Friday, July 22, 2011

Thunderbolt From Navarone - Sam Llewellyn

 Whew, all done and dusted!! All 856 pages of the four Navarone novels are now under my belt as I finished off Sam Llewellyn's final novel, Thunderbolt From Navarone, only moments ago. As a novel it far surpasses his last novel even though it is only 180 pages long!

 Unfortunately even though it isn't a bad novel full of plenty of action, Llewellyn has laden this novel with one or two cliques that cheapen it somewhat. Firstly in the first chapter a German ship is sunk called the Kormorant by a British submarine called the Sea Leopard. Both names are from novels published from around the same time, and the nod to them is unmistakable. The second cheap clique is the use of the number M-109 on the MTB the team use to get to Kynthos. If you know your history you will be aware that President John F. Kennedy served on a PT boat in the Solomons Campaign with the number PT-109!! Cheap and un-necessary I'm afraid Mr. Llewellyn.

( On the 11th of August Sam Lllewellyn himself left a short comment on this review. He has pointed out several of my errors of judgement. I wish to make them clear here instead of re-writing the whole review! Mr Llewellyn HAS NOT taken a cheap shot at Sea leopard, Kormorant, and Kennedy's Pt 109 number. Look in the comments section for the rest of his otherwise pleasing comment. I'm surprised an author of any of the books I've reviwed has taken the time to read my musings. It has been an interesting experience!! ) )

 But that aside this final Navarone novel isn't too bad. It has the usual formula of following immediately on from the preceding novel and has the mission impossible with a traitor in the mix. It is probably fortunate that this is the last novel because after four novels the premise is somewhat worn thin and predictable. The premise of this novel isn't quite as implausible as the last novel as it uses the V rockets as a plot line. But like the last three novels the rockets are huge and potential war winners for the Germans, so Mallory and his team are again assigned mission impossible to go in and destroy them!

 What follows isn't too bad an action novel. It was a bit more full on than the last novels and once the bullets started to fly they pretty much didn't stop! Of course what follows is the usual formula of the Navarone novels and the climatic explosion as Corporal Miller blows the rockets to kingdom come is virtually the last paragraph of the book. But it does poke a bit of fun at the ending of the last three novels with Captain, now Admiral, Jensen speaking his immortal words, ' I have one last job. Just a small one' !!

 Certainly an improvement on Storm Force and I would say it is fortunate that this is the last Navarone novel written because it feels that Llewellyn with his cheeky poke at other novels titles, and use of JFK's PT number, he may have lost interest. It is a premise that has been stretched to its limit and without a major over haul could have become an embarrassment. The four novel omni-bus I read these novels in is daunting to some at over 4 inches thick, but each novel is easily read, and I spent probably less than 24 hours in total making my way through it.
856 pages long.


  1. Never knew there was more than two navarone books.

  2. Nor did I until I borrowed this omni-bus from my library!!

  3. Good heavens. Just found this. Glad you got some enjoyment from my Navarone books; I certainly had a terrific time writing them. FYI, though, the Sea Leopard/Kormorant/109 stuff was purely accidental; or perhaps it was lurking in the subconscious.

  4. My goodness a real live author stopping by!! I hope my thoughts on your novel weren't too harsh! I suppose when you produce stuff that goes out into the public domain you have to be prepared for some critisim.
    I hope I critiqued your novels fairly!
    Thanks for the interesting point on Sea Leopard, Kormorant, and PT 109!! I stand corrected and chastised!!
    I enjoyed both your novels and it must have been a pleausre following in the footsteps of MacLean.