Scottish author Alistair MacLean, first published in 1983. It is a rare example of inter-novel continuity in MacLean's writing, as one of the characters in his previous novel Puppet on a Chain makes a re-appearance....

1984 San Andreas
San Andreas (novel)
San Andreas is a novel by Scottish author Alistair MacLean, first published in 1984. One of his final novels, it returns to MacLean's original genre: war at sea.-Plot introduction:...

1985 The Lonely Sea Collection of short stories
1986 Santorini
Santorini (novel)
Santorini is the final novel by Scottish author Alistair MacLean, first published in 1986.-Plot introduction:While on station in the Aegean Sea under the guise of a hydrographic survey mission, the crew of Royal Navy electronic intelligence vessel HMS Ariadne witnesses two disasters at once, a...



UNACO
UNACO
UNACO is a fictional agency within the United Nations created by author Alistair MacLean in a series of movie outlines he developed before his death. These outlines were made into full-length novels by numerous authors, most notably Alastair MacNeill.UNACO uses groups of people to form "strike...

 books by other authors
Year Title Notes
1980 Hostage Tower by John Denis
1981 Air Force One is Down by John Denis
1989 Death Train by Alastair MacNeill
1989 Night Watch by Alastair MacNeill
1990 Red Alert by Alastair MacNeill
1991 Time of the Assassins by Alastair MacNeill
1992 Dead Halt by Alastair MacNeill
1993 Code Breaker by Alastair MacNeill
1995 Rendezvous by Alastair MacNeill
1997 Prime Target by Hugh Miller
1998 Borrowed Time by Hugh Miller


Golden Girl Series by other authors
Year Title Notes
1992 Golden Girl by Simon Gandolfi
1993 Golden Web by Simon Gandolfi
1994 Golden Vengeance by Simon Gandolfi


Movies with Screenplay Contribution
Year Title Notes
1968 Where Eagles Dare
Where Eagles Dare
Where Eagles Dare is a 1968 World War II action-adventure spy film starring Richard Burton, Clint Eastwood and Mary Ure. It was directed by Brian G. Hutton and shot on location in Upper Austria and Bavaria....

book author/screenplay
1970 Puppet on a Chain
Puppet on a Chain (film)
Puppet on a Chain is a 1971 British thriller film directed by Geoffrey Reeve and starring Sven-Bertil Taube, Barbara Parkins and Alexander Knox. It is based on the novel Puppet on a Chain by Alastair MacLean. An American agent goes to Amsterdam to break up gangs smuggling drugs out of the...

book author/screenplay
1971 When Eight Bells Toll
When Eight Bells Toll (1971 film)
When Eight Bells Toll is a 1971 action film set in Scotland, based upon Scottish author Alistair MacLean's 1965 novel of the same name. Producer Elliott Kastner planned to produce a string of realistic gritty espionage thrillers to rival the James Bond series, but the film's poor box office...

book author/screenplay
1975 Breakheart Pass
Breakheart Pass (1975 film)
Breakheart Pass is an American 1975 western adventure film that stars Charles Bronson, Ben Johnson, Richard Crenna, and Jill Ireland. The movie was based on the novel by Alistair MacLean of the same title, and was filmed in north central Idaho.-Plot:...

book author/screenplay


Other Movies
Year Title Notes
1961 The Secret Ways
The Secret Ways
The Secret Ways is a 1961 thriller film based on Alistair McLean's novel The Last Frontier.-Plot:American adventurer Michael Reynolds is hired by an international espionage ring to smuggle a noted scholar and resistance leader, Professor Jansci, out of Communist-ruled Hungary...

book author
1961 The Guns of Navarone
The Guns of Navarone (film)
The Guns of Navarone is a 1961 British-American Action/Adventure war film based on the 1957 novel of the same name about the Dodecanese Campaign of World War II by Scottish thriller writer Alistair MacLean. It stars Gregory Peck, David Niven and Anthony Quinn, along with Anthony Quayle and Stanley...

book author
1965 The Satan Bug
The Satan Bug
The Satan Bug is a science fiction film directed by John Sturges that stars George Maharis and Anne Francis. It was loosely adapted from Alistair MacLean's 1962 novel of the same name...

book author
1968 Ice Station Zebra
Ice Station Zebra (film)
Ice Station Zebra is a 1968 action film directed by John Sturges, starring Rock Hudson, Patrick McGoohan, Ernest Borgnine, and Jim Brown. The screenplay by Alistair MacLean, Douglas Heyes, Harry Julian Fink, and W.R. Burnett is loosely based upon MacLean's 1963 novel of the same name. Both have...

book author
1972 Fear Is the Key
Fear is the Key
Fear Is the Key is a 1961 thriller novel by Scottish author Alistair MacLean, and a 1972 British film based upon it.-Plot introduction:In the prologue, set in May 1958, Talbot, owner of "Trans Carib Air Charter Co" was in radio contact with one of his planes en route to Tampa, Florida, as it is...

book author
1974 Caravan to Vaccares
Caravan to Vaccarès (film)
Caravan to Vaccarès is a 1974 British action film directed by Geoffrey Reeve and starring David Birney, Charlotte Rampling and Michael Lonsdale...

book author
1977 Golden Rendezvous book author
1978 Force 10 from Navarone book author
1979 Bear Island
Bear Island (film)
Bear Island is a 1979 British-Canadian thriller film based on the novel Bear Island by Alistair MacLean. It was directed by Don Sharp and starred Donald Sutherland, Vanessa Redgrave, Richard Widmark, Christopher Lee and Lloyd Bridges.-Plot:...

book author
1980 The Hostage Tower
The Hostage Tower
The Hostage Tower is a 1980 American spy and thriller telemovie starring Peter Fonda and Douglas Fairbanks Jr., and directed by Claudio Guzmán, well-known for his work in sitcoms. It is based on a book of the same name by John Denis writing as Alistair MacLean. The book was written deliberately for...

story
1989 River of Death book author
1993 Death Train
Death Train
Death Train, also known as Detonator, is a 1993 made for TV movie, one of Pierce Brosnan's earlier films. It also stars Christopher Lee, Patrick Stewart, Ted Levine and Alexandra Paul...

story
1995 The Way to Dusty Death book author
1995 Night Watch
Night Watch (1995 film)
Night Watch is a 1995 American television spy film directed by David Jackson starring Pierce Brosnan and Alexandra Paul. The film, also known as Alistair MacLean's Nightwatch, was shot in Hong Kong....

story
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