Passage of Arms

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Passage of Arms
Ambler - Passage of Arms.jpg
First edition cover
AuthorEric Ambler
CountryUnited Kingdom
Genrespy novel
Publication date

Passage of Arms (1959), by Eric Ambler, is a fast-paced thriller about the discovery of a cache of arms, abandoned by Communist insurgents in the Malayan jungle, and the later transfer of the arms via Singapore to Indonesia. The title is a double reference to the novel's plot and the expression a "passage of arms". The novel is structured as three connected stories. The outer, framing story is that of Girija Krishnan, the Tamil plantation clerk who finds the arms cache and sells it to raise money so that he can create a local bus service company. Krishnan′s story of business ambition leads to the story of an entrepreneurial Chinese trading family who arrange the transferring of the arms from seller to buyer. The central, third story features an American couple, Greg and Dorothy Nilsen, who are tourists of the Far East used to legitimize the transaction, and so find themselves in great danger — the recurrent theme of ″innocents abroad″ that characterizes the novels of Eric Ambler.[1]

New York Times reviewer James M. Cain, also a thriller-writer in his own right, described the book as "... a picture of Southeast Asia, in all its color and the savagery of its current turmoil ... this is tops, and gets down to bedrock."[2]


External sources[edit]

  • Ambler, Eric (2000), Passage of Arms, London: Pan, ISBN 0-330-39620-X
  • "Passage of Arms" Review in Things Asian. Retrieved 25 Jan 2009.
  • "Eric Ambler" Bastulli Mystery Library. Retrieved 25 Jan 2009.
  • Panek, Leroy L. (1981), The Special Branch: The British Spy Novel, 1890–1980, Bowling Green, Ohio: Bowling Green State University Popular Press, ISBN 0-87972-178-2