Thursday, October 13, 2011


The Man From The Sea
by Michael Innes
ISBN: 0-06-080591-9
Publisher: Harper & Row
Copyright: 1982

This paperback is out of print, as is the original hardcover which was published by Dodd, Meade, an outstanding publisher lost in the mists of corporate amalgamations. The novel was originally copyrighted in 1955, which is instructive. Readers will need to recall the world of that time, in order to put this book in proper context.

The Man from the Sea recalls a time when the world was locked in what we called the cold war, a titanic struggle between something called the Soviet Union and the United States of America, the two great superpowers of the world. This thriller contains all the high adventure of a Dirk Pitt and the tension of a Tom Clancy, but without the complex technical equipment of either. Richard Cranston is a young lad intimately involved with the wife of a local Scottish peer.

During a late-night liaison on the beach, Cranston is astounded to see a man appear from the sea, a man who obviously has just left a freighter off the Scottish coast. The man tells Cranston an incredible story of espionage, treason and looming death. In the process he captures Cranston's interest and enlists his aid in making his way to London.

Innes' style is somewhat unusual and mannerly for our time, for all his literary polish, but astute readers will quickly find themselves enthralled with the brisk pace, urgency and excitement which pervades the pages of this novel. Ultimately, of course, there is resolution, but what a conclusion, as the story turns back on itself in a masterful tale, well-told by a fine writer.

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