Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Friday, May 6, 2011


Ossian's Ride by Fred Hoyle (1959)

My selection for this Friday's Forgotten Book is a strange thriller/mystery/SF, the second novel by Fered Hoyle.  Ossian's Ride takes us firmly into John Buchan territory with a young adventurer caught in a vise, desperately hunted as he tries to find answers before the whole political framework of the world topples.

     The time is 1970, eleven years into the future.  Ireland has suddenly become one of the most powerful countries in the world because of a new industrial complex -- Industrial Corporation Eire, or I.C.E. -- that has harnessed thermonuclear power and has syphoned off many of the world's leading scientists.  I.C.E. jealously guards its secrets, turning Ireland into almost a police state.

     Thomas Sherwood, a young mathematician and Cambridge student is recruited to penetrate I.C.E. and discover its most precious secret -- not that of thermonuclear power, but  how the industrial complex has made such progress in so short a time.  What allowed it to jump-start, to go directly to such power with no intervening steps?

     Sherwood must avoid police and government authorities, as well as various political groups, to penetrate I.C.E.'s secrecy.  The world he has been thrown into is one where he can trust no one and where he is at risk at every turn.  His assignment, supposedly to last only a few weeks, takes over his life as he is trapped in enemy territory for months.  Before he can find out the answers he was sent for, he must answer one other question:  is he the player or the played?

     Fred Hoyle was a world-famous (and controversial) astonomer who penned several well-known science fiction books.  Ossian's Ride is an interesting thriller that leads to a startling and logical conclusion, marred only by a few creaky passages.


     For a complete list of today's Friday's Forgotten Books, visit Patti Abbott's blog Pattinase, where our gracious hostess will provide you with a mix of great, interesting, or just plain strange reading.


  1. Hoyle loved his near-future sf...surprising to me that he never played with more cosmology, as Robert Forward did. Perhaps the latter was "too close to home" or work...

  2. Always fun to read tales of future past.