by James Clavell

Hardcover, 1986



Tehran, Iran 1979: Simmering religious tensions finally explode, and the Iranian people rise up against the Shah. The country, once secular, is now thrown back into an orthodoxy that threatens to tear it apart. The United States and Russia go on high alert, with warships heading to the Middle East. The region becomes a powder keg, waiting to explode. Caught up in the revolution are a British helicopter company and its pilots. The oil fields of Iran need helicopters to ferry workers and administrators, and when the main US aviation company pulls out of Iran fearing what might come next, S-G Helicopters steps in to fill the void. Soon they realize that they, too, must leave or risk losing all their machines to whomever takes control of the country. The company risks bankruptcy if that happens-which would ruin Andrew Gallavan and reveal that the company is actually owned by a secret Hong Kong-based consortium: Noble House, controlled by the Struan family. Caught in between is his son, Scot, a pilot in Iran who must help save his father's company, but also the other pilots and their families. In a risky move, the pilots concoct a plan to get their choppers out of Iran. But will they be able to escape a country crumbling around them before it's too late? A rich panoply of characters brings to life the events of forty years ago, events that even now have ramifications throughout the Middle East and beyond. Fast-paced and full of action and intrigue, Whirlwind is an intricately plotted and detailed tale of war, love, and the ingenuity of the human spirit, told by James Clavell, the unparalleled master of historical fiction.… (more)


½ (221 ratings; 3.6)

User reviews

LibraryThing member abatishko
The author selected a fascinating setting and background for his story. He very effectively portrays the fear and uncertainty of being a foreigner in Iran at that time. Unfortunately, the book suffers from having too many characters that aren't strongly distinct from each other. This makes the
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early portion of the book somewhat confusing. To make things worse, the middle of the book starts to feel somewhat repetitive. Too many pages seem to have little purpose beyond reemphasizing the chaos and upheaval that's going on. Fortunately, the book is saved by a very strong ending with a good level of tension and satisfactory conclusion. (3.5/5)
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LibraryThing member mikedraper
With his lengthy books and complex plots, James Clavell could have set the standard to which Tom Clancy took to the next level.

In "Whirlwind" Clavell sets his story in 1979 at the start of the Iranian revolution. The country is in a life or death struggle after the Shah has left.

As the story
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opens, a British helicopter company is secretly controlled by the Noble House of Hong Cong. The members of the company question how much longer they will be able to operate their bases throughout the land.

In Aberdeen, Andrew Gavallan and Linbar Struan discuss the direction of the Noble House and what the proper course of management should be. It is easy to tell that these men intensely dislike each other.

The novel could well be a text book on the Iranian revolution. However, like most of the author's books, strick adherence to historical facts are not always adhered to.

The reader is shown the conflict Iranians had with Shiites and Sunnis as well as their dislike and distrust of outsiders such as the Canadians, Americans and British who were looking after their oil interests in Iran.

Good for the historical mystery fan.
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LibraryThing member tscarborough
Total crap and the only book In my Library I have not finished. I will burn it with the leaves this fall.
LibraryThing member santhony
James Clavell extends his Asian saga to revolutionary Iran. Not quite up to the standards of Shogun or Noble House, but a worthy effort nonetheless.
LibraryThing member beatbox32
After completing this novel, I have now read two James Clavell works. I first read Shogun about 9 years ago and found it completely engrossing. I must admit, I had a hard time recalling that feeling for the first couple hundred pages of Whirlwind, and I didn't have much sympathy, one way or the
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other for a majority of the characters. But the story did have Clavell's trademark twists and nefarious plotters. He does a great job of creating intrigue and suspense. If you have the time and willpower to make it past the first quarter of the book, I highly recommend reading Whirlwind.
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LibraryThing member kasualkafe
I have been reading this book for quite a while , I usually fly threw them
LibraryThing member HadriantheBlind
Pretty good historical fiction that I plowed through, despite the mammoth size. A bit hard to follow in some places.
LibraryThing member CasSprout
Outstanding story of an unseen side of the Iran war.


William Morrow and Company, Ic.

Original publication date





0688066631 / 9780688066635


Original language

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