Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Home at last

In this 1986 novel, USAF Major Joseph "Joe Mack" Makatozi's plane is forced down over the Bering Sea.

The Russians have forced his plane down. They capture him and take him to a secret prison in Siberia. He is taken before Col. Zamatev, a hard line GRU officer who plans to force information from Joe Mack.

The Russians realize that Joe Mack has valuable information about modern jet planes. The prison is in a little known area of Siberia and Zamatev tells Joe Mack that no one knows where he is so there won't be an effort to search for him.

Joe Mack is part Sioux, part Cheyenne. He is also a decathlon athlete of near Olympic caliber. He's also a proud man and resolved not to give in.  He is able to find an object that permits him to pole vault over the prison fence. Then he begins on an heroic effort to cross Russia and escape.

He has no weapons or food or winter clothing so the odds are against him. In addition, Zamatev assigns Alekhin, a Yakut Siberian to trail Joe. The Yakut, as he is called, is an enforcer at the prison and a good tracker who has taken Joe Mack's escape personally.

I had read this story in the past and enjoyed it again. Reading about Joe Mack's survival in the freezing cold mountainous region reminded me somewhat of Jack London.  Joe Mack is able to make a bow and arrow and he survives on his innate skills. When the Russians send a helicopter after him, that segment of the story reminded me of the movie, Rambo.

Overall, the nonstop action was entertaining and his relationship to the people he meets during his escape was interesting to follow.  The writing is realistic, so much so that when I read about the Russian winter setting in, I made sure the windows of my house were closed tightly and the heat was turned up.

1 comment:

Ethan said...

This sounds like a fun read! I didn't realize L'Amour wrote thrillers. I've read some of his short stories, mostly westerns, in the past.


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