Plot[ edit ] The novel features HMS Ulysses, a light cruiser that is well armed and among the fastest ships in the world. Her crew is pushed well beyond the limits of endurance and the book starts in the aftermath of a mutiny. Ulysses puts to sea again to escort FR, a vital convoy heading for Murmansk. They are beset by numerous challenges: an unusually fierce Arctic storm, German ships and U-boats , as well as air attacks. All slowly reduce the convoy from 32 ships to only five. Ulysses is sunk in a failed attempt to ram a German cruiser after all her other weapons had been destroyed.
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He not only won the money but was invited to write a book and Ulysses was the result in The novel tells the story of the flag ship escorting an Arctic convoy to Murmansk during the second world war. We are told that this ship is pretty exceptional, but it becomes clear that for all its engine power and armaments that it is effectively a set of potential death traps riveted together and capable of floating.
No spoiler as we are told this almost immediately - we know from the start that there is a war on, also that the Arctic in winter is exceptionally cold, that the crew are exhausted having been escorting convoys for so long that there are more or less dead on their feet, indeed they are so weakened by chronic lack of sleep and living off corned beef sandwiches that TB is rampant.
As maybe you have guessed MacLean was aiming for intensity of atmosphere. As a novel, it does not break the ice, there is hardly any characterisation, nor is there much plot. MacLean short cuts by telling us what his characters are like, and concentrates on intensity of atmosphere and incident. While in The Cruel Sea we follow a crew through most of the war or over what feels like it , this novel runs over only a few days, but it is action packed like a Jackie Chan film - there is always something going on or going wrong.
It is exactly like an action film, ie a sugar rush of things happening quickly in this case as quickly as the slowest vessel in the convoy. I felt while reading that the novel says something about s Britain, some rationing still going on, the sense of enduring hardship, you just have to keep slogging on, keep your faith in Harold Macmillen and maybe after twenty years you might get a council house with a bathroom and an indoor toilet.
[PDF] HMS Ulysses Book by Alistair MacLean Free Download (467 pages)
HMS Ulysses (R69)
Members who served with HMS Ulysses