Book Summary on "Whirlwind" by James Clavell

by Joseph Cohen

"Whirlwind" is a novel in James Clavell's Asian Saga. It is the final novel in the series chronologically, although it was published in 1986, seven years before the final novel "Gai-Jin." Set in 1979 Iran, it fictionalizes the attempts by companies to extract employees and equipment from the region during the turmoil following the fall of Iranian monarchy.

Rise to Power

Andrew Gavallan runs the Struans-Gavillan Helicopter company from Scotland. When Ayatollah Khomeini overthrows the Shah of Iran in 1979, the upheaval endangers the S-G employees and equipment in the nation, which is riot-torn and quickly growing more xenophobic. Gavallan must engineer the escape of his employees, their families, his helicopters and equipment from the Middle East.

Power Struggle

S-G Helicopters is owned not only by Gavallan, but by Struan's, a trading house based in Hong Kong, also known as Noble House. During his engineering of an escape for his people in Iran, Gavillan is also trying to consolidate power in a bid to take over Struan's. His opponent in this struggle is Linbar Struan, the current head of Noble House.

Escape: A Love Story

Erikki Yokkonen, a Finnish helicopter pilot, married Azadeh, an Iranian woman. However, her family was attempting to play the revolutionaries and outsiders against each other. Erikki was tortured before Azadeh was able to arrange his release and their escape into Turkey. This plotline became the main focus of "Escape," a cut-down version of "Whirlwind" released with entire plot-lines and characters excised.

Iranian Spy Games

Spies from around the globe found themselves caught up in the Iranian revolution. After the CIA station chief is killed in Tehran, the CIA abandons their listening posts throughout the country. MI6, a unit of British intelligence, works with a unit of Gurkhas to destroy the listening posts before they fall into the hands of the KGB. General Petr Mzytryk is the KGB officer in charge, who kills both MI6 and Iranian intelligence officers to get to the abandoned CIA posts. Iranian revolutionaries kill Mzytryk before he can accomplish his mission in retaliation for the murder of Hashemi Fazir, the Iranain intelligence agent he killed.


About the Author

Joseph Cohen has over six years of experience in writing and editing business-to-business media summaries for numerous Fortune 500 companies. He is the author of The Future Soldier: Fast Movers, a role-playing supplement from Steampower Publishing. Cohen holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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