Friday, September 12, 2008

Forgotten Books: A GAME FOR HEROES -- James Graham

Back in 1974, I was lying in a hospital bed when I started to read A Game for Heroes by James Graham. I hadn't read more than a couple of pages before I said to myself, "James Graham has got to be Jack Higgins." As it turned out, I was right. I didn't know at the time that Higgins was really Harry Patterson, who also used the pseudonym Hugh Marlowe (and others), but I was already a big fan of Higgins' work. After reading A Game for Heroes, I was a big fan of the books under the Graham name, too.

This one's a WWII adventure set in the Channel Islands where Graham/Higgins/etc. lives. One of the islands is occupied by the Germans, and it's up to Owen Morgan and his ragtag commandos to take it back. There's a admirable enemy, a beautiful but disloyal woman, a traitor or two, bad weather, lots of action, and Graham's vigorous first-person narration. What more could you ask for?

While Jack Higgins' current work is on the bestseller lists all the time, I've never thought it was up to the books he wrote in the '60s and '70s. I've read most of the books Fawcett published in the '70s a couple of times, and they've never let me down. I recommend them all, and
A Game for Heroes is as good a place as any to begin.


August West said...

I agree,I enjoy his earlier work better. I'll grab the Sean Dillon stuff, but the prior novels seem more nostalgic. My favorite is "The Valhalla Exchange." Can't beat his WWII novels against the Nazis.


Paul Bishop said...

Absolutely right! This is a great example of Higgin's work and one of my personal favorites. Like you, I enjoy his earlier books when he really had a hunger for the high adventure genre. I also like his current Sean Dillon character, but again the earlier books in the series are much better -- he's getting way to political in the last half dozen titles.

Ben Boulden said...

I absolutely agree. The early adventure novels of Jack Higgins are arguably the best ever produced--ceratinly the best Higgins ever produced. Terrific stuff.