The Way to Dusty Death

The Way to Dusty Death is a thriller novel written by Scottish author Alistair MacLean. It was originally published in 1973. The title is a quotation from the famous soliloquy in Act 5, Scene 5 in Shakespeare’s play Macbeth.

The Way To Dusty Death
First edition cover (UK)
AuthorAlistair MacLean
CountryUnited Kingdom
GenreThriller novel
PublisherCollins (UK)
Doubleday (US)
Publication date
Media typePrint (Hardback & Paperback)

The book was published in 1973 and became a best seller.[1]

The Chicago Tribune thought Maclean was writing "as a parody of himself".[2]

Plot introduction

The protagonist, Johnny Harlow, a world champion Formula 1 racing driver, was in a devastating accident during the French Grand Prix, which caused the death of his best friend, a Californian driver and Isaac Jethou, along with maiming his girlfriend. It is only one of a series of crashes which have dogged the Grand Prix circuit in the past season, one of which led to the death of Harlow’s younger brother.

The crash appears to have completely destroyed Harlow’s nerve, and the boss of the Coronado team, MacAlpine, for which he drives, is torn between wanting to keep his star driver, and concerns that Harlow has turned into an alcoholic.

However, Harlow is playing a role, as he suspects that there is more behind these "accidents" than “acts of God”, and soon finds out that a few people will do anything to prevent him from discovering the truth.

Proposed Film Adaptation

The story was originally written as a screenplay. It was meant to star Maclean's friend Jackie Stewart.[3] In August 1972 Scott Finch said he was going to work on the script.[4] In October 1973 it was reported that filming was postponed "indefinitely."[5]

In 1979 Peter Snell, who produced the film of Maclean's Bear Island said he wanted to film The Way of Dusty Death next.[6] However the film did not eventuate.

TV Movie

The Way to Dusty Death appeared as a 1995 made-for-TV movie directed by Geoffrey Reeve starring Simon MacCorkindale as Harlow and Linda Hamilton as romantic interest Marie MacAlpine.



  1. PAPERBACKS By Joseph McLellan. The Washington Post, Times Herald 7 Oct 1973: BW13.
  2. MacLean on the Grand Prix: A long way from Java Head: The Way to Dusty Death Cromie, Alice. Chicago Tribune 9 Sep 1973: f8.
  3. War Is Hell, but It Pays Off for MacLean: War Pays Off for MacLean War Pays Off for MacLean War is Hell, but It Pays Off for Alistair Johnstone, Jain. Los Angeles Times 17 Dec 1972: p1.
  4. Trail blazer Linscott, Gillian. The Guardian 8 Aug 1972: 13.
  5. Formula won Dymock, Eric. The Guardian 15 Oct 1973: 17.

This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.