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3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  3,159 ratings  ·  215 reviews
Twelve miles above the Pacific Ocean, a missile strikes a jumbo passenger jet. The flight crew is crippled or dead. Now, defying both nature and man, three survivors must achieve the impossible. Land the plane. From master storyteller Nelson DeMille and master pilot Thomas Block comes Mayday, the classic bestseller that packs a supersonic shock at every turn of the page......more
Kindle Edition, 480 pages
Published (first published January 1st 1979)
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I don't give out a lot of 5's, so I really need to explain this one for this very reason in addition to this book is way outside of my usual reading genres. I've always felt that if the author can properly evoke an intended emotional response in a reader, then the book is fairly well written. And while this book does stray outside of the realm of possibility on a number of occasions, I don't necessarily discount stories that take creative liberties. Isn't that why they are called stories?

With a...more
If you're into planes or disaster scenarios, you should definitely pick up this book. It's written by a pilot so the descriptions of the plane, protocols, etc. are extremely detailed (almost too detailed for the average person). It's actually pretty gory in some parts and that turned me off although I can see why some of those parts were in the book. The book has characters you'll cheer for, characters you'll hate, and even those you'll feel sorry for. I've heard that some people have problems w...more
Ok This is just what you want to read when you are flying in a couple of days, kinda like reading Jaws before a week at the beach. A secret missile test goes awry over the Pacific Ocean and hits a jumbo passenger jet. The missile is not armed but goes through the fuselage. The oxygen masks fall and all that crap but it doesn't do much good. The plane loses elevation, and everyone is without oxygen for a little too long, except for a few people who were trapped in locations where the oxygen level...more
As a big Nelson DeMille fan, I was happy when I finally snagged this library ebook, but I have to say it was a big disappointment. Excruciatingly slow at points, the basic plot is a Navy violation of an arms treaty causes a missle to inadvertently transect a supersonic jet at 62,000 feet, causing death or brain damage to all but five people, who are either in the lavatories or sub-deck flight attendant station. Meanwhile, nobody seems to want the jet to return safely as the Navy seeks to cover i...more
Kevin Bresnahan
The book is stated as "one of the greatest air disaster novels of all time". They weren't kidding, as it is tremendous in its drama, horror, suspense, and redemption of the human spirit. A missile is inadvertently shot through a giant passenger airplane in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The utter deveastation is heart wrenching, and almost all either die or are incapicated. Only three people are coherent enough to follow through: a recerational pilot, a flight attendant, and girl adolescent. T...more
One word ... Epic.
This book is a masterpiece. And the details in the book are authentic too, since author Nelson DeMille has teamed up with his pilot friend, Thomas Block.
The duo have done a fantastic job.
The action starts right from page one, and then keeps you engrossed throughout the book.

The book does contain some gory scenes which makes it not suitable for children.

Plot: (beware, spoiler ahead) An illegal missile is being tested; the plane becomes an unfortunate target. With the pilots de...more
I received this audiobook for review from Hachette Audio. I did not receive any compensation for my review, and the views expressed herein are my own.

This is my first DeMille novel, and it won't be my last! This heart-pounding thriller will have you gripping the edge of your seat!

I had no idea that this book was actually originally written in the 1970s. In order to update aviation procedures and technology, it was updated and re-released in the 1990s.

A commercial airliner (Trans-United Airlines'...more
The first Nelson DeMille novel I ever picked up was "Plum Island" and I was blown away! Because of Goodreads, I discovered this book, which is a collaboration between DeMille and his lifelong friend and aviation expert Thomas Block. DeMille was very wise to have his friend help him with the aviation parts of this gripping novel. It works so well and draws you in to a world at 62,000 feet above the surface of the earth and super sonic speeds! Suddenly, that world is rocked by a wayward missile an...more
This is a book that can be discussed on so many levels. It is fast paced and more about being "very afraid" of government cover ups and big business-$$$, than the fear of flying. Because that is a true fear on its own. It is full of agonizing and gut wrenching decisions by all involved. I could hear myself saying, "Don't go down there!; What are you thinking?; Should you really be saying that out loud?" As well as, Yikes, yikes, yikes! My head can't wrap around the aftermath of the ending and th...more
Angus Whittaker
This is some of the best disaster fiction out there. At first, it seems to follow the basic pattern of such novels: there's some sort of disaster, and a few people are randomly picked to survive, and have to find a way to get back home. Mayday, however, deviated from this basic formula.
The plot can be easily summed up: Flight 52, a huge airliner with around 300 people aboard is hit by a missile illegally test-fired by the US Navy. At 62,000 feet, the oxygen deprivation is so severe that almost...more
All I can say is WOW!! They gave a warning at the beginning of the audio that advised the listener to stop listening if they were on an airplane . . . and they weren't kidding!! This story was exciting from beginning to end and I couldn't wait to hear what happened next. The end was a bit anti-climatic for me as there really was no closure as to punishment for those responsible. Great listen--9 out of 10 for me.
Absolutely insane, but really fun to read. It's trashy and implausible, but the idea of a guy fighting off what basically across as zombies in a decompressed, half-blown apart air-liner is pretty fun. No, they're not zombies, but they might as well be.

Use it to kill some time in the dentist's office waiting room. That's what I did.
Joe Kucharski
The story behind the story is probably known well enough by now. Thomas Block, pilot by day, writer by night, pens an air flight disaster novel back in the seventies with the help of his good friend, and superstar novelist in the making, Nelson DeMille. The story is a success and twenty plus years later, DeMille does a re-write to bring the tale into modern times, or at least modern by late 20th-Century standards. Here’s the kick, though, DeMille gets top billing on the re-release, and partner,...more
A great story involving ethical dilemmas where if just one person had made a different decision, the outcome would be different. Well written. Action-packed. EXCELLENT! Would be a good textbook for Ethics 101.
This is my favorite DeMille book. I recommend to everyone to get them hooked on this author. I has everything and belongs in the couln't put it down catagory.
Very interesting story about an airplane shot down by mistake at a very high altitude. Only 3 people remain normal, the others being dead or brain damaged from hypoxia. One of the survivors is a pilot who manages to get the plane back to safety after much sabotage from the ground and many tribulations dealing with the brain damaged passengers.

The suspense remains throughout and the story is believable. Given that it was written in 1979, some of the technical possibilities are not far off from to...more
The time is the near future, and the Pentagon, in its infinite wisdom, has decided to preempt the Congress' arms limitations treaty by testing a very sophisticated new type of missile that is much more maneuverable than previous models. Unfortunately, because of a number of normally inconsequential but interlocked failures of equipment and personal situations of the participants, the officers of the Nimitz are unaware that a Boeing 797, the newest supersonic passenger jet, flying at 63,000 feet,...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This was good in a hollywood blockbuster Diehard/Con Air sort of way. Meaning it was written very well, entertaining, but it was so action packed that it was unrealistic. But it is just a story after all and makes a very entertaining read.


I thought it was really good up until they got too the braindamaged passenger/zombie part. It was still good after that but that is where I had to first deduct a star from the rating of the book. They might as well have been zombies for c...more
Jina Howell-Forbes
A Military screw-up causes a passenger plane to be hit by a missile. While an amateur plot, a flight attendant and a 13 year old girl try to fly and land the plane safely, military personnel, an insurance agent, and an airline executive, plot to undermine a successful landing to save their own backsides. This novel is Nelson DeMille at his best. A tight, suspenseful story with lots of twist and turns, corruption within the ranks of those in power, interesting interpersonal relationships, and a n...more
Lisa Rathbun
Absorbing thriller about a crippled airliner, the people who want to land it safely, and the people who want to see it destroyed. The version I read had been updated in the 90s from the original 70s version, but the main character was still very much a typical 70s iconic character: a bored middle-aged husband sick of his shallow wife and meaningless suburban existence. Yawn. Without that bit of emotional infidelity, the book was compelling. (Some language)
Jun 07, 2013 Will rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Joe  Noir
Probably not a good novel to read on a plane, I thought this was great fun. A jumbo jet loaded with passengers over the Pacific is accidentally struck by a missile fired by the military. There is decompression, which not only kills the flight crew, but lack of oxygen has turned most of the passengers into brain dead zombies. A few passengers escape this fate by being in a spot on the plane that did not decompress. How will they survive, and land the plane? What will the military do when they rea...more
Champaign Public Library
I’ve never read this popular author before, but picked it up because of recent news about the missing Malaysian airliner. WOW! I was on the edge of my seat throughout this thrilling story packed with great characterizations and just enough technical detail. How could a large passenger plane just disappear? This story provided one terrifying explanation – an accidental military strike.

Recommended by Kelly S.
Frances Levy
A good beach book but not one of DeMille's gems. Even though you know most of how it will end (because the plot and characters are formulaic) you do find yourself hanging on. One weakness is the unrealistic portrayal of nearly every character as antagonist to the good guys. (Reminded me of the conspiracy to murder Julius Caesar: more of the characters are in on the dastardly efforts than not. It's farfetched that so many different people are working independently to foil the hero.) Another is th...more
I have owned this book forever but only recently got around to reading it. I'm a huge Nelson DeMille fan and thus was a bit disappointed in "Mayday." The plot was interesting enough and had enough intrigue to keep you guessing, but missing was the usual "laugh out loud" humor that DeMille's protagonists always displayed (see: John Corey in "Plum Island" etc, or John Sutter in "The Gold Coast"). I realize this was a collaboration and that no doubt played a role in DeMille's and Block's decision m...more
Chris Norbury
First rate suspense and thrills with a breakneck pace and well-conceived plot. Many twists and turns in the middle set up a big climax where the fate of many characters depends on the final outcome of the crisis.

Minor flaws are that the characters aren't fully developed since the big story question is "Will anyone survive?" Time is compressed so the entire novel spans a mere 12 hours or so—not enough time to get to know characters well, especially since so many have a role of importance in the p...more
Trish (trishie7)
very very scary as it could happen. even though this was originally written in the late 70s and updated in the 90s, its scary how the storyline transcends time as it could very well be real -- someone could even say this could be a theory for the missing MH 370.
At the very beginning, I worried this book would be a rehash of The Rivers of Babylon (a similarity and birthright they attribute in the afterword) but that quickly faded away. This book stands totally on its own. The only reason this got four stars instead of five was the detail of flight mechanics and the oxygen deprived passengers. I agree with everyone who described them as "zombies" and think the authors might have included just a bit much detail in regard to them.

Other than those two items...more
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Nelson Richard DeMille was born in New York City on August 23, 1943 to Huron and Antonia (Panzera) DeMille. He moved as a child with his family to Long Island. In high school, he played football and ran track.

DeMille spent three years at Hofstra University, then joined the Army and attended Officer Candidate School. He was a First Lieutenant in the United States Army (1966-69) and saw action as an...more
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