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The Guns of Navarone (1957)

by Alistair MacLean

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Navarone (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,485338,736 (3.86)98
Twelve hundred British soldiers are isolated and waiting to die on the small island of Kheros, off the Turkish coast. Their lives can be saved if only the long-range, large-caliber, and catastrophically accurate guns of Navarone are silenced before the British Royal Navy arrives.
  1. 00
    Where Eagles Dare by Alistair MacLean (hsuvarna)
    hsuvarna: Both are wonderful war stories.

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» See also 98 mentions

English (25)  Dutch (3)  Swedish (2)  Spanish (1)  Hebrew (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (33)
Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
A fun read that was much better than the movie yet I probably wouldn’t have picked it up unless I’d seen the movie. Great buildup yet it did finish a bit too quickly. ( )
  drew_asson | Mar 22, 2020 |
It was an excellent read and IMHO was far superior to the movie version back in the early 1960's. In fact there is little the same between the book and movie. For example there are no women in the novel and two in the movie. In the movie there is trouble between a couple of the men in the group... in the novel the men are all for one and one for all.

My only complaint is that once in a while, in the heat of some action, it can get confusing as to what they are doing. ( )
  Lynxear | May 21, 2019 |
According to Wikipedia,
"The Greek island of Navarone does not exist and the plot is fictitious; however, the story takes place within the real historical context of the Dodecanese Campaign, the Allies' campaign to capture the German-held Greek islands in the Aegean Sea in 1943. The story is based on the Battle of Leros, and Leros island's coastal artillery guns – among the largest naval artillery guns used during World War II – that were built and used by the Italians until Italy capitulated in 1943 and subsequently used by the Germans until their defeat."

I have seen the film version a few times but found the book more interesting, in part because the reader is given the thoughts of various characters along the way which changed my feeling about some of them. In the book, all the characters are male - I can understand why the 2 natives of Navarone were changed to women in the movie but the story makes more sense this way. Of course, having seen the movie removed some of the tension from the book as I knew what was coming; I admire the way MacLean gives the reader clues to what will come very subtly, almost like Agatha Christie! ( )
  leslie.98 | Aug 31, 2018 |
I used to read Alistair MacLean's work many years ago. At the time, I found his best novels to be exciting works with gripping suspense, distinctive characters, intriguing scenarios, and unexpected plot twists. Granted, their focus was always on hard-to-believe action and male- daring, with few female characters and no attention to the human side of existence. Having read every one of his books, I own more copies of his works than all but one LT member.

I picked up a hardback copy of The Guns of Navarone recently, to see how well it had aged. To my surprise and enjoyment, it has all of the features I used to like in his novels. It is classic World War II fiction, of course (see the description below from an online source). It is an action packed thriller, and the Allied operatives show superhuman skill and bravery against the Germans; in fact, their survival and success against all odds is far from credible, requiring quite a suspension of disbelief. Nevertheless, I found it quite enjoyable. Given the qualities of this work, I do wonder why he isn't read more by modern readers. If he were publishing these works today, would they be on nationwide best seller lists? Perhaps so; of 119 reviews of The Guns of Navarone at Amazon, 86% give it four or five stars. as do the great majority of those ranking it here at Library Thing.

Based on this experience, I shall reread other examples of MacLean's best work, such as my former favorites, Where Eagles Dare, Force Ten from Navarone, and When Eight Bells Toll.

Online description: It is 1943. Two huge German guns in a grim, impregnable fortress on a beautiful island off the coast of Turkey are having a devastating impact on Allied shipping and preventing the evacuation of hard-pressed British troops from the nearby island of Kheros. The Germans are poised to overrun and unless the guns can be put out of action within a matter of days, a thousand men will die. All previous attempts to attack the fortress of Navarone have failed. It is time for one last desperate throw of the dice. And so a select Subversive Operations commando unit, led by the famous pre-war mountaineer Captain Keith Mallory, launches a daring and very possibly suicidal attack. ( )
1 vote danielx | Jul 28, 2017 |
A very good thriller. The attitudes of the characters are very 1950's, the ethos that also gave rise to the James Bond stories. Our hero is a skilled climber, plucked from a relative backwater to perform a desperate mission. The locals are helpful, bt engaged in their own politics, and the villain, a former professional rival. A satisfying escape. ( )
  DinadansFriend | Jun 25, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (16 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
MacLean, Alistairprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Helander, ColbjørnTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pacey, StevenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pacey, StevenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tejn, MichaelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vuoristo, AaroTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zacke, EinarTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The match scratched noisily across the rusted metal of the corrugated iron shed, fizzled, then burst into a sputtering pool of light, the harsh sound and sudden brilliance alike strangely alien in the stillness of the desert night.
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Twelve hundred British soldiers are isolated and waiting to die on the small island of Kheros, off the Turkish coast. Their lives can be saved if only the long-range, large-caliber, and catastrophically accurate guns of Navarone are silenced before the British Royal Navy arrives.

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Average: (3.86)
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