Where Eagles Dare

by Alistair MacLean
320 pages, Historical Fiction
Reviewed by Jeanne

An exciting tale of treachery and suspense set in World War II, but without high morals.


Eight Allied agents, led by main character Smith, are dropped into Germany in World War II to rescue Lieutenant-General Carnaby. Carnaby is a member of Eisenhower's personal staff and knows all the details for the D-Day attack...and if the Germans make him talk, the whole plan will be blown to bits.

Between the Germans and traitors, it's doubtful that any of these men will make it out alive.


Morality isn't really touched upon in this tale. The mission is clear: get in, get General Carnaby, get out. What Smith has to do to make this happen is completely beside the point. Killing, lying, cheating... That's what the spies are here to do.

Spiritual Content

Nothing worth noting; when God is mentioned, it's only to take His name in vain.


As this is a spy novel, one can expect a good bit of violence. Most of this has to do with shooting and being shot at, but we also read about a man possibly having broken his neck in jumping from a plane in a parachute, as well as a car being pushed over a cliff and the possibility of its driver being dead. Bombs are also present.

Drug and Alcohol Content

The allied agents go into a bar and there is drinking, but no drunkenness.

Sexual Content

At the very beginning, Smith notes that the pilot of their aircraft is reading a book which has a gory cover depicting a woman who appears to have no clothes on with a knife in her back. Later on, he tells a woman spy to "take her clothes off." Readers then learn that this is only a code phrase for something totally different, and all worry is allayed. Schaffer seems to be in love with a woman and expresses a wish to marry her, but there's nothing more than that.

Crude or Profane Language or Content

As mentioned above, there are several instances of men taking God's name in vain. "D*mn" and "h*ll" are mixed in with the vague "he swore's" throughout most of the dialogue.


"Where Eagles Dare" is certainly a fast-paced and gripping tale of espionage set in World War II. Smith and Schaffer, the two main characters, are fun to follow through the narrative, and MacLean mixes suspense with humor in an extremely good manner.

However, if one is looking for a book with high morals, this isn't the tale to read. Smith shows incredible loyalty to his nation, but he's willing to break most of the laws of morality as we know them in order to fulfill his duties.

Fun Score: 5
Values Score: 3
Written for Age: adult

Review Rating:

Did we miss something? Let us know!

Jeanne This review is brought to you by Jeanne.
Read more reviews by Jeanne