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3.58 of 5 stars 3.58  ·  rating details  ·  1,504 ratings  ·  28 reviews
In wartime, people are either friends of enemies.
In wartime, friends are friends and enemies die.

When Tito's rebel forces resist occupation, the Germans infiltrate and plan their destruction.

Three Yugoslavs set out from Rome to relay the German battle plan - but their loyalties lie elsewhere.

A dangerous journey with dangerous companions
-where no
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published by HarperCollins Publishers (first published 1982)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,051)
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I vaguely remember having read somewhere that MacLean's later works were a pale shadow of his earlier stuff. This one definitely fell within that description. Set in Bosnia in Second World War Yugoslavia, the author had returned to the landscape of the rather good Force 10 from Navarone, but not that quality of writing. From the naming of characters - a supposedly Yugoslav group of commandos led by Major Peter Petersen with his henchmen George and Alex who sound much more like a bunch of norther ...more
I picked this up in a free book shelf in a diner in Roslyn, WA - because I've always wanted to read de Bernieres' book "Daughter of the Partisan" or something like that - and wanted a book for reading on the bus. As it turned out, traffic was stopped for an hour so I read a lot of this that day. It's a good beach read, but the hero is just a bit too omniscient for my liking - too good. Didn't seem very realistic - more of a comic book. But entertaining, for all that. And the good guys win...
Not my favorite MacLean. Lots more talk than action and no real surprises.
Kym Andrew Robinson
This is one of the less than stellar Maclean novels that I have read. I found that it seemed to lack the elements which made his earlier works so gripping, tense and action filled. Instead this book felt some what generic and unfulfilled.

The book had no real characters of depth, those who were interesting seemed to have no place in the story. The conclusion felt some what forced and the intrigue less than organic.

What could have been another great Maclean book just fell short. I hate to say th
Laura Verret
Major Peter Peterson is no second-rate spy. He’s top of the line – the fact that he’s still alive is his proof. So, when Colonel Lunz asks him to deliver a coded message and twins, Sarina and Michael, to Yugoslavia, Peterson knows that no petty operation is underfoot. He and his partners, Alex and George, must be wary. Very wary…

When they arrive at the Columbus, their transportation from Italy to Yugoslavia, Peterson finds it already loaded with several other passengers. Two at least are spies,
Partisans was disappointing. It had a lot of potential (even a cursory scan on Wikipedia reveals a crazy mess of political and military situations in Yugoslavia during World War II) but this book fails to capitalize on it.

I haven't read the books that MacLean's most famous for (Force 10 From Navarone, The Guns of Navarone, Where Eagles Dare) so I can't compare quality, but it seems likely that as most critics have said, MacLean's later works (such as Partisans) are inferior.

The hero is your typ
Not one of MacLean's best, it felt like most of this book was just people talking - or telling lies - to each other. Pretty much the only puzzle was trying to keep track of who knew who was a double agent. Not terrible but he's written much better.
Wilde Sky
During WWII a team set out to deliver some battle plans but are hampered by a series of double-crosses.

I thought this was a reasonable WWII spy thriller but there are better espionage books around.

Real rating 2.5

Alistair MacLean on autopilot. Characterizations are thin, and it's hard to remember - or care - who's on what side.
Jeff Crosby
This is one of the few MacLean novels that I remembered poorly. I have always had a high opinion of it, but I couldn't tell you why. The characters are typical, especially Peterson and George (think Keith Mallory and Andrea Stavrou). However, the plot is one of MacLean's more clever efforts during his later career. This book reminds me that he was stronger when writing about World War II than his cold war and terrorist plots. At the same time, this novel has a double-blind and a McGuffin (unusua ...more
One of the main characters is a philologist!
This book may come as a disappointment to those readers yearning for a blood-soaked action read--is a single person killed in the entire book? (references to the past not included)--and didn't quite have the knuckle-whitening effect I'd expected from AMcL's other books. Despite this "fault", and the extreme confusion the reader may experience as she attempts to parse out the plot (what plot?) the banter between the characters--especially when George is involved--made the book both readable and e ...more
Doctor Edward Diesel
Not one of his better tales, in my humble opinion.
This was not the book I expected and I was disappointed. It is listed as a thriller and just didn't fulfill that for me. I know McLean is considered a leader in this field but this book seemed dated. I did appreciate the strong vocabulary that McLean uses, writing down several words to check.
I read every MacLean book I could find as a teenager and loved almost all of them. Ice Station Zebra and Partisans were probably the two I liked least. However, I still liked it. I'm not sure what I would think about it as an adult reader.
Fredrick Danysh
Three Allied agents are dropped into Yugoslavian territory to aid the Royalist against the Partisans by delivering a German battle plan. But all is not what it seems to be.
A bit long winded and political at times and not as action packed as the usual MacLean novels. Nevertheless well written and an enjoyable novel.
A.L. Sowards
loved this book, but after reading The Forgotten 500 I have a different perspective than Maclean's very British view on WWII Yugoslavia.
So you spend the book wondering who the bad guy is. Then you find out. Life in Yugodslavia doesn't sound like it was fun.
Though had lots of the characterestic dry Macleanian humour, this is certainly not one of his best works.
I got about half-way and couldn't bring myself to finish this book. Oh well.
Robin Gilbert
Disappointing. With an "I love you" that came out of the blue.
Donated to the Smith Family Charity March 2015
Thomas Strömquist
80's MacLean, very much talk and very confusing.
David Rivett
OK but not one of his better ones
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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
More about Alistair MacLean...
Where Eagles Dare The Guns of Navarone Ice Station Zebra When Eight Bells Toll Force 10 from Navarone

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