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Ice Station Zebra Paperback – June 7, 2011
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'A thoroughly professional cliff-hanger' Sunday Telegraph--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Inside Flap
The Dolphin, pride of America's nuclear fleet, is the only submarine capable of attempting the rescue of a British meteorological team trapped on the polar ice cap. The officers of the Dolphin know well the hazards of such an assignment. What they do not know is that the rescue attempt is really a cover-up for one of the most desperate espionage missions of the Cold War -- and that the Dolphin is heading straight for sub-zero disaster, facing hidding sabotage, murder . . . and a deadly, invisible enemy . . . --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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As is often the case in MacLean's work, the protagonist is more than he appears, and is a person dealing with a deep, personal pain. The captain and crew of the sub are likeable, 3-D characters. It's been so many decades since I first read this I really am no judge of how likely it is that a new reader will be able to figure out who the bad guy(s) is/are, but I think MacLean does a good job of concealing his/their identity/identities without cheating. The fire under the ice is one of the more exciting, truly knuckle-biting episodes in fiction. And as always, MacLean sprinkles bits of wry humor throughout.
For those who have seen the movie, there are some pretty serious divergences in the story. Plus the movie started out fantastic in my opinion, and then devolved into Star Trek phony-rubber-set style silliness at the end. Which I guess has another kind of charm.
The story centers around a station set up in the Arctic, where a meteorological station has been established, but is in trouble and is sending out SOS and so the US sends a nuclear submarine under the ice to rescue them. Along the way, there is sabotage, harrowing fascinating moments of finding a place to break through the ice and pure adventure. I loved this part of the novel, when they were trying to find the drifting station.
There are surprises and of course there are people who aren't what they appear, aka spies, which drives the final half of the novel to a very satisfying conclusion. Particularly frightening was a fire on the sub.
I studied on a sub so I found it to be very realistic and innovative. MacLean clearly did his homework.
MacLean's stories are easy to imagine as movies. I'm aware that some have been made into movies, but the very person who recommended MacLean to me has been advised against watching them.
Don't read the back of the book; it's a bit of a spoiler.
time for a remake of that
will always wonder if this novel was written For McGoohan. Cost Prisoner fans one episode without Paddy!