Monday, September 3, 2012

Book Report #48, Seawitch by Alistair MacLean

I was in the mood for a bit of action and got that with a rather silly story about a group of wealthy oil executives trying to stop a rogue oilman from drilling in international waters. 

The book was published in 1977 and really does not stand the test of time. 

I found the narration stiff and old fashioned.

Off shore drilling was a relatively new thing in the 70's, apparently, and deep-water drilling was forbidden by an old-boys agreement among the major oil executives. So that part was quaint.  

But one guy, Lord Worth, develops, deploys and begins producing oil from a newly developed deep-water oil rig, called Seawitch.  This goes against the agreement but worse, Lord Worth is undercutting them on price. (Gasp!) Again this a bit quaint since today's oil is bought and sold on the open market and not subject to being valued by the producer. 

The old boys hire a "fixer" to stop Lord Worth only to discover that he has a personal vendetta against Worth and he goes over the top by sinking one of Worth's ships, hiring mercenaries to overtake his oil rig and plans to destroy it buy using military explosives stolen from US military stockpiles. 

You read that right - stolen from US military weapons depots!  The bad guys just waltz in by showing some forged ID tags and walk out with weapons.  This took me right out of the story; I cannot suspend my disbelief so much as to believe security could be so easily beaten.  Not in the 70's - not ever.  This was written during the deepest parts of the Cold War, there was no way the author could expect his readers to go along with this part of the story.

To be honest, all the characters had something artificial about them. And the women - yikes! - they were the poorest written of them all. And there were only two.

Unless you're a MacLean fan or just want to revel in a poorly told story, I recommend passing on this old gem.

You can read more about Alistair MacLean HERE

Alistair MacLean

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