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Book review: When Eight Bells Toll by Alistair MacLean

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This is the first in a series of blog posts about authors and books who have influenced my writing. When Eight Bells Toll was published in 1966. The main character is Philip Calvert, a government agent investigating the disappearance of ships in waters surrounding Britain. It’s a great story about big time corporate crooks, piracy, kidnapping and salvage. Calvert eventually eliminates his enemy, solves the puzzle, and gets the girl, happy endings all round, apart from all the people who were killed along the way. Why I liked this book: Setting The cold, wet, stormy, rough waters of western Scotland, appalling weather, and the boats and ships, are so well described it's like being there. The weather and the sea are additional enemies to confront and overcome. Main character Calvert is a courageous man taking on the bad guys, mostly single-handed, for a good cause. He is easy to admire and to empathise with. Pace There’s no unnecessary prose. Anything that's the