Read East of Desolation by Jack Higgins Free Online
Book Title: East of Desolation|
The author of the book: Jack Higgins
Date of issue: September 1st 2006
Loaded: 2565 times
Reader ratings: 5.4
ISBN 13: 9780007223701
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 14.29 MB
City - Country: No data
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“Here was one of the last places on earth where the challenge was the greatest of all—survival.”
Both The Kufra Run and The Last Place God Made very much had a pulp feel to them, as though Higgins had been hold-up somewhere with nothing to do but devour copies of Spicy Adventure Magazine from the 1930s and watch robust adventure serials from the same era. East of Desolation, published in 1968, continues in that vein and is right up there with the best stuff he’s ever done. He’s doing a certain thing here, elevating the old adventure pulp style, and he’s done it to near perfection. He even gives the reader a wink to what he’s doing at one point:
“He pushed off and I watched him go, gliding effortlessly across the snow, a clever dangerous animal. I suppose I should have experienced some kind of fear as I went after him, but I didn’t. Instead I was filled with a strange kind of joy and my hands shook excitedly. It was like one of those Saturday serials I’d seen as a kid and I couldn’t wait to find out what happened in the next installment.”
The difference in East of Desolation is that it’s not a serial, but a fun and robust male adventure we get from beginning to its fabulous and very exciting end. Set in rugged but cold and beautiful Greenland, the tale is rife with romanticized stereotypes so well done we can almost picture certain stars of yesteryear playing the various roles. Charter pilot Joe Martin is our main man, the voice and hero of this, but no tale this vigorous would be complete without a larger than life character, and we certainly have that in war hero and legendary actor Jack Desforge. Down on his luck but living life to its Hemingway fullest, he’s the kind that things just happen around:
“There was a box of cartridges in the map compartment and I loaded the magazine with infinite care. After all, there’s nothing like being prepared for all eventualities and the girl was certainly right about one thing. Around Jack Desforge anything might happen and usually did.”
Because no tale such as this would be complete without planes and ariel derring-do, Joe Martin is pilot of the Otter. But Joe’s acquaintance Arnie is also a pilot:
“He roared across the harbor no more than twenty feet above the water and then his engine note deepened and he started to climb at just the right moment, banking into the sun, all for my benefit of course, nice and fast and showy and one of these days he was going to kill himself doing it.”
No tale such as this would be complete without some lovely but very different women, and we get three of them, who all play strong parts in this old-style, elevated pulp adventure. There are hunts and planes and emeralds and double crosses, and near the end, a startling twist stretching credulity, but in a story as entertaining as this one, only a fool or someone full of literary pretension (while secretly devouring this) would object. If I gave details, the plot would seem filled with adventure pulp clichés, but as you read you just get lost in the fun, and don’t care. Higgins even manages to wax philosophic on occasion in the narrative, and when he does, he’s usually spot-on, as in this juicy observation:
“It’s unfortunate, but primitive races seem to acquire all the vices of our civilization,” I said, “never its virtues.” — Joe
This is a robust read for 2/3 of the book, then it becomes a runaway train, and we’re turning pages quickly to see who gets/doesn’t get those emeralds, who does/doesn’t survive doing it, and who gets/doesn’t get their girl. It ends like all great adventure tales of this type, but who does what I’ll have to leave for the reader to discover. Maybe four solid stars till we get that twist, then Higgins kicks it up a notch, and we can’t put it down. This is romantic adventure escapism, male-style, and it’s sublime. A must-read if you’re a fan of the author, those old-style pulp adventures, or both. Great fun!
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Read information about the authorThere is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.
Jack Higgins is the pseudonym of Harry Patterson (b. 1929), the New York Times bestselling author of more than seventy thrillers, including The Eagle Has Landed and The Wolf at the Door. His books have sold more than 250 million copies worldwide.
Born in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, Patterson grew up in Belfast, Northern Ireland. As a child, Patterson was a voracious reader and later credited his passion for reading with fueling his creative drive to be an author. His upbringing in Belfast also exposed him to the political and religious violence that characterized the city at the time. At seven years old, Patterson was caught in gunfire while riding a tram, and later was in a Belfast movie theater when it was bombed. Though he escaped from both attacks unharmed, the turmoil in Northern Ireland would later become a significant influence in his books, many of which prominently feature the Irish Republican Army. After attending grammar school and college in Leeds, England, Patterson joined the British Army and served two years in the Household Cavalry, from 1947 to 1949, stationed along the East German border. He was considered an expert sharpshooter.
Following his military service, Patterson earned a degree in sociology from the London School of Economics, which led to teaching jobs at two English colleges. In 1959, while teaching at James Graham College, Patterson began writing novels, including some under the alias James Graham. As his popularity grew, Patterson left teaching to write full time. With the 1975 publication of the international blockbuster The Eagle Has Landed, which was later made into a movie of the same name starring Michael Caine, Patterson became a regular fixture on bestseller lists. His books draw heavily from history and include prominent figures—such as John Dillinger—and often center around significant events from such conflicts as World War II, the Korean War, and the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Patterson lives in Jersey, in the Channel Islands.
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