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The Shipkiller

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  328 Ratings  ·  37 Reviews
It was the largest moving object on the face of the earth, but for Carolyn and Peter Hardin it was a towering wall of steel bursting out of a squall at full speed, bearing down on their ketch Siren. In a few dramatic moments, Siren was shattered by the indifferent juggernaut. Struggling for his life, Peter Hardin felt the hand of his wife being torn from his grip as the hu ...more
Hardcover, 340 pages
Published January 1st 1978 by Dial Press
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Jun 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
This is a different kind of thriller, yet a very enjoyable one at that. Man versus monster I guess you could call it. Once his sailboat is run over by a huge oil carrier, and with the loss of his wife, this guy sets out on a sea of revenge. I am no sailor and I have not the foggiest notion of half the nautical terms tossed out in this book but that did not matter one fig. I really got wrapped up in how dogged and determined this guy really was to attempt to exact his pound of flesh from the Levi ...more
Jim A
Jan 13, 2012 rated it liked it
Sort of like reading Moby Dick, only the protagonist is not going after a white whale, but a giant oil tanker named Leviathan. Good story but just a bit too long. It could have done with fewer narratives of lowering and raising sails. But, on the plus side, the author is certainly no stranger to sailing.

An important note: This was written before the U.S. Embassy in Tehran was taken over by students in 1979. I had to remind myself of that while reading parts of this book.

Aug 13, 2012 rated it it was ok
this book was way too long with way too much sailing info. I suppose its a good book for a sailing nut who enjoys Hollywood endings.
and I could not see glorifying an obsession that would cost human lives as a valid cause. and did I mention the romantic story did not ring true at all?
why would an educated beautiful woman fall for this lunatic?
Peter Wendt
Jan 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Well worth reading. I read this back in the early 80s. Not a book to read while at sea sailing. Kinda like Jaws on the beach.
Sep 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Excellently '70s tale of high seas adventure and comically dodgy stereotyping. Really good in a totally popcorn way.
Aug 26, 2011 rated it did not like it
Read this by mistake. Don't waste your time.
Jun 22, 2017 rated it it was ok
Tedious. Should have been 100pg shorter.

Lots and lots of worthless nautical detail. The Love Story is literally unbelievable.
Dec 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: signed
As with all thrillers written before I was born, I found this to be more methodical and slow building than the instant action of today's plots. But in no way is this a bad thing. On the contrary, the slow build as we follow Peter Hardin after he is run down by a monstrous ship, his wife is killed, and he resolves to take vengeance pays off in dividends at the end.

Hardin decides the best way to move on with his life is to track Leviathan and sink it after he cannot bring the captain or anyone els
Nov 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I admit I only picked up Justin Scott's The Shipkiller because I was seduced by its nautical themes of revenge on the high seas and because it was priced at $1 in a used bookstore in downtown Los Angeles that I was looking to lend a modicum of support. I'm glad I did!

I'm a bit of a ship nerd, a rare enough passion to indulge in life-at-large let alone in contemporary fiction (my other passion), so this book represents the ideal intersection of my two greatest passions. I'm happy to say it met al
Jul 27, 2012 rated it it was ok
The Shipkiller by Justin Scott
Originally published in 1978, The Shipkiller is the story of Peter Hardin, a physician, inventor and skilled seaman, who sets out to destroy the largest ship in the world, a gigantic oil tanker named Leviathan. Hardin and his wife Carolyn were sailing in the Atlantic Ocean off the Azores when the Leviathan came out of a cloud bank and barreled into their ketch Siren, destroying it, before they had a chance to maneuver out of its way. Carolyn died, and Peter Hardin w
Raro de Concurso
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May 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
I have been wanting to read this book for a long time, and had to purchase a used softcover book (from the UK) as nothing was available locally. I eventually started reading this book 4 days ago and have now completed it. Loads of technical sailing terms, many I have no idea what they are, but the story line kept me enthralled all the way. One would have to know intimately about boats and sails boats to have this type of knowledge, which I guess this author has. A riveting page-turner and a roll ...more
C. Lorion
Jun 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Here's a book that's all about boats and sailing and oil tankers cruising in the ocean and maneuvering into ports and all that stuff, and I'm a land-lubber, and it captivated me the entire time I read it a couple years ago. The parts where massive oil tankers pull into small ports was absolutely mesmerizing.

The protagonist is sailing with his wife, an oil tanker aptly called Leviathan runs over their small sail boat or yacht or whatever it was (remember, I'm a land-lubber?) and the rest of the
Apr 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Imagen comparativa entre el petrolero Leviathan y el balandro Carolyn:

-Historia apasionante en el mar, que constituye todo un tratado de naútica.
Aquí, la ballena Moby Dick cambia de formato para convertirse en un petrolero enorme llamado Leviathan y el viejo capitán Acab, rejuvenece unos años y se transforma en el Doctor Peter Hardin.
Quizá noto a faltar algo de carácter psicológico en los personajes principales, dada la trama en que se ven envueltos...
Jun 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle
One of the best books I've ever read about a man and the sea, about sailing. Even more: about modern sailing (after being marked by old classics).

Story is great (the end is too predictable), but what stands further is the author's knowledge about open sea one-man sailing, and how vivid he writes all those experiences.

He might use a bit too many metaphors like 'the wave was coming directly to him, as a unstoppable train' [I'm creating an example here, not quoting] which at some point, one after
Richard Palmer
Oct 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is absolutely one of the best thrillers that I have ever read. It has easily catapulted close to the top of my favorite books of all time. Peter Hardin, wronged by a catastrophic collision at sea, sets out on a vendetta. There was a long slow burn, taking him on a long single-handed journey and eventual climax. The descriptions of his sailing efforts is incredibly detailed and I presume authentic. We really see what happens to his psyche as he follows his quest. Fascinating and enthralling ...more
Jun 04, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audible
Taking a break from the chick-lit so I picked up this thriller that involves a doctor and his wife who are sailing around the world. Then during a big storm their sailboat is run over by a giant oil tanker named "Leviathan". He survives while his wife is killed. He becomes obsessed with sinking the ship and pursues that goal to excessive extremes. He's pretty resourceful, but it keeps going on and on and on. It was written in the 70's but doesn't seem that old. Lots of detail.
Oct 05, 2014 rated it liked it
Yes it was a thriller written in the 1970's, and like many thrillers the hero went without sleep for days at a time and got out of jam after jam that would have killed most people, stretching believability. But it had lots of sailing in it. Love the sailing parts and how they played into the plot. Unlike most books that have a sailing component, this author clearly knew what he was talking about. So I recommend this to my sailing friends. The rest of you may want to move along.
Ricky Orr
Apr 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Good thriller about a sailing doctor that lost his wife when the biggest ship in the world, Leviathan, ran over their small sloop off the coast of Europe. When the company who owned the ship and the captain that was piloting her accepted no responsibility for the accident, the doctor, seeking vengeance, struck out in a newly acquired boat seeking revenge for the loss of his wife.
Feb 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a terrific thriller. A doctor whose sailboat is hit and sunk by a massive oil tanker. He survives the horrible crash; but is very bitter. He wants revenge on those responsible. Had to keep on with the story to find out what happens next to the fine doctor who is pitted it seems against the whole world in his battle for justice.
Nancy Piccione
Sep 03, 2013 rated it liked it
I'm giving it Three stars because it was a good story, but I was disturbed by the revenge angle. I wish Hardin could have found some peace without destroying leviathan. Same with Captain Ahab and the whale...
Lenny Husen
Dec 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
I read this when it was published, back in the 80's. It was a lot of fun, ridiculous but still remember it fondly. The main character, a brilliant doctor, was annoyingly perfect. My stepdad liked it because it was about sailing.
Charles Mcdonald
Mar 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
An interesting story about revenge of a doctor/sailor for the death of his wife by a super oil tanker in a collision on the high seas. Being ex-Coast Guard myself, I enjoyed all the nautical references.
Aug 17, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story just got bogged down in the sails go up, the sails go down. Really felt like it lost all the suspense and tension. It was one of those where you just determine to finish, even though it feels like it is running on forever.
Sep 14, 2014 rated it liked it
Started out pretty good but got a little carried away as the book went on. Reminds me of a Clive Cussler book that I had to put down when the hero explored limestone caverns under the Gulf of California ...
Katharine Creedon
Mar 09, 2015 rated it liked it
A story of obsessive revenge but really to enjoy this read you must love ocean sailing and learning about giant ocean tankers.
Apr 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
1982 grade A-

Not SciFi
Borja De Diego
Mar 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Es la segunda vez que me lo leo y me ha vuelto a encantar. muy recomendable para quienes les gusta el mar.
Nov 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
What an amazing book. I was hooked before finishing the first chapter. The rest of the story kept me on the edge of my seat.
David B.
Dec 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
Very good storytelling, with surprising plot twists and ending and fascinating details about ocean sailing and shipping.
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What's The Name o...: Book title/author please.... [s] 5 57 Oct 31, 2013 06:48AM  
What's The Name o...: Leviathon not John Gordon Davies [s] 4 28 Apr 07, 2013 11:50AM  
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“You can do everything right, strictly according to procedure, on the ocean, and it'll still kill you, but if you're a good navigator, at least you'll know where you were when you died.

(In "The Nautical Chart" by Arturo Perez-Reverte)”
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