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Quiz about Alistair MacLean Novels
Quiz about Alistair MacLean Novels

Alistair MacLean Novels Trivia Quiz


Alistair MacLean was a favourite author of mine, and wrote 28 thrillers before his death in 1987. For my quiz, I will give a mini plot synopsis, and ask you to identify the novel.

A multiple-choice quiz by ozzz2002. Estimated time: 6 mins.
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Author
ozzz2002
Time
6 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
285,946
Updated
Feb 16 22
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
8 / 10
Plays
584
Awards
Top 5% quiz!
- -
Question 1 of 10
1. MacLean's first novel was about the World War II Allied convoys across the Arctic, terminating at Murmansk in northern Russia. German U-boats, aerial attacks and the weather ensured that the life expectancy for personnel on these ships was short. The story centres on the battle cruiser that was ultimately responsible for the protection of the other 32 ships, but which, despite her best attempts, could not stop the fleet being slowly decimated. Only five vessels completed the voyage, most suffering terrible damage.

What was the name of this novel?
Hint


Question 2 of 10
2. This novel tells of a secret government biological research facility in Wiltshire, and what happens when dangerous substances fall into the wrong hands. Our hero, Pierre Clavell, only has a couple of days to save the population of England and the world from total annihilation. What is the name of MacLean's 1962 release? Hint


Question 3 of 10
3. A mixed lot of passengers who survived their ship being sunk include a retired brigadier, an old, very British biddy, a Dutchman who may be a goody or a baddie, a Muslim priest, a young soldier suffering from battle fatigue, two nurses, various sailors and officers and a two-year old boy. Also aboard are two very precious cargoes that the Japanese will stop at nothing to get their hands on.

Name that novel.
Hint


Question 4 of 10
4. A Formula One champion driver appears to lose his nerve on the track, a young lady who still believes in him when everyone else has seemingly deserted him, unexplained accidents, drug trafficking and very fast cars. This short paragraph could only be describing which book? Hint


Question 5 of 10
5. Interpol's Paul Sherman is on the trail of drugs in the Netherlands, but the bad guys know he is coming. Crooked cops, chases on barges in the Zuider Zee, attractive nuns, barrel organs and a grisly murder by pitchfork all join in to make this, in my opinion, one of the best thrillers he wrote. Name it. Hint


Question 6 of 10
6. The San Andreas Fault, the White Wolf Fault, and other earthquake faults are the focus of this 1977 MacLean offering. A tenuous connection to a town in the Philippines, a castle in the Californian hills, a hydrogen bomb with the rather innocuous name of 'Aunt Sally', a police sergeant and his son whose family are kidnapped, an actor doubling for the US President. What book title connects all of these things? Hint


Question 7 of 10
7. A submarine plunging towards the bottom under the Arctic ice, a burnt-out weather reporting post with two Russian spies lurking, film of American missile bases en route to Moscow. Dr Carpenter is the hero in this book, but what is it called? Hint


Question 8 of 10
8. Set in the Scottish Western Highlands and Islands, the premise of this 1966 novel is the hijacking of five bullion cargo vessels. Helicopter crashes, kidnapped wives and daughters, a Greek millionnaire and his battered wife, searches of remote islands, and a showdown in a lonely boathouse.

Which book?
Hint


Question 9 of 10
9. MacLean's sole foray into the US Wild West period was released in 1974. As with most of his novels, all is not as it seems. A mission to help the cholera-stricken Fort Humboldt hides more sinister undertones, involving a convicted murderer, hostile Indians, a band of outlaws, and a Nevada governor. Which book, which was made into a movie starring Charles Bronson, was this? Hint


Question 10 of 10
10. MacLean's early works were all war stories, overlain with treachery, traitors, and heroes that were the strong, silent type. One such hero was Mallory, who was the leader of a small group of brave men in MacLean's only sequel. The first book involved a island just off the Turkish coast, that controlled access to the Aegean shipping lanes. The sequel involved the same island, but was written over ten years later. What was the name of the island? Hint



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Most Recent Scores
Jan 25 2024 : Joepetz: 6/10
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quiz
Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. MacLean's first novel was about the World War II Allied convoys across the Arctic, terminating at Murmansk in northern Russia. German U-boats, aerial attacks and the weather ensured that the life expectancy for personnel on these ships was short. The story centres on the battle cruiser that was ultimately responsible for the protection of the other 32 ships, but which, despite her best attempts, could not stop the fleet being slowly decimated. Only five vessels completed the voyage, most suffering terrible damage. What was the name of this novel?

Answer: HMS Ulysses

The novel has a large basis in truth, with over 70 of these convoys occurring during the war. They were used to provide supplies to Russia.

MacLean's experience whilst serving in the Royal Navy provided background detail for 'HMS Ulysses'. His ship , HMS Royalist, was involved in action against the giant German battleship, the Tirpitz.

In the novel, 'Ulysses' did not survive the voyage, but fought bravely. She sank with all hands after ramming a German cruiser.
2. This novel tells of a secret government biological research facility in Wiltshire, and what happens when dangerous substances fall into the wrong hands. Our hero, Pierre Clavell, only has a couple of days to save the population of England and the world from total annihilation. What is the name of MacLean's 1962 release?

Answer: The Satan Bug

The Satan Bug, a deadly virus, could kill the entire population of England within hours, and get rid of all life on earth inside a week. When a master Italian criminal gets hold of it, Clavell has to use all his wits to get to the motive of the theft. Scarlatti (the baddie of the story), plans to have London evacuated to enable him to commit the most audacious robbery in history, but is foiled on the very last page.

A ripping yarn, with red herrings everywhere.
3. A mixed lot of passengers who survived their ship being sunk include a retired brigadier, an old, very British biddy, a Dutchman who may be a goody or a baddie, a Muslim priest, a young soldier suffering from battle fatigue, two nurses, various sailors and officers and a two-year old boy. Also aboard are two very precious cargoes that the Japanese will stop at nothing to get their hands on. Name that novel.

Answer: South by Java Head

The brigadier is married to the old biddy and is an agent for the British, the Dutchman was really German, and worked for the Japanese, however, he changed sides after viewing their barbaric behaviour, the Muslim priest was not really a priest- how many twists and turns can you fit into one tiny lifeboat?

Oh, the two secret cargoes? One is a fortune in diamonds, and the other was the entire Japanese invasion plans for northern Australia.
4. A Formula One champion driver appears to lose his nerve on the track, a young lady who still believes in him when everyone else has seemingly deserted him, unexplained accidents, drug trafficking and very fast cars. This short paragraph could only be describing which book?

Answer: The Way to Dusty Death

The title is borrowed from Shakespeare's 'Macbeth', and is uttered by the King in his famous "Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow" speech, when he learns that Lady Macbeth is dead.

The 'dusty death' in MacLean's book, however, refers to the heroin trade, and the vast amounts of money involved seem to dwarf even the big-spending F1 circuit. All ends well, however, with the main villains in jail, or dead.
5. Interpol's Paul Sherman is on the trail of drugs in the Netherlands, but the bad guys know he is coming. Crooked cops, chases on barges in the Zuider Zee, attractive nuns, barrel organs and a grisly murder by pitchfork all join in to make this, in my opinion, one of the best thrillers he wrote. Name it.

Answer: Puppet on a Chain

Sherman has two lovely assistants, Belinda, whom he has worked with before, and Maggie, who is the victim of the multitudinous pitchforks. Our hero eventually figures out how the drugs are moving through Amsterdam to the rest of Europe- in hollowed-out puppets- with the whole ring being masterminded by Inspector van Gelder, the head of the Narcotics Bureau. Van Gelder cops his just desserts, when he is impaled on the hook of a very large crane, like a 'puppet on a chain'.
6. The San Andreas Fault, the White Wolf Fault, and other earthquake faults are the focus of this 1977 MacLean offering. A tenuous connection to a town in the Philippines, a castle in the Californian hills, a hydrogen bomb with the rather innocuous name of 'Aunt Sally', a police sergeant and his son whose family are kidnapped, an actor doubling for the US President. What book title connects all of these things?

Answer: Goodbye California

The enigmatic Dr Morro threatens to dump half of California into the Pacific, by detonating an atomic device on an earthquake fault line. Sergeant Ryder battles officialdom, scepticism and downright political stupidity to try to prevent him doing that.

The ultimate aim of the bad guys is very similar to the huge bluff in 'The Satan Bug'- total evacuation of a city, to enable burglary on a massive scale.

'San Andreas', the book, is one of MacLean's later works, and is about a British WWII hospital ship which is being continually attacked by German planes and U-boats in the Atlantic Ocean, off Norway.
7. A submarine plunging towards the bottom under the Arctic ice, a burnt-out weather reporting post with two Russian spies lurking, film of American missile bases en route to Moscow. Dr Carpenter is the hero in this book, but what is it called?

Answer: Ice Station Zebra

There is a major crisis at Ice Station Zebra, and the good doctor (who is really a British agent), has to get there forthwith. The U.S.S. Dolphin is called upon to provide transport, but gets sabotaged, not once but twice! On the outward journey a torpedo tube is tampered with, and the submarine involuntarily sets a new depth record. On the return, the nasty Russians try to slow the ship by lighting a fire in the engine room, which soon gets out of control.

After a very tense few hours, order is maintained, the spies are unmasked, and the Russians who expected to see US missile bases, get something rather different. You will have to read the book to find out what they DID get!
8. Set in the Scottish Western Highlands and Islands, the premise of this 1966 novel is the hijacking of five bullion cargo vessels. Helicopter crashes, kidnapped wives and daughters, a Greek millionnaire and his battered wife, searches of remote islands, and a showdown in a lonely boathouse. Which book?

Answer: When Eight Bells Toll

His only novel set wholly in his homeland of Scotland. The millionnaire turned out to be a good guy, with his real wife held captive, the 'battered wife' was an actress and part of the hijack gang, and was not really battered at all- a bit of cosmetics can do wonders to a woman's appearance. Undercover as a biologist with the Ministry of Fisheries, Secret Service agent Philip Calvert eventually sorts the whole mess out.
9. MacLean's sole foray into the US Wild West period was released in 1974. As with most of his novels, all is not as it seems. A mission to help the cholera-stricken Fort Humboldt hides more sinister undertones, involving a convicted murderer, hostile Indians, a band of outlaws, and a Nevada governor. Which book, which was made into a movie starring Charles Bronson, was this?

Answer: Breakheart Pass

Multiple murders, a train trip through a blizzard, a governor in cahoots with a Government Indian scout selling guns and whiskey to the Indians, a convict who is not really a convict- all very MacLean-ish, and very readable!
10. MacLean's early works were all war stories, overlain with treachery, traitors, and heroes that were the strong, silent type. One such hero was Mallory, who was the leader of a small group of brave men in MacLean's only sequel. The first book involved a island just off the Turkish coast, that controlled access to the Aegean shipping lanes. The sequel involved the same island, but was written over ten years later. What was the name of the island?

Answer: Navarone

'The Guns of Navarone' pitted Mallory, Dusty Miller and Greek resistance fighter Andrea Stavros against a full garrison of German troops. They ensured that the Allied fleet would not be attacked by the mighty German guns by blowing up the fort. 'Force 10 from Navarone' had the same three characters, plus another few men, leaving Navarone to try to demolish a strategically important bridge in Yugoslavia. Of course they succeeded, but with only hours to spare.

Both of these stories were made into movies, as were many of his other titles, but the books are far superior, in my opinion.
Source: Author ozzz2002

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