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[Review] ‘High Country’ by Rev. Alistair Maclean

Alistair Maclean was the third son of Reverend Alistair MacLean. While Alistair MacLean became known for this thrillers, his father was known for his fire and brimstone sermons. 47 of those sermons were collected in ‘High Country’.

Rev. MacLean and his family (Alistair MacLean is far right)

Review appeared in ‘The Living Church’  (November 30, 1952):
High Country is a delicate and delightful little book of sermons which tingles with a wholesome Scottish simplicity. The writer strives to imitate the method of our Lord, “who offers His jewels in artistic and delightful settings.” In the series of 47 sermons, dealing with the inner life, we find a beautiful gallery of pictures and a fresh selection of biographical anecdotes.

This book, extremely concrete, offers much to the person who may choose to use it as a manual for meditation. Since the sermons were first written for the author’s “congregation of simple folk”, they enunciate the fundamental truths of Christian inner experience, not in a speculative way, nor in a language about common understanding, but in a manner clear and at once appealing.

The seminarian and young priests learn much about a vigorous style of sermon-structure from this collection.. Here is a great well of fresh illustrated material and a method of preaching which can hardly fail to enliven the pulpit.

Unfortunately, the book cannot be recommended for the use of lay-readers and their work for the church. Naturally, the writer cannot escape his Calvinistic attitudes and he makes many references to Scottish literature which will mean very little to Anglican congregations.

Alastair MacNeill Resurfaces

What happens if you disturb a nest of hornets? Well, you might get stung. Repeatedly.

No so very long ago I wrote here about Alastair MacNeill:

The entire author profile smells fishy, the submitted manuscript that started his career was never published and I’m wondering why Alastair MacNeill hasn’t written a novel since 2000 when one reads that he came to Britain to ‘pursue a career in writing’.

His agent at Christopher Little claims (personal communication, June 7, 2013) that ‘Alastair MacNeill has not permanently retired from writing, but he does not have any work that is due to be published in the near future either’ and – rather cryptically – that ‘He has not written anything under a pseudonym’. Which is technically true if Alastair MacNeill is itself a pseudonym.

Curiously, shorty after I had contact with his agents, MacNeill’s profile on their website changed. It now claims that Alastair MacNeill ‘has now moved back to live in South Africa’.

And now, out of the blue, a new novel (could one say ‘a novel novel’?) has been published under the name Alastair MacNeill. ‘Facades‘ has been released in June, 2015 and tells us ‘Author of Double Blind’.

But the most interesting feature is that ‘Facade’ has only been issued as an e-book. Which is odd because Alastair MacNeill supposedly wrote a number of books that met with reasonabe commercial success.

So, according to his agents, Alastair MacNeill has returned to South-Africa and – two years ago – had not any work that was due to be published in the near future. Then ‘Facades‘ is available via No publicity has been generated by his agents and what does a writer these days do to create his own publicity? He turns to social media and posts glowing reviews and news on Twitter and Facebook. Not Alastair MacNeill. He is curiously absent from social media.

Which begs the question again: is the pseudonym Alastair MacNeill again used by another unknown writer from the clientlist Christopher Little?

The Novels (written by others)

[01] 1980 Hostage Tower [by John Denis | UNACO-01]

[02] 1981 Air Force One is Down [by John Denis | UNACO-02]

[03] 1989 Death Train [by Alastair MacNeill | UNACO-03]

[04] 1989 Night Watch [by Alastair MacNeill | UNACO-04]

[05] 1990 Red Alert [by Alastair MacNeill | UNACO-05]

[06] 1991 Time of the Assassins [by Alastair MacNeill | UNACO-06]

[07] 1992 Golden Girl [by Simon Gandolfi | Golden Girl-01]

[08] 1992 Dead Halt [by Alastair MacNeill | UNACO-07]

[09] 1993 Golden Web [by Simon Gandolfi | Golden Girl-02]

[10] 1993 Code Breaker [by Alastair MacNeill | UNACO-08]

[11] 1994 Golden Vengeance [Simon Gandolfi | Golden Girl-03]

[12] 1995 Rendezvous [by Alastair MacNeill]

[13] 1997 Prime Target [by Hugh Miller | UNACO-09]

[14] 1997 Storm Force Navarone [by Sam Llewellyn]

[15] 1998 Borrowed Time [by Hugh Miller | UNACO-10]

[16] 1999 Thunderbolt from Navarone [Sam Llewellyn]

The Novels

[00] 1954 The Cruise of the Golden Girl

[01] 1955 HMS Ulysses

[02] 1957 The Guns of Navarone

[03] 1957 South by Java Head

[04] 1959 The Secret Ways – The Last Frontier

[05] 1959 Night Without End

[06] 1961 Fear is the Key

[07] 1961 The Black Shrike – The Dark Crusader

[08] 1962 The Golden Rendezvous

[09] 1962 The Satan Bug

[10] 1963 Ice Station Zebra

[11] 1966 When Eight Bells Toll

[12] 1967 Where Eagles Dare

[13] 1968 Force 10 From Navarone

[14] 1969 Puppet on a Chain

[15] 1970 Caravan to Vaccares

[16] 1971 Bear Island

[17] 1973 The Way to Dusty Death

[18] 1974 Breakheart Pass

[19] 1975 Circus

[20] 1976 The Golden Gate

[21] 1977 Seawitch

[22] 1978 Goodbye California

[23] 1980 Athabasca

[24] 1981 River of Death

[25] 1982 Partisans

[26] 1983 Floodgate

[27] 1984 San Andreas

[28] 1985 The Lonely Sea

       • The Dileas

       • St George and the Dragon

       • The Arandora Star

       • Rawalpindi

       • The Sinking of the Bismarck

       • The Meknes

       • MacHinery and the Cauliflowers

       • Lancastria

       • McCrimmon and the Blue Moonstones

       • They Sweep the Seas

       • City of Benares

       • The Gold Watch

       • Rendezvous

       • The Jervis Bay

       • The Good Samaritan

       • The Black Storm

[29] 1986 Santorini