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Ice Station Zebra

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3.92  ·  Rating Details  ·  10,655 Ratings  ·  166 Reviews
The US nuclear atomic submarine Dolphin slips out of Holy Loch in a hurry one stormy night. The submarine is to take Dr. Carpenter under the North Polar ice-cap, surfacing near a burnt-out weather station, Zebra.
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Published May 1st 1994 by Isis (first published 1963)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Bob Mayer
Feb 02, 2014 Bob Mayer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the classic thrillers. Made into a decent movie.

Back in the good old days when the Soviets were the bad guys the Cold War was cold. Really cold in this case. MacLean was a master story-teller with fast paced plots. The race to Ice Station Zebra is classic; one thing this book taught me as a writer is that you can push the limits to develop characters. While some thing might seem amazing coincidences-- why not?

I commanded an A-Team in 10th Special Forces so we did Winter Warfare every yea
...more
James
Jul 10, 2015 James rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One part Agatha Christie, one part Hunt for Red October, this ended up being better than I thought it would be, because I had some real doubts over the first 75 or so pages. It really plods along over those early few chapters, taking a while to set up the story, show each of the main characters, show you the ship in what feels like more detail than needed, although you’re aware that a lot of it will come into play later, and it does. Once the ship is finally underway, however, the adventure pick ...more
Patrick Nichol
Jul 30, 2011 Patrick Nichol rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a first-rate Cold War thriller that stacks up well against the Tom Clancys of the world.

The book is also completely different from the famous Rock Hudson film.

MacLean's novel is a finely-crafted whodunit set in the frigid High Arctic.

Why did a fire break out on the British Arctic research station Zebra? And why is a U.S. nuclear submarime obliged to rescue, taking along a mysterious British physician with carte blanche from the Pentagon?

Toss in subterfuge, Soviets and constant jeopardy
...more
Ann aka Iftcan
Mar 09, 2016 Ann aka Iftcan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: skip the movie
Ok, I enjoyed the book but frankly the movie SUCKED big time. Even Ernest Borgnine (who is a great character actor, btw) couldn't save this one. His character didn't even appear in the book, the whole ending was messed up and. . .

Oh wait, I'm supposed to be reviewing the BOOK. :o)

The book is a great read, but then I haven't found a single one of Maclean's books that I didn't enjoy.

I like the interplay between the characters in this one and the descriptions of the ice pack actually made me feel C
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Conrad Kinch
I've always had a fondness for Alistair MacLean. My father would return home from work in Dublin City centre and leave his wool coat steaming in the hall. There was a second hand bookshop near the train station and he would stop off on Fridays and special occasions and buy a handful of paperbacks. The rules of the game were as follows, if I'd been good, I would be directed after dinner that "You might find something interesting, if you look in my coat."

If reports were bad, these might mysterious
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Dalton Lynne
Ice Station Zebra was pretty good - once you got halfway or more into it. Before that time, it felt quite plodding ... far from engaging. This is the reason I knocked off one star from the review. It also didn't help that the narrator was a bit on the dull side. Otherwise, I'd have given it four stars because when everything came together it was fairly solid.

However, I also have to add that when the bad guy was 'revealed' at the end, it wasn't surprising, as I'd already pegged who the villain wa
...more
Ian
Apr 07, 2013 Ian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I first read this when a young teenager about 40 years ago. Alistair MacLean was my favourite author at the time, but back then I was a bit disappointed with this one. On reflection I'm pretty sure this was because I had seen the not very good Rock Hudson star vehicle film first, which was massively different to the novel and all a bit over the top and silly . Forty years on, with the gradual dissipation of my grey matter taking effect in a positive way for once, I'd forgotten most of the detail ...more
Simon
Not perfect, but has aged much better than Ian Fleming's novels about James Bond and stands heads and shoulders above most modern spy thriller books that's for certain. (Tom Clancy and his ilk) The characters are pretty well-defined with distinctive personalities even though not many words are spent on their characterization, the plot actually takes its time to build up logically and the prose can occasionally get quite beautiful when describing the Arctic landscape.

Speaking of that: It's also
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Dhiraj Sharma
Feb 12, 2013 Dhiraj Sharma rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Along with HMS Ulysse, Golden Rendzevous and San Andreas this is one of the best MacLean Novels.
A USN Nuclear Submarine dashes to the Arctic to rescue a British meteorological team trapped on the polar ice cap. However except the protagonist nobody knows that the rescue attempt is really a cover-up for one of the most desperate espionage missions of the Cold War.
MacLean is at his favourite territory here i.e the Sea. The climax is the proverbial "tables were turned".
Believe me nobody writes l
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L.A. Larkin
Sep 13, 2012 L.A. Larkin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
High tension and a lot of mystery about the central character. But who is the real hero? The Brit or the US submarine captain? The ending is a who-done-it. The details of the submarine under the Arctic sea ice and how the submarine breaks through to rescue a British team near death, is stunning. A great adventure.
The-vault
By Alistair Maclean. Grade: B+
Alistair Maclean has proved time and time again that he is the master when it comes to war fiction. Ice Station Zebra is no exception.
The atomic submarine Dolphin has impossible orders: to sail beneath the ice-floes of the Arctic Ocean to locate and rescue the men of weather-station Zebra, gutted by fire and drifting with the ice-pack somewhere north of the Arctic Circle. But the orders do not say what the Dolphin will find if she succeeds – that the fire at Ice Sta
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Gary Ross-Jordan
Fairly good thriller but found some of the coincidences incredible and the narrator style grinding. Everyone also spoke like they were on a big production movie. Cliched in parts!
Mike
Jun 13, 2011 Mike rated it really liked it
Shelves: thriller-spy
Typical Alistair MacLean novel from the 1960s. Man vs. nature. Man vs. machine. Man vs. man (cold war setting). A rescue mission to a remote polar outpost is much more than it seems. Adventure at the North Pole with an atomic submarine. (MacLean loved the sea and loved writing about boats.) Don't worry about character development (there is none) or being tempted by the weaker sex (there are no women in this story). This is an actioner and we get right down to it from page one. I love it! Loved r ...more
Tejas Nair
Oct 13, 2013 Tejas Nair rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: World War fanatics, Spy Thriller Addicts, Top Notch Suspense Lovers
Highly Recommended! Rated: 90%

And so fantastically it describes the Cold War. Including that its a page-turner, the suspense will create a havoc in your mind and the fact that some of the plot elements are true will blow you away. The characters are very well-written. Equally informative about submarines, the Arctic & the principles of professions that rule the espionage world.
Viktor
Feb 08, 2016 Viktor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My second AM book. I've stayed away from "Guns..." and "Where Eagles Dare" because I've seen those flicks. Heck, I taught my kids what "day for night" means while watching "Guns Of Navarone". And "WED" is terrific fun.

But about this book:

I loved this -- 5*! -- until the Agatha Christie-like "let's get everyone together in one room for the 'Reveal'" denouement. That stuff is annoying. Perhaps, AM was playing with those conventions.

There are some info-dumps. I'm ok with those. Heck, I've grown to
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David
Cold-War set thriller, by an author that (for some reason) I associate more with World War 2 settings, this concerns the journey of the Atomic submarine Dolphin to the Arctic, in order to rescue the survivors of the adrift Ice Staion of the title.

I also feel that this could be split into 3 very distinct sections - the journey to the Arctic, the search and rescue of the survivors, and the journey back, with it transpiring in the middle section that the Ice Station had been sabatoged, rather than
...more
Thomas Strömquist
Good MacLean thriller! For some reason this, along with Night Without End, showed off some of the writer's abilities for me. I have never felt the cold so much in stories (I have a tendency to sometimes forget the setting or time of year and so forth in a story) as I did in these ones. Not one of the best, but a quick and fun read.
D.L. Thomas
I've been meaning to read this one for a long time. MacLean definitely didn't disappoint - Ice Station Zebra is a gripping tale in a truly unforgiving setting. The perfect recipe for a successful thriller! Just enough "who done it" thrown in to keep you guessing.
Alison
Mar 31, 2015 Alison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
This was a great action packed book. I thought it was just about a rescue mission to the North Pole but it turned into so much more than that! And for being a relativity "manly" book it was 100% clean. I couldn't put it down!
Carri
Jan 16, 2009 Carri rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my favorite Alistair Maclean book, and I think I've nearly read them all. I read this one years ago and still remember what a great read it was.
Susan
This was a great spy novel. I didn't figure out who the villians were until they were revealed. I'm looking forward to reading more by this author.
Charles
Dec 24, 2008 Charles rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
My favorite MacLean book. I thought it was great, and the movie they made from it was pretty good too.
Balaji
Oct 16, 2015 Balaji rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
We have a doctor who is the master of all trades. He can confirm that a man who got his head banged on the wall is dead, even without examining the body. He can walk for 10 miles on polar ice caps in the midst of a blizzard. He can save a submarine by draining the water that enters into it. Just when I thought it was going overboard, there is a discovery and the story became interesting. I liked the book because it is a tale of heroism, courage, leadership and about asking the right questions. I ...more
Janet Sketchley
This is one of my top 5 Alistair MacLean novels, perhaps top 3. This is at least my fourth time through it, and remembering most of the plot twists doesn't lessen the enjoyment at all.

Writing styles have changed since Ice Station Zebra was originally written, and if you're used to the current thrillers there'll be an adjustment, but sit back and watch a master at work.

This time I read the Kindle version, and there are some conversion errors in the formatting: spaces or quote marks missing, etc.
...more
Lily Lindsey-Aubrey
All the books Alistair MacLean has blessed this world with that I have read, I have loved. But this one tops them all, and has landed right on the top of my favourite books list. Every time I read it, it gets better, too.

I'm a really sensory person. I love the nitty-gritty bits, the times when a writer makes you feel everything. MacLean does just that. There's one chapter that is just so intense that I actually caught myself holding my breath by accident while reading it.

Besides the wonderful,
...more
George
Mar 16, 2015 George rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Πολικός σταθμός Ζίμπρα", εκδόσεις ΒΙΠΕΡ.

Πως έχει η ιστορία: Μια χειμωνιάτικη νύχτα το αμερικάνικο πυρηνικό υποβρύχιο Δελφίνι, αποπλέει από την Σκωτία με προορισμό την Αρκτική, και συγκεκριμένα έναν μετεωρολογικό σταθμό με την ονομασία Ζίμπρα. Ο σταθμός αυτός έχει πάθει πολλές ζημιές λόγω πυρκαγιάς, οι άνθρωποι που ζούσαν και εργάζονταν εκεί βρίσκονται σε άμεσο κίνδυνο και το υποβρύχιο πρέπει να φτάσει γρήγορα εκεί, για να τους σώσει. Με το Δελφίνι ταξιδεύει και ένας γιατρός, ο δρ. Κάρπεντερ, πο
...more
Robert
Sep 30, 2013 Robert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ice Station Zebra is the story of a submarine mission to rescue a group of stranded Arctic scientists from certain death. Our narrator joins the journey in Scotland, partially through the odd lie or two, and with a few secrets of his own. He quickly starts to have the highest regard for the submarine crew, and as they proceed through challenges and adventures, we learn that there is a strong personal motivation for him - and once they get to their destination, dark secrets and foul play involved ...more
Chris Bubb
What a claustrophobic book! I felt trapped reading it, like one of the people on the Dolphin, the nuclear sub that serves as the setting for the majority of this story. This is not to say it was bad--Alistair Maclean was very good at this sort of thing, and he did a very convincing job here. But the experience of reading this was far from pleasant.

I also found that the "unreliable narrator" device employed in this novel wore thin very quickly. After about the third statement along the lines of,
...more
Cyn
Dec 18, 2010 Cyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ice Station Zebra was pretty good - once you got halfway or more into it. Before that time, it felt quite plodding ... far from engaging. This is the reason I knocked off one star from the review. It also didn't help that the narrator was a bit on the dull side. Otherwise, I'd have given it four stars because when everything came together it was fairly solid.

However, I also have to add that when the bad guy was 'revealed' at the end, it wasn't surprising, as I'd already pegged who the villain wa
...more
Menion
Apr 21, 2016 Menion rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Man, can Maclean write adventure stories, or what? They don't make authors like this today. No time wasted on character development or deep thoughts, just get right to the story and hit you over the head with it. Not to say that this one has no twists and turns, it's a good detective story, as well as an Arctic adventure.
Overall, I loved this book. It did start out a bit slower then my favorite, 'Where Eagles Dare,' but after the firs fifty paces the pace picked up, and the last 50 pages were a
...more
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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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