Celebrated for his action-packed stories and attention to detail, thriller writer Desmond Bagley was born in the Lake District and spent his early working life in the aircraft industry. His adventurous spirit took him on an exciting road trip to South Africa, where he settled as a freelance journalist and film critic. The first novel, Golden Keel, was a classic thriller based on a true story and achieved instant success. His fast-moving thrillers were written against international settings reflecting his extensive travels. He went on to write a further fifteen gripping stories, which have all been translated into more than 20 languages. Bagley’s books markedly fell from favour, but the new House of Stratus re-issues may cause a revival of interest.

the books

Bahama Crisis

The Mangans, having fought on the losing side of the American War of Independence, sail to the Bahamas, where they settle and prosper. Several generations later, Tom Mangan is the affluent proprietor of a number of luxury hotels, whose future looks even brighter with the injection of fifty million dollars provided by a well-heeled Texan family. The day Mangan clinches the deal with his friend, Bill Cunningham, should be the happiest day of his life, but a family tragedy followed by a series of misfortunes and disasters eventually leads him to suspect a conspiracy to ruin him, or, perhaps, something even more horrifying.

The Enemy

Financial consultant, Malcolm Jaggard, begins a desperate investigation when flourishing industrialist and former Russian scientist, George Ashton, the father of Jaggard’s fiancée, mysteriously disappears following a vicious acid attack on his daughter. Ashton is traced from his home in Buckinghamshire to the wintry forests of Sweden, in a compelling tale about rivalries between intelligence groups and shocking experiments in genetic engineering.

Flyaway

When Max Stafford, head of Stafford Security Consultants, is brutally beaten up in his own office, and Paul Billson disappears in North Africa, the race is on to discover the secret of the famous 1930s aircraft, Flyaway.

The Freedom Trap

An agent of the British Government is sent on a new and deadly assignment – to snare The Scarperers (a notorious gang of criminals who organise gaol-breaking for long-term prisoners) and Slade, a notorious Russian double agent whom they have recently liberated. The trail leads him to Malta, where he comes face-to-face with these ruthless killers and must outwit them to save his own life.

Golden Keel

Mussolini’s missing treasure – worth three million pounds – lies hidden in Italy. A group of adventurers set sail to track down the treasure and smuggle it out, encountering many enemies along the route, including murderous ex-partisans, ruthless beauties and menacing smugglers, all of whom will stop at nothing for a chance to hijack the fortune.

High Citadel

Isolated in the biting cold of the Andes, after their plane has been hijacked and forced to crash-land, Tim O’Hara’s passengers are fighting for their lives. While one group of survivors, lead by O’Hara, attempt to cross the peaks along a deadly, snow-covered pass, the other is working to stall the armed group of soldiers who plan to kill them all once they have managed to cross a torrential river. Ingenious ideas are put into action in a dramatic attempt to prolong their survival until help arrives.

Juggernaut

It is longer than a football pitch, weighs 550 tons, and moves at an average of five miles per hour. Its job – and that of company troubleshooter, Neil Mannix – is to move a giant transformer across Nyala, an oil-rich African state. When Nyala erupts into civil war, Mannix finds himself, and the juggernaut, at the centre of the conflict. Can Mannix deliver the transformer to its destination or will warring factions finally halt its progress and destroy it?

Landslide

Geologist, Bob Boyd, who works in British Columbia timber country, has no memory of his past following a terrible accident, which only he survived. Hired by the powerful Matterson Corporation to survey land before they build a great new dam, he begins to uncover the shaky foundations of the Matterson family and becomes a fly in their ointment. Matters are complicated when he falls in love with Claire Trinavant, the last link to a forgotten family whose name strikes a mysteriously resonant chord.

Night of Error

The only discernable bond in the relationship of brothers Mark and Mike Trevelyan is their fascination with the sea and its secrets. When Mike hears of his brother’s death, during an expedition to a remote Pacific atoll, the circumstances are suspicious enough to force him to investigate, and when he is the victim of a series of violent attacks, his search for the truth becomes even more desperate. Mike has only two clues – a notebook in code and a lump of rock – enough to trigger off a hazardous expedition and a violent confrontation far from civilisation.

Running Blind

It all begins with a simple errand – a package to deliver. But for Alan Stewart, standing on a deserted road in Iceland with a murdered man at his feet, the mission looks far from simple. Set amongst some of the most dramatic scenery in the world, Stewart and his girlfriend, Erin, are faced with treacherous natural obstacles and deadly threats, as they battle to carry out the mission. The contents of the package are a surprise for the reader as much as for Stewart in a finale of formidable energy.

The Snow Tiger

A small mining community in New Zealand is devastated when ‘the snow tiger’ (an avalanche) rips apart their entire township in a matter of minutes, killing fifty-four people. In the course of the ensuing enquiry, the antagonisms and fears of the community are laid bare, and a ruthless battle, for control of a multi-million pound international mining group, is exposed. The tension in the courtroom mounts as each survivor gives his graphic account of the terrifying sequence of events.

The Spoilers

When film tycoon, Sir Robert Hellier, loses his daughter to heroin, he declares war on the drug peddlers. London drug specialist, Nicholas Warren, is called in to organise an expedition to the Middle East, in an attempt to track down the big-time dope runners, inveigle themselves into their confidence and make them an offer they can’t refuse. No expense is spared in the plans for their capture, but with a hundred million dollars worth of heroin at stake, the ‘spoilers’ must use methods as ruthless as their prey.

The Tightrope Men

Giles Denison’s life is turned upside down when he awakes to find himself in a luxurious hotel in Oslo and, peering into the bathroom mirror, discovers the face of another man! He has been kidnapped from his flat in London and transformed into famous Finnish scientist, Dr Harold Feltham Meyrick. Compelled to adjust to his new persona (including meeting his daughter) and to play out the role assigned to him by his captors, he embarks on a dangerous escapade from Norway to Finland and across the border into Soviet Russia.

The Vivero Letter

Jeremy Wheale’s well-ordered life is torn apart when his brother is murdered by a mob hit man, whose bait was a family heirloom – a sixteenth-century gold tray. The trail takes Wheale from Devon to Mexico and the wild tropical rain forests of Yucatan. In dense jungle, he helps two archaeologists locate the rest of a fabled hoard of gold – treasure from Uaxuanoc, the centuries-old lost city of the Mayas. But his brother’s enemies are on Wheale’s trail, and with them are the Chicleros, a vicious band of convict mercenaries

Windfall

Jan Willem Hendryk’s legacy amounts to a staggering £40 million – £34 million to go to an agricultural college in Kenya’s Rift Valley, and the remaining £6 million to be divided equally between his only surviving descendants: Dirk, a South African, and Henry, a young drop-out living in California. But a number of suspicious circumstances emerge, including a clause in the will stating that Dirk must spend one month of every year in Kenya. What seems at first a simple matter of greed gradually assumes sinister proportions.

Wyatt’s Hurricane

A U.S. Naval aircraft on a routine weather patrol in the Caribbean encounters ‘Mabel’, a ferocious hurricane that should, nevertheless, pass harmlessly among the islands. But David Wyatt, civilian weather expert, has developed a sixth sense about hurricanes and is convinced that Mabel will change course and strike the island of San Fernandez and its capital, St Pierre. Scientific evidence is against him, the Commander of the U.S. Base refuses to evacuate, and Wyatt’s lone voice is finally overwhelmed when a rebellion against the tyrannical dictator who rules San Fernandez sweeps down on St Pierre. Wyatt is forced to pit himself against insuperable odds, aided only by a small and diverse group of English and American civilians – and by Hurricane Mabel herself.

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