I miss Alistair MacLean

I’m reading Kal Sprigg’s Fenris Unchained. Yes, Leo, it has lovely editing.

The premise is that an AI warship of unimaginable power has fixed itself up and is now back on course to destroy a planet, 100 years after the fact.  Our protagonist, Melanie, is a ship’s pilot and gets enmeshed in a whole series of spy games.

I was mildly perplexed at not keeping the characters all straight, though I thought I had ’em down. You need to pay better attention. Apparently, nobody is who they seem to be. Nobody.  Not even that guy.  It’s almost like a series of rubber masks in a Scooby Doo episode: “Mr. whipple!” “And I would have gotten away with it if it weren’t for you darn kids.” [Mr. Whipple had to get past the censors of the day, else he’d have really cussed out the gang.]  [Yes, he was squeezing the Charmin. Smug bar-sinister.]

About 30 years ago, I remember reading Ice Station Zebra and When Eight Bells Toll (which is navy speak for the end of a 4 hour stretch – midnight, 4 am, 8 am, noon, etc.) and Where Eagles Dare.  I remember vaguely that Ice Station Zebra you could never tell who was whom and who to trust. “Not that guy! He’s going to shoot you!” This book strongly reminds me of that.  I’m 33% of the way through and that means there’s still a lot of meat to the book left before we get to the climax.


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