The Freedom Trap by Desmond Bagley

The Freedom Trap by Desmond Bagley

The Freedom Trap by Desmond Bagley

Another novel by Desmond Bagley, author of The Vivero Letter, one of my all time favourite writers. I only wish I could have met him.

The Freedom Trap was first published in 1971 and is said to be loosely based on the escape of, spy, double agent and traitor depending on your point of view, George Blake from prison five years earlier. It was made into a film in 1973, called The Mackintosh Man, starring Paul Newman.

The story starts with Joseph Rearden who is a villain from South Africa . He meets an agent of MI5 in London called Mackintosh, who recruits him for an assignment. It is a dangerous task and is to trap The Scarperers  who are a well known gang of criminals who gaol-breaking long-term prisoners. He is also to catch Slade who is a Russian double agent whom they recently helped to escape. Rearden is told to rob a postman with a packet of uncut diamonds. He is then  ‘caught’ and sent to jail in hopes that he can contact the Scarperers. It is a clever and exciting plot which races to Malta and beyond……well worth a read.

In the mid 20th century, British writers such as Hammond Innes, Alistair MacLean, Desmond Bagley set out the conventions of the thriller genre. Their heroes were  a resilient and resourceful ordinary individuals facing tremendous odds. The villains were utterly ruthless in pursuit of their goals.

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The Gold of Malabar by Berkely Mather

The gold of malabar

The gold of malabar

The Gold of Malabar was written by  British author, Berkely Mather, in 1967 Berkely Mather was a Nom de Plume for  John Evan Weston-Davies, whose family emigrated to Australia shortly before World War I.

He published fifteen novels and a book of short stories whilst also writing for radio, television and for films.   Mather enlisted in the Royal Horse Artillery but failing to gain a commission he next joined the Indian Army where he became a sergeant at the outbreak of World War II. Serving under Slim in the Iraq campaign he finally ended the war as an acting lieutenant-colonel. After Indian independence in 1947, he rejoined the British Army, entering the Royal Artillery and eventually retiring in 1959. The Achilles Affair Mather’s first novel, was published in 1959 and was a minor best-seller. His second novel ‘The Pass Beyond Kashmir’ written in 1960 received high praise from Ian Fleming and Erle Stanley Gardner and it did even better. It is said that Ernest Hemingway owned copies of these two novels

A desperate adventure starting with a prison escape in search of gold. A thoroughly exciting novel which traces its way across India. While banged up in a prison in Goa Mike O’Reilly speaks with a dying Dutch prisoner called Rokkjer. He gives O’Reilly a gold medal asking him to bring it to a Buddhist monk called Nu Pau in Bombay and to say, “Rokkjer said to keep faith.” Rokkjer also gives a mysterious quote of, “Pythagoras, northeast, and the word is try, try, try…”  O’Reilly escapes into a dangerous world of greedy looters all looking for the secret map that will bring them to the hidden cache of gold………………

This is a classic adventure written by a skilled author who clearly knew India. Unputdownable…..if that’s a word!

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