Bagley’s novel was published in Italy by Arnoldo Mondadori in the ‘Segretissimo’ (Hush Hush) series under the title Lassù qualcuno mi odia, which translates as ‘Somebody up there hates me’. The novel was translated into Italian by Maria Grazi from Napoli and the cover design was by Carlo Jacono. The additional text on the front cover reads: ‘A high-class spy story’, ‘A prestigious author’, ‘A best-seller’.
The paperback edition shown above was published on 14th December 1972 and the translation of the rear cover text reads:
A retired agent, not used operationally because of an ‘error’ years ago, is suddenly called back to active duty to be entrusted with a mission as a ‘messenger’: he must deliver a package to a certain place and a certain person. The agent called Alan Stewart is no longer involved in espionage, and lives in a remote Scottish glen. However, once an agent, always an agent a spy once said, and it shouldn’t be hard for Alan to please his former boss, Slade, and complete the assignment. But in the strange and somewhat unreal land of Iceland everything takes on elusive almost magical dimensions. Even Alan’s girlfriend, a young teacher Icelandic, suddenly turns into a kind of Viking full of pride and aggression.
For her, in fact, it is a matter of life or death: Alan must save her from his enemies. For Alan, however, the problem is much deeper and more painful. From the past returns the bitterness, disappointment and discomfort both psychological and moral, rings that are linked like a chain and welded to each another, into one. Yes, because it is now clear that the enemy then is the same today and what is serious is that this enemy lurks just where there should be trusted friends.
In January 1982 Arnoldo Mondadori published another edition in their ‘Classici dello spionaggio’ (Classic espionage) series. Printed in December 1981 this edition featured an introduction by Marco Tropea and a cover design by Paolo Ciarchi.
The translation of the rear cover text reads:
Alan Stewart should have aimed better, when he shot Kennikin. Instead of killing him he hit him in the groin, in the most crucial part. Now Kennikin, enraged, seeks him with a knife. Alan wanted to retire from the Intelligence Service into private life with his girlfriend Elin, a wonderful Icelander. However his former boss calls on his services; a simple task, they say. But around the corner is the sharp blade of Kennikin, and what appeared to be a simple mission as a “courier” becomes a hallucinating gymkhana between the geysers and ice deserts of Iceland. The worst thing is that our hero feels he has an enemy behind. An enemy nestled up there, in the high levels of the British secret service, another Philby, a “mole” that threatens his life, and that of hundreds of British agents.
Humour and violence, Anglo-Saxon detachment and Scottish ruggedness, the dry taste of action and velvety touch of atmosphere are the highly successful blend of this vintage Desmond Bagley. A black label of a spy story.
On 29th August 2003 the Milan based publisher TEADUE (Tascabili degli Editori Associati S.p.A.) released a new edition of the novel under the title Fuga tra i ghiacci, which translates as ‘Escape in the Ice’ (ISBN 88-502-0461-2).
This edition was translated into Italian by Maya Guiderei, the cover design was by Paolo Barbieri and the graphics by Studio Baroni. The additional text on the front cover reads: ‘Desmond Bagley – Master of the adventure novel’, ‘It all began with the simplest of tasks: deliver a package…’
The translation of the rear cover text reads:
It seemed like a simple assignment: deliver a package. The fact of not knowing anything else – the contents of the package, who to deliver it to, just to go to a small town in the North of Iceland didn’t trouble him that much: For Alan Stewart, a former secret agent with a rough past and a girlfriend waiting for him in Reykjavik, a mission of this kind is a so-called snap. But now, on a deserted road in the middle of nowhere, Stewart finds himself with a corpse at his feet and his hands dripping with blood: a stranger who attacked him for no apparent reason … Everything, instantly becomes much more complicated. It is only the beginning. Fleeing through a desolate and treacherous terrain, including ancient craters, rivers in flood, impossible roads and immense glaciers, Stewart will have to fight against his unknown enemies to save both himself and his woman, putting together one by one the pieces of a plot in which nothing and no one are what they seem.
Desmond Bagley (1923-1983), after having traveled in Europe and Africa, settled in 1976 on the Island of Guernsey, where he devoted himself entirely to his novels, sixteen books that have won him the accolade of the renowned master of the adventure novel.
‘Escape in the ice’ has already appeared in Italian with the title of ‘Somebody up there hates me’.
Next: Japanese edition
Images, text courtesy & © Mondadori / TEADUE / HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.