Author: Alistair MacLean
MacLean, Alistair (1975). Circus. London: Collins
Date Updated: December 6, 2016
Poor old Alistair MacLean. He just kept on writing books because people would buy them, hoping that maybe this one would be better than the last. They were rarely satisfied.
Circus is a novel written by the Scottish author MacLean. It was first released in the United Kingdom by Collins in 1975 and later in the same year by Doubleday in the United States.
Bruno Wildermann of the Wrinfield Circus is the world’s greatest trapeze artist, a clairvoyant with near-supernatural powers and an implacable enemy of the East German regime that arrested his family and murdered his wife. The CIA needs such a man for an impossible raid on the impregnable Lubylan Fortress where his family is held, to remove a dangerous weapons formula from a heavily guarded laboratory under cover of a traveling circus tour, Bruno prepares to return to his homeland. But before the journey even begins a murderer strikes twice. Somewhere in the circus there is a communist agent with orders to stop Bruno at any cost.
The story, written in third person narrative, includes espionage, murder, romance and humor. Many MacLean fans do not consider this to be one of his finer works. It is typical of his later period works, in that while it is quite well plotted (if stretching the bounds of believability), it is simplistically characterized, with dryly sardonic and superbly competent protagonists (particularly Bruno Wildermann, the trapeze artist-cum-secret agent), a ravishingly beautiful and virtually helpless female protagonist, and almost cartoonish Communist antagonists.