The Black Shrike
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The Black Shrike

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3.49 of 5 stars 3.49  ·  rating details  ·  621 ratings  ·  30 reviews
Eight job advertisements. Eight jobs. Eight specialists in modern technology required.Eight scientists to fill them. Applicants to be married, with no children, and prepared to travel. Highly persuasive salaries.One criminal mastermind. Eight positions filled. Eight scientists - and their wives - disappear. Completely.One secret agent to stop him.Advertisment no.9. Sydney,...more
Mass Market Paperback, Gold Medal M2340; SBN 449-02340-095, 223 pages
Published September 12th 1981 by Fawcett Publications, Inc. (first published 1961)
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Sandy
Oh, the magic and the mystery of the printed word! Isn't it remarkable how an old paperback book--a mass of thinly cut wood pulp and ink marks--can sit ignored on a bookshelf for many decades, gathering dust, and yet, when ultimately opened and perused, maintain its ability to convey information and transport the reader? So I was reminded yet again, when I recently read the 95-cent Fawcett Gold Medal edition of Alistair MacLean's "The Black Shrike," which had been sitting on my shelf since aroun...more
Martin Conisby
Ugh! Alistair, what happened? This book had a great premise, and started off well enough . . . then quickly went south, not only in terms of its geographical locale (an atoll in the South Pacific) but in every conceivable way.

This book made me wonder if Maclean ever met a real live woman in his life. The female character in the story is an embarrassing stereotype of a complete airhead, helpless, emotionally and intellectually vacuous, simply a piece of baggage for the oh-so-tough protagonist to...more
Helen
If you like James Bond style, Alistair MacLean books are quite similar, only show more human, less glamorous side of the events, at the edge of possible and beyond it. One of my favorite authors.

For me, the deepest impression from the book made not the disappearing of best scientists, evil mind on remote tropical island who invented way to make them to do what he required from them, but the start and finish of the book.

Take a look and you will see what I'm talking about.
Mohammad
Very typical and predictable plot, but I still loved it, nonetheless. Chanced upon this book in an abandoned corner of the local bookstore along with other Alistair Maclean books. Took around four home, and found this one to be my favourite.

'You and me and the lights of London.' That note was VERY heart-breaking.
Philip
Oh, no! This was the last of my old "pocket books," as they used to call them - small and thin enough to fit in any pocket; front, back...so 3 stars just on format alone.

Okay, so this isn't great literature. And some of the characters are pretty weak - the female lead is introduced as a real superspy, but then she proves to betotally useless from about page 5 onwards. And the bad guy is not only a cliche evil genius, but he's also a cliche evil genius who looks just like a famous and eccentric s...more
Helen
This was first published in 1961 and is typical of the period, although it's different in that it's not so strongly West vs East and the setting is in the South Pacific. MacLean was a torpedo officer during the Second War and his knowledge of rocketry is obvious in this plot to steal British technology. John Bentall, who has just returned from intelligence work in the Middle East, is told he is to go straight to Heathrow from where he will fly to Australia with his "wife" and look into the disap...more
Rich
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cindy
I finally gave up on this one. Every time I started reading it, the hero was doing or saying something tough, and the love interest was acting like an airhead instead of the strong undercover agent she was said to be in the first chapter. I never did find out what 'The Black Shrike' was, and I just don't care.


* UPDATE *

For some reason, I picked this one up and gave it a second chance. The Black Shrike is a missile, and our hero does eventually save the day. After plenty of time to show us how br...more
Robert Grant
Another ho-hum one from Maclean. I tend to disagree with the critics and find his later work much more polished. The characters are just so cartoony and the dialogue is once again ridiculous. If they did talk that way in real life back in 1961 I am glad that times have changed. Maclean really has no clue about women and they seem to always be doe eyed innocents that slap the main character, put him down at every turn but lo and behold-they are madly in love with him. It is a most infantile chara...more
Glen
more generally known as The Dark Crusader.impossible to review without spoiling it
Tomi Pakei
Berdebu, puluhan tahun yang lalu
Dengan deskripsi yang ekstensif dan alur yang tidak sekejap-sekejap, gado-gado antara James Bond kelas bawah dan sedikit whodunnit ini kuat dalam menghadirkan karakter tokoh-tokohnya. Kita jadi serasa mengenal mereka (tidak sekadar mengikuti kisahnya). Sebuah kekuatan penggambaran, yang bukan tidak mungkin membuat kita masih bisa mengingat beberapa detail pentingnya, bahkan setelah beberapa puluh tahun kemudian.
Laki-laki kecil berdebu di ruangan kecil yang berdebu
...more
Eva
akhirnya selesai juga baca buku ini.. haha.. perlu perjuangan berhubung tulisannya kecil (menurut saya) dan bahasanya nggak nge-flow di hati.. hmm, lebay yee.
menurut saya buku ini meninggalkan kesan so-so, tapi dalam proses pembacaan saya menemukan diri saya ingin membaca, sebelum tidur ingin membaca, lagi ke toilet ingin membaca.. hihi.. jadinya kurang atau lebihnya buku ini, saya cukup menikmati^o^
Craig Becker
I read this book some 40 years ago and still remember it, the big bad secret agent, his girl, the race for the missile. Yeah if I read it again I would probably hate it, the characters couldn't possibly stand up to 2010 sensibilities, but for a 13 year old back in the early 70's it was a great escape.
Daniel
Unfortunately, this book doesn't stand the test of time. Reading about 60's technology in 2012... joke's on me. The main character is this lame version of your average spy, and his female companion is just ridiculous. The ending was OK, but it was too little and too late.
Rusty
Jul 06, 2008 Rusty rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: spy thriller fans
My second favorite book by the author. A scientist, enlisted as a spy, goes undercover to unravel the mysterious disappearance of other scientists. He instead finds he is being used by a government mole to help England's enemies.

Would make a great James Bond movie.
Ricky
The dark crusader is set in an exotic location; it’s fast paced thriller and keeps you on your toes and interested throughout. It’s a well thought out plot with many twists and turns from a master story teller.
Sohail Keegan
The protagonist, Bentall, reminds me of James Bond (from the Ian Fleming novels. Not the movies). The edition I have is authored by Ian Stuart. A pseudonym of MacLean?
Barbara
Originally written as Ian Stuart, this is a very bleak thriller. The good guys win in the end, but at great personal cost.
Ken
I give this three stars because it is a well written book, but some of the events in it I didn't care for a whole lot.
Dreamer
Read this back in 1977 until 3.30am according to my diary so I must have been taken with it!
Suby
Suspense is maintained till the very end. The setting in the Fijian island is perfect!
Robin Gilbert
Another cracker from MacLean... just wish his female characters were a little tougher.
Gateacre
Well plotted although the technology aspect hasn't aged that well. Recommended.
Peter
Honest to God the ending was bland. Its still good to reread Maclean novels.
A.L. Sowards
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aditya
Not worth a review, not with the recent Amazon acquisition :P
Chris
wicked story about missiles and spies, etc.
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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 Hono...more
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