And of course you all remember the movie mentioned on the cover of today's Forgotten Book, starring Rock Hudson and June Allyson. Oh, wait. You say you don't remember it? That could be because the movie actually starred Cornell Wilde and Jean Wallace. There's probably a good story there, but I have no idea what it is.
Maracaibo is a very 1950s novel. The reviewers called it "An exciting and fast-paced novel," "off-beat adventure," and "a thrilling story." One said that into this novel Silliphant "has squeezed enough excitement for a thousand pages." I doubt that any current reader would agree. Mostly, the book's a love story about two women, one of them a Pulitzer prize-winning poet, the other, a former prostitute, in love with the same guy, a manly adventurer named Vic, whose job is putting out oil-field fires.
The book's very timely in a way, though, thanks to Vic's job. He's hired to put out a fire in Lake Maracaibo, where the burning well is tapped into the "world's largest oil deposit." And a hurricane is on the way. If the fire's not stopped, it could easily be carried ashore by a hurricane and destroy Maracaibo itself.
While most of the novel is taken up with the love story, and written in that very '50s way, the climax is almost worth the wait. Several attempts to extinguish the fire fail. Vic's going to have to dive and blow it up. The hurricane arrives.
Not a great book, but interesting for a few parallels to current times. I don't really recommend it, but I do recommend some other Forgotten Books by Silliphant, the John Locke adventures Steel Tiger, Bronze Bell, and Silver Star. Those are well worth looking for.