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The Lonely Sea: Collected Short Stories

3.77  ·  Rating Details ·  317 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
Collection of riveting tales of the sea including the story that launched his writing career, the account of the epic battle to sink the German battle ship, Bismarck, and two new stories collected here for the first time.


Alistair MacLean has an unmistakable and unrivalled skill in writing about the sea and its power and about the men a
Hardcover, 222 pages
Published 1985 by Doubleday Books
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Shalini M
Mar 13, 2013 Shalini M rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
'The Lonely Sea’ is a collection of all the short stories written by Alistair McLean over his entire career, starting with his first story ‘The Dileas’, that launched his career as a writer. The stories encompass a wide range of plots; the common thread, as the name suggests, being a connection with the sea, in one form or other. He has an unmatched gift in writing about sea, and I think it would be his career in the Royal Navy during the war, that armed him with this skill.

Nearly half of the st
Sep 02, 2013 Jamie rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Short story collection ranging from good to great. The Dileas (MacLean's first published story as I recall) is one of the best short stories I have ever read.
Jul 25, 2011 Bill rated it liked it
Shelves: popular-fiction
I love nautical fiction, and Alistair Maclean's emotive but harsh style is perfect for it.
Martin Hill
Oct 06, 2016 Martin Hill rated it it was amazing

Scottish author Alistair MacLean is one of those writers I usually identify as having a great impact on my own writing career. Though I have not read his entire oeuvre, I read enough of his novels in college for the experience to have had a lasting impact on my work.

Service in the Royal Navy during WWII placed in MacLean an eternal love of the ocean, and that became the scene of his first short story, “DiLeas.” I developed a similar love of the ocean when I served in the U.S. Coast Guard, and ma
Tyler Lees
Aug 17, 2011 Tyler Lees rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a collection of short stories and short historical sketches of famous or notorious World War Two ships.

Most are serious, some are humorous, and most are quite enjoyable reading. Great is you are somewhat episodic in your reading habits like me; I can read a story or sketch then book the book down for a couple of days to do something else.
Mar 20, 2013 Lbaker rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories, war, 1940s
The first story of the book made me cry, it was Mr MacLean's first story, won first prize - 100 pounds, and began his writing career.

Each of the stories were well written, seemed quite unbiased, railed against bureaucracy and seemed well researched. I gave this book to my husband to read, think he will like it even more than I did.
All the short stories in this book are about sailing and navy during wartime. Considering that's not something I've ever really been interested in, this was surprisingly enjoyable.
May 26, 2010 Vionna rated it liked it
I'm not usually a short story fan, but I enjoyed his collected sea tales, mostly from World War II.
Bryn Young-roberts
Slightly apprehensive about short stories, I was pleasantly surprised by this collection of 16 by Alistair MacLean. It starts off with The Dileas, the story that won the author £500 in a competition and set him on course to a career in writing. To be honest, I found it mediocre and trite, with an ending that sets a pattern for many of his tales - after some heroics by a character there is some revelation that they served in the war or had some sort of past that is supposed to make us consider th ...more
Dusk Peterson
May 26, 2011 Dusk Peterson rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Readers of naval fiction, naval nonfiction, military history, and military historical fiction
This collection of Alistair MacLean's short works ends with a rather sad essay by the author, in which he disavows any intentions to be literary or meaningful - sad because his first novel, "H.M.S. Ulysses," was in fact both literary and meaningful, and all the more entertaining as a result. Alas, he reports that a couple more of his meaningful novels didn't go over well with the readers. (I suspect that one of them must have been "The Last Frontier," which, for all its virtues, includes long mo ...more
Apr 01, 2010 Jim rated it really liked it
Every once in a while, I like to read a popular author from the time I was growing up. I was always a right proper little snob who was all too willing to turn his nose up at anyone who had successfully sold a few books. Every once in a while, I find a worthy writer who had something to say. Perhaps their only mistake was to keep saying the same thing in the same way and got rewarded by Hollywood for doing so.

Alistair MacLean is probably best known as the author of The Guns of Navarone and Ice St
Aug 20, 2011 Andrew rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is another of my holiday reads - its a selection of stories (ranging from the entire career of Mr MacLean - including the first story he had published) and dramatic retellings of famous and infamous events on the high seas. From casualties of war to famous sea battles he does not glamourise or vilify the players in each event but tells it with a chilling yet compelling voice.
The reason why i gave this only three stars even with such praise is that the stories of courage and disaster, of ter
Henri Moreaux
The Lonely Sea is a collection of short stories by Alistair MacLean. It includes his very first published story, The Dileas, as well as an assorted mix of fiction & non fiction stories revolving around the sea and many feature World War 2 tragedies. These tragedies include the sinkings of the Rawalpindi, Bismarck, Lancastria and City of Benares.

I generally don't read short story books as they often are a mixed bag of good works & filler works. I felt The Lonely Sea was not an exception t
Jun 07, 2014 Gateacre rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
Having been a seaman on convoy duty during WWII MacLean is always at his best and most authoritative when writing about the sea. This book collects both his short fictional and non-fictional work. Most of the non-fiction centres around famous sinking's of WWII and were, I believe, originally published in the British sunday press. The fiction includes his first award winning short story, which launched his career, plus 2 stories not published before. MacLean tells all the stories with verve and c ...more
May 30, 2015 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Collected true stories of the seas. Fishing boats, battles, storms, rescues. The ships and boats are populated with captains, navigators, smugglers, drug dealers. A great variety of well-told stories of the sea.
Aug 12, 2013 Pasi rated it liked it
Includes two excellent stories: Dileas, his first published one, and a story about sinking the Bismarc, which must be my favourite navy short story ever. Other than those two, not really my cup of tea, even though I like MacLean's novels.
Fredrick Danysh
Jul 02, 2011 Fredrick Danysh rated it really liked it
During his career MacLean wrote numerous short stories dealing with the sea and the men who plied her. This is a collection that spans his writing career.
Ajitabh Pandey
A collection of short stories by Alistair Maclean. All the stories are excellent and related to sea. You can see the deep expressive knowledge of the author.
Alistaire King
Sep 11, 2015 Alistaire King rated it really liked it
Normally don't particularly like short stories but this collection is the exception. The standout stories are Rendezvous and The Dileas and the story of the City of Benares and Jervis Bay.
Dennis Maconaghie
Dennis Maconaghie rated it liked it
Feb 11, 2017
Phanindra Acharla
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Aug 02, 2007
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Feb 03, 2012
peter alkemade
peter alkemade rated it it was amazing
Aug 11, 2015
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Feb 06, 2012
Patrick Ryan
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Dec 14, 2013
Tom rated it it was ok
Mar 09, 2015
Glen rated it really liked it
Jul 26, 2014
Nishantha Wickramasinghe
Nishantha Wickramasinghe rated it it was amazing
Oct 30, 2016
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Feb 19, 2012
May 07, 2016 Ronald rated it it was ok
read some time in 1992
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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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