Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Covers of H.M.S. Ulysses

Over at the Rap Sheet a few days ago J. Kingston Pierce posted, in response to a meme, the different covers of the Erle Stanley Gardner novel--as by A.A. Fair--Turn on the Heat. I wasn't tapped for this one, but I'm going to do it anyway. I love cover artwork; specifically paperback artwork and I have been known to grab different editions of the same novel when I stumble across them.

My choice is H.M.S. Ulysses by Alistair MacLean. It was published in 1955 and it was MacLean's first novel. I've read it a few times and it gets better with every read--the action is fast, the plot is tricky, and it is vintage Alistair MacLean. It should be I guess, since it was his first.

This is what Wikipedia has to say about H.M.S. Ulysses:

"The novel features a light cruiser, one of a unique type similar to the real Dido class cruisers (MacLean had served on HMS Royalist of that class), extremely well armed and one of the fastest ships in the world. But her crew is pushed well beyond the limits of endurance, and the book starts in the aftermath of a mutiny on board. The Ulysses puts to sea again to escort a vital convoy FR-77 (based on the ill-fated Convoy PQ-17) heading for Murmansk. Predictably, all elements have a part to play against them: an unusually fierce arctic storm, the German ships and U-boats, as well as airborne attacks, all slowly decimate the convoy from 32 ships to only 5. The Ulysses herself is lost, fittingly, in a failed attempt to ram into an attacking cruiser, after all her other weapons had been destroyed. There is a true story of HMS Rawalpindi an armed Merchant Cruiser that sacrificed itself"

The obvious cover scan missing up top is the Fawcett edition. Maybe I'll post it later. Maybe.

1 comment:

J. Kingston Pierce said...

Excellent, Ben. I've dropped a note into The Rap Sheet about your taking up this challenge.