Published in 1965 with a cover design by Pino Dell’Orco.
‘Desmond Bagley’s first novel The Golden Keel was one of the outstanding discoveries of 1963. High Citadel (his second novel) cannot fail to secure him a pre-eminent place among contemporary writers of adventure.
The setting of High Citadel is the towering peaks of the Andes. A non-scheduled passenger plane is hi-jacked in mid-air and forced down among the forbidding mountains.
The surviving passengers, stranded at 16,000 feet, embark on a perilous descent, only to find that they are trapped by a formidably armed and equipped Communist force, whose target is one particular V.I.P., his beautiful niece and a personal aide. But it soon becomes evident that the enemy is intent on wiping out the lot, and for the ex-R.A.F. pilot, survival becomes the prime concern for reasons both political and personal. The party also includes an expert in medieval warfare and a New England schoolmistress, two widely contrasting American businessmen, and a physicist with a fortunate practical bent. As they realise the odds at stake and the strength of the forces against them, two breath-taking stories unfold. In the valley, a desperate delaying-action is fought with ingenious weapons, while in the high regions of rock and glaciers and fatal mountain-sickness, three men set out on a fearful race against time. Ill-equipped and inexperienced in mountaineering, they must somehow bring help to their companions before it is too late. The climax, unexpected as it is hair-raising, brings to a thrilling close this action-packet story.’
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