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The Guns of Navarone

(Guns of Navarone #1)

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  15,165 ratings  ·  366 reviews
An entire navy had tried to silence the guns of Navarone and failed. Full-scale attacks had been driven back. Now they were sending in just five men, each one a specialist in dealing death.
Mass Market Paperback, 410 pages
Published June 12th 1984 by Fawcett (first published 1957)
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Average rating 4.13  · 
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 ·  15,165 ratings  ·  366 reviews


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Bob Mayer
Mar 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
A classic thriller. MacLean always delivered the goods. I remember devouring all of his titles out of the library. I wouldn't suggest doing them in a row, because things can get a little repetitive. But that's to be expected of almost any author.

The concept, of having a team as the only way to take out the guns guarding a narrow straight through which the ships needed to rescue troops, have to traverse is a bit forced. But it does lend to a tight thriller with a clock ticking.

What's best about t
...more
Cphe
A fast paced WW11 thriller with an engaging plot. A small team of specialists are sent to the Greek island of Navarone. The team is tasked with destroying a German held fortress and clearing the way for a large Allied evacuation of nearby Kheros.

Whilst it is an action packed novel the characters were also well presented and diverse. It's a story of heroism and mate ship, of survival against the odds.

Haven't read the author for many years and HMS Ulysses will always be my favourite but this was a
...more
W
Apr 22, 2020 marked it as to-read
Again,an Alistaire MacLean story works very well on the screen.Gregory Peck,Anthony Quinn and David Niven star.

Action packed and thrilling WW II adventure about a commando unit sent to destroy a German fortress.

Would I like the book to the same extent ? Not sure as I don't find MacLean's writing style particularly elegant.
Anne  (Booklady) Molinarolo
4.5 Stars

Quite by accident I picked this up and started reading. From the first page, the esteemed war thriller author, Alistair MacLean, engages his reader. Off the coast of Turkey in the Aegean Sea the Germans and Italians control a cluster of islands and the area shipping lanes. On one island 1200 British soldiers are trapped and will soon be attacked by the Axis Alliance. The destruction of the mighty Guns of Navarone is the only hope these Brits have. It is a suicide mission. The guns are
...more
Leslie
Aug 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
According to Wikipedia,
"The Greek island of Navarone does not exist and the plot is fictitious; however, the story takes place within the real historical context of the Dodecanese Campaign, the Allies' campaign to capture the German-held Greek islands in the Aegean Sea in 1943. The story is based on the Battle of Leros, and Leros island's coastal artillery guns – among the largest naval artillery guns used during World War II – that were built and used by the Italians until Italy capitulated in
...more
Ed
Oct 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: military fiction fans
Recommended to Ed by: saw the movie years ago
I saw the movie on TV back in the 1960s. Quinn, Peck, and Niven made for an all-star cast. Finally, I read the novel. Well, sir, I'm happy to report that Alistair MacLean could tell the corker of a tale. The Allied saboteurs come through lots of close shaves still intact. At times their heroics leave you rolling your eyes a little, but the fun is watching them strive to carry out their desperate mission. There are betrayals. The pace is snappy, the suspense builds well, and the characters feel f ...more
Em*Greedy* (Iniya)
Feb 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a tough read throughout. 5 men-each a specialist in dealing with death, are being sent to the island of Navarone, to destroy the famous and fatal Guns of Navarone. They are going with the skill of mountain climbing, and the knowledge of the Map got from someone who knows Navarone and the surroundings. It was thrilling to read the details of the operation and how these 5 men succeed in doing what the navy were not able to achieve...

Randell Green
Dec 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Continuing to raid my mum’s library, and quickly picked up my first Maclean novel. Action packed, and maybe slightly long in the tooth. Maclean is as skilled of a writer as his contemporaries, Jack Higgins & Hammond Innes. 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 ...more
Hajarath Prasad Abburu
Mar 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
It was very interesting and remained that way through out the book, but could've done without the long winding descriptions, especially of the thoughts of the five brave people who embark on a mission that is deemed impossible. Written in an episodic manner, it manages to keep the reader hooked to it. Action scenes looked authentic except when a big guy is fighting (😋).

The characters, despite being different from each other, were mostly one-note. This probably has something to do with the vision
...more
Nicola
Nov 10, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: g1000
3 1/2 stars

An excellent war time spy/special forces read. I'm not really the target audience but even I appreciated it which might say much. Or nothing at all. There's plenty of action, some pretty well drawn characters (considering the sort of book it is), a bit of pathos and 'isn't war hell!'. Also lots of bromance (there isn't a single woman in the book). Not bad at all.
J. Moore
Jun 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the books that took me at the edge of my seat. The action felt so real. I'm thankful that a friend recommended this to me.
Philip
Whew! Finally finished rereading all the Alistair MacLean books that I enjoyed so much as a teen, beginning with 1957's outstanding HMS Ulysses and running through 1968's Force 10 From Navarone, (after which it's pretty much universally acknowledged that the quality of his books took a pretty steep dive).

Guns of Navarone is consistently and deservedly listed among MacLean's top 3-4. And yes, it features some of the ultimately predictable plot twists he loved to sprinkle in his stories - "the goo
...more
Benjamin Thomas
Jan 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
During World War II, five men are recruited to achieve the impossible: destroy a German fortress that threatens Allied Naval operations in the Aegean Sea and prevents over 1,200 isolated British soldiers from being rescued. These five men are all experts at various specialties required by the commando operation, including demolitions, engineering, and most provocatively, mountain climbing since access to the fortress is impossible without scaling a sheer cliff face.

Even though the Greek island o
...more
Mark
Feb 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Tense WWII thriller about a small group of commandos that has to sabotage the naval guns on an island fortress that is otherwise nigh-impregnable.

I think what I liked the most about this is it's not got that modern action movie quality of triumphing in a series of outnumbered gun battles, which gets kind of silly after a while. It's much more about stealth and subterfuge. The other surprising quality, for me, is the prose. MacLean really gets you feeling like the wind and rain are lashing you as
...more
David Evans
May 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: war
When I was 12 or so, one of my friends at school (Michael Edworthy) used to bring this book along every day as a sort of badge along with his Who and Yes albums. He couldn't have been reading it otherwise he'd have finished it rapidly. We were all careful never to mention the book in case he went on about it like he did about the bands. Intrigued, I bought a copy and read the first of the many Alistair MacLean books I was to devour. Set in WW2 this is story-telling for boys of the highest calibr ...more
Oliver Clarke
Mar 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As thrilling and two fistedly action packed as you'd expect a war story that has maintained its popularity for so long to be. This has undeniably two dimensional but still entertaining characters, a wonderful variety of life it death scenarios (mountain climbing, storms at sea, gun fights against impossible odds) and a solid plot that holds it all together nicely.
BAM The Bibliomaniac
Book bum club #1
A Book for all Seasons topic: Book became a movie
Erik
Jun 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
finally read this classic tale of heroism. action packed. very well plotted. recommended :-) :-)
Darren
bog-standard war/action/adventure/thriller. er... that's it. 2.5 stars, rounding up to 3 cos imagine may appeal more to others.
Bill
The Guns of Navarone was Alistair MacLean's second novel, published in 1957. I've read others of his earliest books, HMS Ulysses and South by Java Head and they, like Guns, were excellent. For some reason I never tried Guns, maybe because I've instead focused on the excellent movie. But I'm glad that I finally decided to read it.

If you want a wartime thriller, filled with action and desperation and heroism, you need to try The Guns of Navarone. It's a non-stop action story in a three day period.
...more
The-vault
May 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
By Alistair Maclean. #1 of the Navarone series. Grade: A
Alistair Maclean is probably one of the most famous fiction authors of all time. He is possibly the world’s best war fiction novelist with novels like Where Eagles Dare under his belt. The Guns of Navarone has been made into a very successful, classic feature film of the same name.
Twelve hundred British soldiers are isolated and waiting on the small island of Kheros, off the Turkish coast. All these lives could be saved if only the vigilant
...more
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Oct 08, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of Military Fiction
Recommended to Lisa (Harmonybites) by: The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Ultimate Reading List
The novels involves an Allied commando raid against a fortress off Turkey. A team of five men led by Captain Keith Mallory of New Zealand and including the Greek resistance fighter Andreas and an American demolitions expert Corporal Dusty Miller must climb a sheer cliff of 400 feet considered unclimbable, infiltrate a Nazi fortress and sabotage her guns to allow through a British fleet. At stake are the lives of 1,200 British soldiers stranded on an island. The novel takes place in the course of ...more
Bob
Alistair MacLean's second novel written in 1957 remains an excellent read. Although set in the World War II Dodecanese Campaign , this is a completely fictitious plot. The Island of Navarone, set in the Aegean Sea is likewise fictitious. The campaign itself was an Allied disaster in which the Allied forces attempt to wrest control of the Aegean Islands from Axis forces. The campaign represents the last significant German victory in the war.

A special team of five commandos attempts to storm the i
...more
JR Bricksfield
May 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
The Guns of Navarone is one of my favorite books, and is a classic World War II adventure novel. I’ve seen the movie and listened to the audiobook as well, and they don’t disappoint. The interaction between British commando Captain Mallory and former Greek Lieutenant Colonel Andrea is captivating as the team endeavors to operate behind enemy lines, subvert the Germans, and ultimately, target the devastating guns of Navarone. What I enjoy most about the book – which is something I find in MacLean ...more
Loretta Gibson
Oct 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: maclean
Some may say that this book is outdated, in my opinion great writing is never out dated, MacLean is one of the best. I loved this book,I did't want to put it down. It's a tense wartime thriller with a story that's believable, with fascinating characters. MacLean tells the story in a way that draws you in. My heart was beating faster as Miller scaled the unclimbed cliff face. You feel the wind, rain and the spirit numbing cold. As this group of men strive to accomplish an impossible task, you fin ...more
Chris The Story Reading Ape
Feb 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-reviewed
For those of us of a certain age, any stories of daring British Commandos in action during WWII are almost like comfort food in their appeal.

War should NEVER be glorified or sought after in any way, however, a story about the exploits of a few courageous souls trying to shorten a conflict and prevent the deaths of thousands of others, is worth being told, as a reminder of what it really means to be human....
Jordan
Dec 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Another one I read in high school after seeing the movie a couple dozen times. A good example of decent source material elevated in the adaptation—an effective but fairly standard thriller that was turned into one of the most thrilling and morally serious meditations on war in the twentieth century.

NB—Avoid the sequel, Force 10 from Navarone, at all costs. It’s the only sequel MacLean ever wrote and it’s apparent why.
Tyler Jones
Feb 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: action
A four star rating based entirely on how much I loved it when I was fourteen. This was the favourite book of all the boys in grade eight back in the day. Action! Only a small group of men might succeed in destroying the German stronghold that was pinning down the Allied navy in the Aegean! How awesome is that!?
Michelle
Dec 05, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
"There are no brave men and cowardly men in the world, my son. There are only brave men. To be born, to live, to die - that takes courage enough in itself, and more than enough. We are all brave men and we are all afraid, and what the world calls a brave man, he too, is brave and afraid like all the rest of us. Only he is brave for five minutes longer."
Bob
Feb 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just revisited this one after many years away. It holds up well. Still one of the very best adventure novels I've ever read. I appreciated the quality of the writing more this time around. Flows like a river in full flood. Truly, a ripping yarn.
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WW II Spy Novels: quote: 'Your job is to kill Germans...' 6 8 Nov 16, 2014 02:14PM  

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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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“There are no brave men and cowardly men in the world, my son. There are only brave men. To be born, to live, to die—that takes courage enough in itself, and more than enough.

We are all brave men and we are all afraid, and what the world calls a brave man, he too is brave and afraid like the all rest of us. Only he is brave for five minutes longer.”
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