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Cold Harbour, A Book Review

Discussion in 'Biographies and Everything Else' started by belasar, Aug 6, 2013.

  1. belasar

    belasar Court Jester

    May 9, 2010
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    Cold Harbour, By Jack Higgins, Berkley Fiction, 2005, Paperback 291 Pages.

    Its high summer and time for something light and palette cleansing, so a rip-roaring WWII spy novel should hit the spot. At least it ought to be less controversial than my last review on The Moscow Option. :)

    Higgins is considered a master of the WWII spy novel and his The Eagle Has Landed is seen by many as one of the best of its genre. It is also one of the few that made to the big screen in a crowd pleasing and entertaining form.

    In this novel it is early 1944 and SOE and OSS is tasked with both gathering vital information and creating chaos inside Hitler's Fortress Europa. A high level conference on the Atlantic Wall is being held in a French Chateau (the French Aristocracy gets a bad rap, if they hadn't built so many Chateau's how could we ever hope to win the war?) and the Allies must get a agent into the building, steal the plans and of course ensure D-Day goes off without a hitch.

    Higgin's has a deft touch in describing his characters in a few lines and like all his novels I have read the book moves like along like a express train. The book has a twist I didn't see coming during the last act of the book, but to be honest the book seems a little tired. His characters feel like people he has written about before with different names, ranks and uniforms. The heroine has to suffer some form of sexual menace that only the anti-hero can rescue her from. While one twist was a surprise, but another was totally predictable almost before I read its root cause.

    I am also a little miffed by the work of the US editor who seems to have been asleep at the wheel. The front cover depicts a Submarine with a German Naval Ensign sitting in a port, Each chapter is headed with a stylized sub, complete with deck gun. Two problems, the chapter header sub looks like a 1960's era teardrop design Skipjack class nuclear subs with a dorky deck gun attached. Worse there is no submarine mentioned anywhere in the book, a German E-boat is prominent, but no U-boats. I guess anything that looked WWII-tooee was good enough.

    Not a bad book over all, but not The Eagle Has Landed.

  2. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

    May 5, 2013
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    ..I read this long ago and liked it.....seemed like the ''usual'' Jack Higgins type book ---as you say = standard cliches/cliche type people
  3. Takao

    Takao Ace

    Apr 27, 2010
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    Reading, PA

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