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Bear Island

3.56  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,321 Ratings  ·  52 Reviews
Carmel Duffy is the eldest child of a brutal and abusive marriage, and she can't wait to leave home. She's equally determined to have no husband or family of her own-what she wants more than anything is to be a nurse. As soon as she turns eighteen, she heads for Birmingham and begins her training.However, her resolve is tested when Dr Paul Connolly comes onto her ward. Gra ...more
Paperback, 455 pages
Published 2009 by Harper (first published 1971)
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Cheryl Landmark
Jun 11, 2013 Cheryl Landmark rated it liked it
I can't say I loved this book, but I enjoyed it for the most part. I read quite a few of Alistair MacLean's novels years ago, and I remember Ice Station Zebra being one of my favourites. Mysteries that take place in remote, isolated places where the cast of characters is fairly small and diverse and the plot is complex enough to get your little gray cells working really appeal to me.

The mystery in this one was almost too complicated, though, and it required a rather lengthy explanation by the na
...more
Alan
Aug 14, 2010 Alan rated it liked it
Hm...what I learned from this book. Well, first of all, I like the movie "Bear Island" much better than I liked the book. I suppose that's unusual to begin with. Anyway, as for the book goes, it is a pretty typical Alistair MacLean offering. Though I've read only a few of his books, maybe this is the second, they seem to follow a similar pattern of presentation. It goes something like this...

The first 100 pp or so of the book are spent introducing characters, seeing some of them drop off right a
...more
Aravind
May 16, 2015 Aravind rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Alistair MacLean, to me, is one of those never-can-go-wrong authors whose works are quite decent at worst and extremely satisfying at best... This one's end felt a little tame, considering the mounting suspense through the previous ninety percent of the novel. Nevertheless, chilling & thrilling, this one is a highly enjoyable, trademark MacLean book!
Mahendra Palsule
May 16, 2012 Mahendra Palsule rated it it was ok
Recommended to Mahendra by: Brijesh Kartha
MacLean not at the peak of his class here. A film crew is on a voyage to Bear Island in the Arctic when the ship and film crew members mysteriously start getting killed. First-person narrative without much character development leads to mediocre suspense. This is a thriller but without getting the reader involved at first.

This germ of plot in thrillers where a group of people in isolated situations start getting killed mysteriously one after the other, was perfected and reached its zenith in Chr
...more
Paula Dembeck
This book was published back in 1971, but some include it among the best from this well known author who also penned “The Guns of Navorone”, “Ice Station Zebra” and “Where Eagles Dare”. It is a mystery with an interesting twist, told through the voice of Dr Marlowe. He is the medical man working for a film crew who are destined for Bear Island, an isolated setting in the Barents Sea where they will film scenes for a movie. There has been much secrecy surrounding this film and the screenplay has ...more
Fiona
I wouldn't call this Alistair MacLean at his best, but Bear Island is still a gripping and entertaining read. Sure, it's difficult to keep track of the characters and the protagonist is often an irritating know-all, and the sexism and alcoholism are annoying, but it's still enjoyable, with plenty of action, mystery and suspense. And on the plus side, MacLean is in his element - the setting is spectacular and his understanding of all things thalassic, including ships and islands and Arctic expedi ...more
Stuart Lutzenhiser
Aug 31, 2011 Stuart Lutzenhiser rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
A pot-boiler thriller about a film crew going to an Artic island. Really they are a Nazi group of criminals trying to recover stolen items left over from WWII. Plotting is good enough if the story is trite. I loved MacLean as a kid so I thought I'd read some now to see if I still liked them. Not as much as before, but still pretty good stuff.
Fredrick Danysh
Jun 17, 2013 Fredrick Danysh rated it it was amazing
The Morning Rose has been chartered to take a film crew to the remote Arctic Bear Island. Christopher Marlowe, the ship's doctor, in addition to treating sea sick passengers has to deal with a murder among the crew. There is a secret on Bear Island worth killing for.
Thomas Strömquist
Early 70's MacLean which is a cross between his more pure suspensethrillers and "action"-books of the period.
David Ross Wood
Classic Alistair Maclean.
Glen
Apr 21, 2014 Glen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gripping story ...
Jesse
Mar 06, 2015 Jesse rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A movie production company heads off to Bear Island, a remote island in the Arctic off the north coast of Norway. Mystery, suspense, murder and mayhem ensue, almost as soon as the boat has left Britain. No one on board the ship to Bear Island is quite what he or she seems to be...and things only get more dangerous once they actually get to the island.

This book was a total mixed bag for me. There were some things I liked, and there were a lot of things I couldn't stand. I'll start with the things
...more
Rebecca
Nov 26, 2012 Rebecca rated it liked it
A film crew is trapped on a ship, with no way off and people dropping dead all over the place. There is suspense and surprises and people who are not always what they seem. And the narrator is interesting, and it’s fun to listen to him as he works through his suspicion of everyone and goes over the evidence for and against everyone, trying to figure out what is going on. There is a lot of dialogue, most of the book is dialogue, and it becomes what drives the story more than anything else. So, ev ...more
Julian Walker
Nov 14, 2014 Julian Walker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Classic MacLean (author Alistair, not Die Hard John) set in the frozen north with the usual one man against the odds (perhaps he should have written Die Hard scripts?)

As usual he really brings the surroundings to life, and the chill of the wind can be felt by the reader. Good plot. Interesting characters. Good twists.

A perfect thriller, beautifully executed.
Geoffrey
May 12, 2016 Geoffrey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thrillers, adventure
I read this twice, once as a teen, and then 25 years later. The reread showed me why it so exhilarated me as a young kid. Maybe MacLean is not the best writer, but he is a great storyteller. (I went on to read most of his other books as a kid:-)
Yash Mehta
Apr 18, 2015 Yash Mehta rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The novel is stunningly, chillingly thrilling. MacLean is back to his stronghold of the icy Arctic setting, and the ingenious plot and wonderful writing gives way to a really page-flipping Mystery Thriller.
Russell
Though I'd never heard of it before ordering a copy from a used bookseller, I enjoyed reading "Bear Island." If you've read other MacLean books, it follows a time-honored progression, with a cool-headed hero, lots of twists, and a last chapter that explains all. You know all these elements will be there, but despite that it's not trite, just comfortingly familiar.
John Williams
This book has not aged as well as some of Alistair MacLean's book. Barely 3 stars. I read it on the plane going to Ethiopia. OK for that. A fair amount of action.
Luce Cronin
A very well written murder mystery by this renown Scottish author. It was, however, simply not my kind of book. Very intricate plot with loads of characters who are not what they purport to be.... Set on a ship and an island in the Arctic circle, this book with its icy setting, and very weird characters, just did not resonate with me.
Markku
Nov 29, 2014 Markku rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Quite bad detective/adventure novel. Didn't like the "average doctor/Godlike superman" main character and the general shallowness.
Diane Wachter
HB-M @ 1971, 4/90. Mystery about a film company's journey to a deserted island north of the Arctic circle. Okay.
Nakul Bende
Aug 02, 2015 Nakul Bende rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Amazing style - starts a couple of stories together and ties them later in the book.
Orson
Mar 16, 2014 Orson rated it it was ok
I actually finished this book two months ago. I've read some of MacClean's books before and enjoyed each one. However, this book was a huge chore to slog through. The critics raved that this was one of his best stories. ??? I beg to differ. I really didn't enjoy this story at all. Not only was it hard to follow but there were two characters with the same first name. This made it exceptionally tiring trying to figure out which Mary was being talked about. And when the two characters were in the s ...more
Rohit Kunal
Good read. Good mystery and suspense. Disappointed by the ending.
kami
Aug 17, 2014 kami rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hardback BCA version 1971/72
Alistaire King
Feb 24, 2016 Alistaire King rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was one of the first Alistair MacLean books that I read back as youngster in the 1970's. I enjoyed it then and having just re-read it I still find it as enjoyable. I know some criticize MacLean for being dated but what do they expect, this book was written in 1971 and he was a product of his time and that is going to be reflected in his work so cut him some slack and enjoy the tale. This is a particular favourite of mine, fast moving with plenty of twists and turns.
Suby
Jun 24, 2012 Suby rated it really liked it
Can't say this is one of the best of Alistair MacLean. All the ingredients are there - an old trawler refitted as a cruise boat, stormy seas in icy waters near Greenland, the good doctor who must treat the passengers and also solve murder mysteries.
Still the whole novel rests on the narrative prowess of the author. It would have helped if the plot was as good or better.
Surreysmum
Sep 20, 2009 Surreysmum rated it liked it
Shelves: 1981, thrillers
Absolutely in the mould of the MacLean thrillers - a plot so complex that you are screaming for the explanation by the end, an undercover agent doing the first-person narration, a series of grisly murders, and a sweet gierl or two. Appalling waste of time, and a tremendously enjoyable read. I was transfixed. [These notes made in 1981:]
Roger Weston
Nov 12, 2011 Roger Weston rated it it was amazing
Bear Island is an entertaining mystery/adventure. Right from the start, the suspense bubbles beneath the action. Characters great. Setting vivid. Island remote. The pace a is bit slow at times, but the mystery kept me reading and guessing. MacLean’s best that I’ve read still The Guns of Navarone.
Love Flowers
Dec 25, 2013 Love Flowers rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a very engaging thriller.
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Alistair Stuart MacLean (Scottish Gaelic: Alasdair MacGill-Eain), the son of a Scots Minister, was brought up in the Scottish Highlands. In 1941, at the age of eighteen, he joined the Royal Navy; two and a half years spent aboard a cruiser were to give him the background for HMS Ulysses, his first novel, the outstanding documentary novel on the war at sea. After the war he gained an English Honour ...more
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