The Golden Rendezvous by Alistair MacLean
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This was an odd book to read and is an odd book to review. On one hand, so much of it is unbelievable and downright stupid, I want to give it two stars. On the other hand, it’s pretty action packed and is somewhat of a page turner. I couldn’t put it down. So I’m not sure what to say.
An atom bomb is stolen from an American base. A British ship, however, is where the plot takes place. It’s truly bizarre. It’s a cargo ship, okay, but has also been converted into a luxury liner — without the traditional luxuries. It’s just got 12 luxurious rooms and good food, but no pools or dancing or gambling or ports of call or anything. It goes where the captain wants it to go; there’s no itinerary. And there’s a waiting list of kings and presidents trying to get aboard, willing to pay millions to do so. And yet they transport cargo. Simply stupid as hell.
Be that as it may, our hero, Carter, the first officer, helps run the ship. And he turns out to be nearly omniscient, omnipotent, has near super human powers and it’s simply too unbelievable to make you feel like it’s remotely real. Murders start occurring on the ship. Carter figures out what’s going on. Pirates from a small third world government hijack it for the purpose of hijacking another ship carrying $150 million, as this country is broke and needs the money. Carter gets shot in the leg, while others get shot too. He’s transported to the hospital bay, where he is treated — and from where he escapes to save the day, in a manner that’s altogether unbelievable, again. And again, he figures out exactly what’s happening — the pirates have the bomb and are going to blow the ship with its passengers and crew to pieces so there will be no witnesses to the piracy. So he disarms the atomic bomb. With the help of a gorgeous rich girl. Naturally. And when everything is over, he is surprised to hear that they are getting married in a month. She tells him so. Bizarre ending. It reminded me of a Doris Day, Rock Hudson movie ending. Of course, this book was published in 1962, so perhaps that makes sense.
Even though there’s nothing remotely believable in this book, I actually enjoyed it. It was fun to read. It had a a lot of action. It had evil characters, good heroes, the pretty girl, guns — everything. If only the author had put some more time into making it seem real. Oh well. I guess this book is somewhat recommended….