Alistair Maclean is my favorite author. South by Java Head is a gripping, breathtaking book of vintage Maclean style. The plot takes time to evolve, situated as it is in the 1940s in the Pacific ocean where a desperate group of seamen are looking for a way out of Singapore out of the marauding Japanese invaders. Each of the character is invested with power and personality and the plot takes a lot of u-turns, twists and turns so typical of Maclean. The sinking of two ships and their flight across to an island away from some sinister machinations of which most were not aware of, makes this book a very engaging one. Maclean specialises in maritime stories and this one does not disappoint with its pulsating, throbbing narrative. Rating 5/5 – must read for Alistair Maclean fans.