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Publisher's Summary

The novel that launched the astonishing career of one of the 20th century's greatest writers of action and suspense - an acclaimed classic of heroism and the sea in World War II.

The story of men who rose to heroism, and then to something greater, HMS Ulysses takes its place alongside The Caine Mutiny and The Cruel Sea as one of the classic novels of the navy at war.

It is the compelling story of Convoy FR77 to Murmansk - a voyage that pushes men to the limits of human endurance, crippled by enemy attack and the bitter cold of the Arctic.

©1955 HarperCollins Publishers (P)2017 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic Reviews

"A brilliant, overwhelming piece of descriptive writing." ( Observer)
"A story of exceptional courage which grips the imagination." ( Daily Telegraph)
"It deserves an honourable place among 20th-century war books." ( Daily Mail)
" HMS Ulysses is in the same class as The Cruel Sea." ( Evening Standard)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing but heartbreaking and sad.

One of the most heartbreaking, saddest books I've ever read. The novel has stuck with me for over 50 years, reading it first at the age of 15 and now as an audiobook. I am fascinated by the nature of leadership, heroism, and our human response to extreme physical and psychological environments. Amundsen, Shackleton, and Bligh come to mind in listening to MacLean's imaginary Captain Vallery of the HMS Ulysses.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Suspenseful but bleak and unrealistic

I wanted to enjoy this book. I was looking forward to a thriller about the arctic convoys in WWII, which is a subject I'm somewhat knowledgeable about. Almost from the beginning though the story of HMS Ulysses felt not real. A mutiny on a Royal Navy cruiser during the war? Everyone involved would have been severely punished.

I don't want to give any spoilers which makes describing the rest of the book difficult. However, readers will probably realize that HMS Ulysses falls into the "everybody dies" category. As soon as you develop an affinity with a character, the story line changes. Perhaps that is the reason that this book was never filmed.

Even a plot like that might not be a big obstacle, but the events described during the escorting mission are far worse than anything experienced in reality by a convoy, even PQ-17 which was almost entirely destroyed. The characters are never more than caricatures. One doesn't get to know the eventual survivors in any detail.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Misery personified. INCREDIBLE story.

War was only half the battle. If you're looking for an engaging gem about WWII, this is it.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-24-18

Great story

One of my favourite stories &have read it many times. Thank you for producing an unabridged version!
Excellent narration, cheers

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  • Ben M.
  • 05-28-17

A wonderful, stirring tale of its time.

For those interested in the Navy, and World War 2 in particular, you cannot do better than this marvellous story if the Murmansk run. Boldly written, and beautifully read.