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North Star by Hammond Innes
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North Star (1974)

by Hammond Innes

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North Star - Hammond Innes *****

I have read a few Hammond Innes books over the past few years and always enjoyed them. I love the settings he chooses to write about (mostly the sea or icy locations) as he always manages to bring them to life for the reader. North Star is no exception, with the majority of the novel set against the backdrop of the Shetland Islands and North Sea.

What is it about?
Michael Randall is a man with a past, formerly an industrial activist he once witnessed an act of violence and now must decide on how to act. He resolves to leave his old way of life behind him and throws himself into the restoration of a recently wrecked trawler, however his old associates soon find him and in an attempt to apply pressure they makes things extremely awkward both inside and outside the law. Soon lives are at risk and decisions must be made. Michael Randall isn’t a particularly likeable person, he is a loner and often has a personality as changing as the weather that surrounds him, but he must face his demons and battle not just the enemy, but nature as well.

What did I like?
Innes is one of those writers that possess an ability to pack a lot of technical information into a book and yet not slow down the speed of the novel. It is obviously very well researched and although a lot of the technology used has since been eclipsed it really didn’t take anything away from the novel. Oddly enough I read this book while cruising through the North Sea, it made me realise just how brilliant his descriptions of nature really are, he can look at a wave and through his writing make the reader view it in a totally different light. The action when it comes is never over the top and nothing is sensationalised for the sake of a shock.

What didn’t I like?
I suppose my only issue with the book was that the content seems to have dated quite badly. We are no longer in a time of mass industrial action or in a time when people had to work or didn’t eat (at least in the UK). It appeared odd to me the reasons behind the various acts of sabotage, but a little bit of background reading made it mostly fall into place.

Would I recommend?
Definitely, this is my 3rd book by the author and I really can’t wait to get stuck into the next one. If you are a fan of action stories with a bit more depth than the normal offerings, you will love Innes. ( )
  Bridgey | Sep 23, 2015 |
4659. North Star, by Hammond Innes (read 12 Jan 2010) I read Innes's The Wreck of the Mary Deare on 31 May 1998 and was so impressed by it that I thought I should read something more by him. This is not as good a book as that, but it does have an exciting finish. It deals with an oil rig near the Shetland Islands, and is full of technical authenticity, as well as good descriptions of the Shetland area. The central character is not too admirable a man but one is yet hopeful he will suvive the awful storm which concludes the book. The book has good things to be said for it but it did not live up to my hopes. ( )
  Schmerguls | Jan 12, 2010 |
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Epigraph
No, when the fight begins within himself,

A man's worth something.

      Browning
Dedication
For Nora and Jim

whose assistance was invaluable
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It was March, the wind cold from the north-east and the Fisher Maid plunging down the waves with a wicked twist to her tail.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0006145922, Paperback)

A thriller in which a North Sea oil rig guard is pushed to the limits when a savage storm hits the platform, and one mans decision marks the turning point, starting a desperate battle for life. From the author of TARGET ANTARCTICA.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:47 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

There he finds a North Sea oil rig and the unlikely possibility of a new life. But one stormy night this glimmer of hope for the future, and Randall's life itself, is thrown into jeopardy.

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