Fear Is the Key
First edition cover (UK)
|Cover artist||John Keay|
|Preceded by||The Last Frontier|
|Followed by||The Dark Crusader|
In the prologue, set in May 1958, Talbot, owner of Trans Carib Air Charter Co was in British Honduras, maintains radio contact with one of his planes en route to Tampa, Florida, as it is being shot down by the United States Air Force. This resulted in the death of Talbot's family.
Two years later, Talbot has apparently turned to a life of crime, for which he is now facing sentencing in a courtroom, partly due to evidence from INTERPOL. He escapes by taking a young woman hostage, the daughter of multimillionaire General Ruthven. A reward is put out on his head, and he is captured by a thug who turns him in to the hostage's father. Instead of turning him over to the police, however, Ruthven hires him for some not-entirely legitimate tasks. Talbot is taken to an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, from which Ruthven and his shady cronies are attempting to salvage a sunken DC-3 which has a secret treasure of gold, emeralds and uncut diamonds worth more than ten million dollars. In typically MacLean style, the reader comes to find that nothing in this complicated plot is quite as it seems.
Film, TV or theatrical adaptations
Fear Is the Key appeared in film in a 1973 release directed by Michael Tuchner. The protagonist, Talbot, was played by Barry Newman, and the millionaire's daughter Sarah Ruthven by Suzy Kendall. The movie features a soundtrack by Roy Budd.
References in other media
- Alistair MacLean, Fear Is the Key London: Collins, 1961.
- Barry Alan Farber, Rock 'n' Roll Wisdom: What Psychologically Astute Lyrics Teach about Life and Love, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2007, ISBN 0275991644, p. 140