CONTACT LOST by Leif Hamre


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Leif Hamre's forte (Leap Into Danger, Edge of Disaster) is psychological resolution via physical trial. The problem: when Helge Ramsvik's older brother, the Major, hesitated in assigning him as helicopter pilot on the sealers' repair and rescue ship, was he afraid of exposing Helge to danger or was he uncertain that his brother was the right man for the Job? Carelessness on his first important mission leads Helge off course and he lands on the ice, lost. Immediately mechanic Guttorm, the elder although the subordinate, takes command, insisting that they abandon the copter and strike out, with their two passengers, on foot. Weary and cold almost beyond caring, they come at last to a series of cracks, a point of no return which is also the turning point of the story. Here Helge asserts himself and prevails: they will go back. Intercut with scenes of the painfully advancing group is the account of the official rescue operation, in which the Major evinces his understanding of Helge's identity problem (emulation from childhood) and his concern. The rescue is effected quite credibly, and the conclusion is almost casual--no soul-baring by the brothers, no comment by the author. This gets a boost from the details of handling a copter and planning a search in the Arctic, and the characters act like men; its reception will separate the men from the boys--shorthand for don't expect it to go as straight survival adventure.

Pub Date: Sept. 20th, 1967
Publisher: Harcourt, Brace & World