Death Train, is a far-fetched thriller― a train journey far from smooth, as villains set out to deliver a dangerous wagon load while a team from UNACO – an international police force, set out to stop them. Written after the death of Alistair Maclean and contrary to the large misleading print on the cover, this was a novel written by an Alastair MacNeil (set out in small print). The plot though is based on an Alistair Maclean’s story line and could have been a best seller, but needed Maclean’s expertise in making the story plausible. This story fell well below the standard one would expect from Alistair Maclean.
Midwinter is one of John Buchan’s better novels. The story is set in 1745 when Bonnie Prince Charlie’s sweeps down from Scotland to take the throne from and unpopular George the Second. The main character, Alistair Maclean, is an officer and Jacobite in the service of the prince. His task is to seek out and win support- military preferably, from Old England for the Scottish campaign. The story however has little to do with the campaign and even Midwinter (who features only periodically) and is more about the adventures of Alastair Maclean and the setbacks in fulfilling his mission.
This is a well written novel though in a verbose form of English peculiar to the 1930s. While the story has a good realistic easy to follow plot and might otherwise appeal to a Scot, it is spoiled by poor proof reading. Scottish people in particular find it highly offensive to be referred to as Scotch (Scotch being a liquor) and Scotchman instead of Scotsman. Apart from these bad errors and a title that is totally misleading, this is a good novel.