Force 10 from Navarone

Despite the smashing success of The Guns of Navarone — both in print and on the big screen — it took Alistair MacLean eleven years to publish a sequel. Force 10 from Navarone is linked to the preceding work through three main characters, though the action is unrelated to that earlier mission. As in the later (inferior) work Partisans, Force 10 centers on the World War II struggle in Yugoslavia, between the Partisans (backed by the Allied powers) and their countrymen who sided with the Germans. These alliances let MacLean employ some of his favorite types of characters: clever German officers, fierce warriors of the high Tatras, and naive young Allied operatives learning how war and secret missions really work. Heavy on action (albeit sometimes light on sensible behavior by all concerned), Force 10 deserves to be read by anyone who enjoyed The Guns of Navarone or other MacLean stories from that era.


Plot keypoints

Fresh from destroying the fabled guns of Navarone, Keith Mallory, Dusty Miller, and the ever-lethal Andrea are sent on another improbable assignment: saving 7,000 Yugoslav Partisans who face annihilation by massed German tanks. Off to the Balkans they fly, accompanied by a trio of young commandos. As they attempt to contact the Partisan forces and stop the German onslaught, this elite squad encounter treachery and violence ... as well as help from locals working both openly and clandestinely to stem the Axis tide. Can that aid help them overcome fantastic odds and accomplish their unlikely goal before time runs out?



  • Mysteries, frequent conflicts, and high-caliber MacLean prose drive the reader steadily along.
  • Seeing the continued development, or at least actions, of familiar characters is an unusual pleasure for MacLean readers.
  • Showing the perspectives of people away from the main events — the British supervisor, the German commander — adds new flavors to the tale.
  • A female fills a major role well without getting mushy with the main protagonist.



  • While he doesn't do a bad job of mining familiar character types (see the first paragraph above), MacLean's faithful readers can anticipate what will happen to some of those characters, based on the plots of other books; this reduces the story's tension.
  • Some fans probably dote on MacLean's hyper-detailed descriptions of structures and environments where actions take place. Just when events are humming along, though, he deflates the excitement a bit by going on at length about the features of this guardhouse or that dam.
  • As in The Guns of Navarone, I found Andrea's unstoppable heroics — the way he was always a "fox among hens" — just too much to believe.



Overcoming the occasionally uneven pace and stereotypical supporting characters, Mallory, Miller, and Andrea do keep the opposition busy and the reader entertained.



(8 out of 10)