While wondering where my passion for the English language became complete, I happened to recall two of my favorite books “Puppet on a chain” and “The way to dusty death” by Alistair Maclean.

His other books were all equally delightful – Ice Station Zebra and Night Without End are two books that send shivers down my spine, with their breathtakingly detailed vivid portrayal of valor in the harshest conditions of the Arctic/Greenland.

I grew up reading / gobbling up the books of Alistair Maclean – by far, the BEST / GREATEST EVER writer of wartime / espionage fiction, period, hands down, no arguments.

His central characters were almost always, rugged, unimpressive – ordinary looking guys, with a delightful self-deprecatory humor – mind you these are not the (James) Bond type caricatures from the 1980s (alas, epitomized by Sir. Roger Moore) – they almost always get beaten/bashed up, often barely hanging to life by a thin thread, and then come back to just barely manage to survive in the end.

And his protagonists were ruggedly chivalrous with even the chivalry tinged with self-deprecatory humor!

I recall a classic ‘Scarlet Pimpernel’ penned by Baroness Emma Orczy that was centered around the French Revolution, in which a secret dark hero who is known as the Scarlet Pimpernel plays a major role in helping the poor and downtrodden of the French society during the Revolution – during the daytime, he is the moronic husband of an aristocratic lady who hates him to the core!

I suspect Maclean’s protagonists were loosely / obliquely based on the Scarlet Pimpernel persona! (as were Bruce Wayne and Zorro!)

In any event, such a rich, diverse spectrum of thriller novels are a must for anyone who loves espionage thrillers.

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