The Man from the Sea (Michael Innes)

By Michael Innes

First published: UK, Gollancz, 1955; US, Dodd, Mead, 1955


My review

A Cold War thriller in the mould of Buchan, involving the journey of two wanted men from Scotland to London (The Thirty-nine Steps reversed). While there is plenty of excitement and entertainment along the way, the chief interest is in the moral ambiguity: instead of straightforward derring-do / Rex and realm patriotism, both hero and reader increasingly come to mistrust “the man from the sea.” The ending is extremely modern: general untrustworthiness, and a series of treacherous boxes within boxes. Would make a great film.