The FFF (Fighters For Freedom) threat the Dutch government with blowing up the dykes because they want the Dutch government to talk with the English about the situation in Northern Ireland.
Alistair MacLean, who was born in 1922, was the son of a Scots Minister. He was brought up in the Scottish Highlands. In 1941 at the age of eighteen, he joined the Royal Navy. He spent two-and-a-half years aboard a cruiser, this gave him the background for HMS Ulysses, his first novel, the outstanding documentary novel on the war at sea. After the war, he gained an English Honours degree at Glasgow University, and became a school master. Alistair MacLean has written over twenty bestsellers and many have been filmed. Alistair MacLean died in 1986.
Kind of Novel
It's a detective novel, but you can also say it's a thriller.
Point of View: The impersonal novel; the characters and events speak for themselves, the novelist stays outside the story.
Theme: The theme of the novel is to point out what danger terrorist groups can be.
Style: The book is easy to read and is very clear. MacLean describes all persons very good and once you start reading, it's difficult to stop, because you really feel you're in the story.
Time Element: The story is presented in a chronological form, there are no flashbacks and the story takes place some years ago (around 1980). The time doesn't really matter, because it can also take place right now, but it's certainly from about 1980 till now.
Symbolism: The writer does not really make use of symbols.
Peter van Effen: He is the main person. He is detective Lieutenant. He is the one who infiltrates in the FFF to sabotage them. If Van Effen fails and the FFF get control of the vital dyke, either Holland will sink beneath the sea or Britain will be awash with blood. His name in the FFF is Stephan Danilov.
k Van de Graaf: Colonel de Graaf is the head of the Amsterdam police.
Vasco Westenbrink: He's also officer, he also works undercover and together with George and Van Effen, he infiltrates in the FFF.
George: A friend of Van Effen, who had worked also as an officer. He imitates a weapon-dealer.
Agnelli: He is a member from the FFF gang, he seems very friendly. Agnelli is the one who met Van Effen first.
Riordan: He's the boss from the FFF, a vicar, who really wants Britain to leave Northern Ireland.
Annemarie: She works for the Rotterdam Policedepartment, she gets kidnapped by the FFF
Julie van Effen: She's Peters brother, and also kidnapped by the FFF
The story starts with the news that there was a explosion in an airplane at Schiphol Airport, despite of all the safety guards, nobody has discovered the bomb. Van Effen and the Graaf are going to do this case. It soon comes clear that the bomb was placed by the FFF, a terrorist group who want to make something clear to the Dutch government. But before they do that, they want to show the Dutch people what power they have. They blow up some dykes first, to make the people frightened. Van Effen takes the decision to infiltrate in the FFF. In a meeting with Romero Agnelli (a member of the FFF), Van Effen (alias Danilov) begins to work for the FFF. His first thing to do is to let a bomb explode in the Palace in Amsterdam. Van Effen is succesful and Agnelli trusts him. Agnelli wants Van Effen to do heavier jobs now. Therefore, Van Effen calls George. Together with George and later also Vasco, he is really in the FFF and meets also Riordan, the high boss of the FFF. At the moment when the FFF has got the Haringvliet dam, Van Effen, Vasco and George take action, they throw gasbombs at Agnelli and the other ones and everything is alright again.
Van Effen promotes and the Dutch are safe again.
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