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Read online or Download Breakheart Pass (Full PDF ebook with essay, research paper) by Alistair MacLean. Product Details ISBN Breakheart Pass by Alistair MacLean (review). Michael T. Marsden. Western American Literature, Volume 10, Number 2, Summer , pp. (Review ). Breakheart Pass. by Alistair MacLean. ·. ··2, Ratings. A magnificent tale of heart-stopping suspense from the highly acclaimed master of the genre.

MacLean was released from the Royal Navy in He then studied English at the University of Glasgow , graduating in , and then worked as a school teacher in Rutherglen.

While a university student, MacLean began writing short stories for extra income, winning a competition in with the maritime story "Dileas". The publishing company Collins asked him for a novel and he responded with HMS Ulysses , based on his own war experiences, as well as credited insight from his brother Ian, a Master Mariner.

The novel was a great success and MacLean was soon able to devote himself entirely to writing war stories, spy stories and other adventures. In the early s, MacLean published two novels under the pseudonym "Ian Stuart" in order to prove that the popularity of his books was due to their content rather than his name on the cover.

Breakheart Pass

They sold well, but MacLean made no attempt to change his writing style and his fans may easily have recognized him behind the Scottish pseudonym. MacLean's books eventually sold so well that he moved to Switzerland as a tax exile.

From —, he took a hiatus from writing to run a hotel business in England. He also struggled constantly with alcoholism, which eventually brought about his death in Munich in He was married twice and had two sons by his first wife, as well as an adopted third son. Style Compared to other thriller writers of the time, such as Ian Fleming , MacLean's books are exceptional in that they have an absence of sex and most are short on romance because MacLean thought that such diversions merely serve to slow down the action.

Nor do the MacLean books resemble the later techno-thriller approach.

Instead, he lets little hinder the flow of events in his books, making his heroes fight against seemingly unbeatable odds and often pushing them to the limits of their physical and mental endurance. MacLean's protagonists are usually calm, cynical men entirely devoted to their work and often carrying some kind of secret knowledge.

A twist that he sometimes employs is that one of the hero's closest companions turns out a traitor.

Nature, especially the sea and the Arctic north, plays an important part in MacLean's stories, and he used a variety of exotic parts of the world as settings to his books. MacLean's best books are often those in which he was able to make use of his own direct knowledge of warfare and seafaring, such as HMS Ulysses which is now considered a classic of naval fiction.

These four novels featured third-person narratives and a somewhat epic tone, and were mostly set during World War II. The Last Frontier contained overt philosophical and moral themes that were not well received.

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These six novels including two under Stuart all featured first-person and sometimes unreliable narration laced with a dry, sardonic, self-deprecating humour, and were all set in contemporary times. These are MacLean's most intensely plotted tales, masterfully blending thriller and detective elements. MacLean then retired from writing for three years, returning with — When Eight Bells Toll through to Bear Island, a varied collection of six novels that still maintained a generally high quality, with some books harking back to each of the first two periods but usually taking a more cinematic approach not surprising since he began writing screenplays during this time.

Finally — The Way to Dusty Death to the end twelve novels. There were no more first-person stories, and his prose is thought to have often sagged badly, with excessive dialogue, lazily described scenes, and under-developed characters.

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Some bore these faults more than others, and all the books sold reasonably well, but MacLean never regained his classic form. Certain themes are repeated in virtually all of MacLean's novels. For example, they typically feature a male character who is depicted as physically and morally indestructible for instance, Carrington in HMS Ulysses or Andrea in The Guns of Navarone ; such characters are also often described as having an almost inhuman tolerance for alcohol consumption such as the Count in The Last Frontier or Jablonsky in Fear Is the Key.

MacLean was known to reuse plot devices, characterizations, and even specific phrases.

Cult Movie: Alistair MacLean's Western Breakheart Pass a highly entertaining romp

Days it seemed I searched those shelves of videocassette boxes for something we all would enjoy, until my eye was caught by a photo of Charles Bronson covered in western garb hanging from a train overlooking a ravine.

Fans of MacLean consider Breakheart Pass to be among the oddest of his novels, and it flopped on its initial release.

A later MacLean work, it focuses as usual primarily on action and plot, but is his first novel set in the American West. It deals with a motley crew of white gun-runners, US Army soldiers and Paiute Indians, rather than his normal array of spies, soldiers and other evildoers.

I have little opinion on all this since I haven't read any of MacLean's work prior to this one. Wanting to have a go at popular authors I've been ignoring, MacLean came to mind, and it's my memory of the film that peaked my interest in the novel. Though it's been twenty-plus years, I recall quite a bit about the movie, and I enjoyed it at the time, which is a lot more than I can say about the novel.

Yes, even the train. The problems are many, but really what killed it for me was MacLean's unfair treatment of information and the all-too uninteresting tough-guy hero John Deakin. Information appears to be revealed at the most convenient of times.

Hey reader, he seems to be saying, this is gonna be cool.

Perhaps this mess is the result of an attempt to make us feel as though we too are on that chaotic train, but it's most likely the consequence of rushed writing and laziness. The novel is written so haphazardly and with such unbelievable lines as "She gave him a look as cold as ice," that I doubt MacLean spent too much time in the composition, or perhaps this quick straightforward and unimaginative style was his bid for the contract to write the screenplay, which was eventually offered to him.

As for Deakin he is a man of few words, but his few words are so vacuous and expected that it would have been better had he been mute.

Alistair MacLean's Breakheart Pass

He comes across as abrasive and unpleasant, and the film producers lucked out in nabbing the abrasive yet far more charming tough guy Bronson to take on the role.The Last Frontier contained overt philosophical and moral themes that were not well received. Yes, this was a dark era when to watch a movie at home you had to first leave the house. One evening before supper my mom ushered me out of the house to pick up a movie.

The landscape is not central to the plot; the novel, in fact, never leaves the track beds. Bronson is great as the moody prisoner bound for Fort Humboldt on the train. He was the third of four sons.

Around , MacLean was commissioned by an American movie production company to write a series of story outlines to be subsequently produced as movies. However, since MacLean apparently wrote the screenplay, the story remains faithful to the essence of the novel, and Ben Johnson turns in a wonderful performance as Marshal Pearce.

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