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Literature / Perilous Passage

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Perilous Passage is a 1976 novel written by Bruce Nicolaysen. A Basque shepherd is hired by La Résistance to help get scientist Dr. Bergman and his family out of Nazi-occupied France and into neutral Spain through a perilous passage. Action and adventure is had along the way.

The novel was originally published in hardcover by Playboy Press (yes, that Playboy) and achieved some small success, enough to end up being adapted into a Film of the Book titled The Passage in a fairly expensive international co-production. It starred Anthony Quinn, James Mason, Malcolm McDowell and Christopher Lee, and the script was written by Nicolaysen himself.


Perilous Tropes:

  • Evil Overlooker: Most covers feature von Berkow standing behind the main characters and glowering evil down at them, Cool Shades included.
  • Eye Scream: When von Berkow is torturing the gypsy leader, he gouges one of his eyes out.
  • I Will Only Slow You Down: Mrs. Bergman is convinced she is nothing but The Load.
  • Nazi Nobleman: Von Berkow.
  • No Name Given: Several characters, particularly the Basque. Nicolaysen seems to like the slight anonymity this lends to them, so that even characters who do get identified by name are consistently referred to afterward by descriptors rather than proper nouns. For example, von Berkow is often called "The German," even though he is pointedly one of several.


Example of: