The Eagle Has Landed
Reviewer: C. Peter Chen
Review Date: 23 Mar 2005
"Higgins is the master", so said Tom Clancy, one of the best selling fiction authors of our time. He was not exaggerating. Jack Higgins achieved a top rate thriller with this landmark novel that instantly boasted him to stardom.
The Eagle Has Landed started with a meeting of top Nazi officials in September 1943, including Hitler himself. The Allies had just landed on continental Europe via Italy, and Hitler started to feel the pressure. The insane Hitler, jealous of the skills of British commandos, fueled on with Himmler's political manipulations, ordered a special operations mission to England to kidnap Winston Churchill. In the twisted mind of Adolf Hitler, it would bring England to its knees, and Germany to total domination of western Europe.
Jack Higgins' thrilling narratives takes you from the dark dungeons of SS Headquarters to the serene seaside of England. This is a novel that had me turning pages deep into the night, unwilling to stop until the story had ended. The characters were developed in enough detail for you to truly understand the actions of the main characters from each side of the war. A favorite character was perhaps Liam Devlin, a member of the IRA who took the role as the man who sat on the fence during the war; perhaps mercenary would be a good word to describe him. His righteous integrity tainted by his dealings with Germany gave him a strangely likeable personality that almost made me want to compare him with George Lucas' Han Solo character from Star Wars.
This novel was written thirty years ago and has certainly stood the trials of time. The Eagle Has Landed continues to be a favorite among WW2 enthusiasts when it comes to fiction, while the story had been made into both audio books and a film in 1977 starring Michael Caine, Robert Duvall, and Donald Sutherland. The best part of the novel is the believability, adding enough fact to the fiction so that the readers fall deep into the carefully thought out plot.
As Himmler sat in his office in Berlin on 6 Nov 1943, he received the message "The Eagle Has Landed". What happened next would be a complex plan to kidnap one of the most visible and popular figures in England. Don't you wish to turn the page to find out for yourself exactly how these German commandos carried out their mission?
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James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy, 23 Feb 1945