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His Bones are Coral

Novella (124 pages, 31,380 words)

Print                 e-book

Published by Hodder and Stoughton in 1955 at 7/6 with an initial print run of 9,000. The title appears to pick up the line "Of his bones are coral made" from the song "Full Fathom Five" in The Tempest. This was too obscure for some readers, so the book was retitled Twist of the Knife for its US hardback editon, The Shark Run for the paperback and Shark for the film. The book is more of a long novella than a novel, and the text of the British edition is not divided into chapters, suggesting that it night have been originally intended for magazine publication. Happily there is now a new edition from Bello, the "modern classics" imprint of Pan Macmillan.

The 1970 film with Burt Reynolds and Silvia Pinal was directed by Samuel Fuller but then so much altered by the producers that he disowned the film. Some use was made in the publicity of the fact that one of the extras had been killed by a shark during the shooting.

Like its immediate predecessor, Castle Minerva, it is told as first-person narrative. Howard Smith (re-named Howard Caine for the movie) is a pilot ferrying cargo between Port Sudan and Cairo. He has been persuaded to carry drugs. His plane crashes. He takes a job working for a professor ostensibly doing underwater archaeology, in fact retrieving gold bullion. Love, danger from sharks, betrayal, all as expected.

First edition 1955
First edition
First US edition 1955
First US edition
Paperback 1968
NEL paperback
DVD of the 1970 movie
DVD of the
1970 movie
Index of characters,
locations and themes