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The Blue Ice by Hammond Innes
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The Blue Ice (1948)

by Hammond Innes

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Boating enthusiasts, miners and fans of stories involving the aftermath of WW2 may find something to like in this 1950s thriller. The protagonist, Bill Gansert, is all set to sail his new yacht to the Mediterranean, but his boss at the mineral company sends him to Norway instead. Their old colleague George Farnell was hunting up mineral deposits and seemed to have found a profitable source of thorite -- but he was killed without revealing the exact location of the deposits. Gansert needs to find the thorite first before rival companies do and ensure that he and his crew don't meet the same fate as Farnell.

Overall this was a good thriller. It was like an Alistair MacLean but with a female character, Jill Somers, who could drive the boat and ski just as competently as the men, and they didn't make that much of a deal about it. For a 1950s thriller this seems remarkably progressive (bar the occasional asides about women not being able to understand the thrall that these mineral deposits could hold over a man). Also, there were no gratuitous sex scenes, much to my relief. In terms of setting, the atmosphere of Norway was brought to life effectively, especially in the use of Norwegian dialogue when the whaling ships were communicating with each other. It was presented in a way that enabled the reader to pick up on what they were saying even if the reader did not know Norwegian. I love when books set in other countries use the prevailing language!

I did find the twists and turns a bit wearisome to follow by the end, but there are worse thrillers out there. I am looking forward to reading more of Innes's work. ( )
  rabbitprincess | May 11, 2016 |
The Blue Ice - Hammond Innes ****

Having just come back from Norway and a tour of the Glaciers I loved this adventure story from Hammond Innes.

The main character and narrator of the book is Bill Gansert. We find him at the beginning about to set sail for warmer climates aboard his own personal boat. He is convinced to alter his destination by his former employers and try and find out the location of where a rare mineral came from.

He soon is on the tail of the deceased mineralogist George Farnell. Accompanied by several characters, each with their own reasons for joining the group, he sets off for Fjords and Glaciers of Norway.

A well written mystery adventure with more than enough plot twists to keep the reader hanging on every word. If you are a fan of Alistair Maclean then you will love this. The only reason I knocked the rating down to a 4 is the love interest dragged slightly and got I the way of the main plot.

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  Bridgey | Sep 30, 2013 |
Another classic Innes thriller from the 1940s that hasn't really stood the test of time. The implausible and overcomplicated plot about rival mining companies and a sample of ore turned up by an eccentric prospector takes far too long to get going. Many of the characters are Norwegian whalers who have been imported wholesale from The white South. The ski-chase across the Norwegian mountains in the last part of the book is exciting, but it ends up in a ridiculous Hollywood stunt that might work on screen, but is just plain silly on the printed page. ( )
  thorold | Dec 27, 2010 |
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Ten years after George Farnell's disappearance, two lines of poetry and a lump of mineral ore are found. It's enough to send mineral expert Bill Gansert to Norway. But word of his findings has leaked out and Gansert finds himself caught in a maze of ambition and treachery.
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