It was in 1943. On the Black Sea, the Russians were fighting a desperate battle to regain control. But the Russians' one real weakness was on the water: whatever they did, the Germans did it better, and the daring hit-and-run tactics of the E-boats plagued them. At last the British agreed to send them a small flotilla of motor torpedo boats under the command of John Devane. Devane had been in the Navy since the outbreak of war. More than a veteran, he was a survivor - and the two rarely went together in the savage war of MTBs. Given command at short notice, Devane soon learned that, even against the vast and raging background of the Eastern Front, war could still be a personal duel between individuals.
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(178mm x 110mm x 17mm)
Arrow Books Ltd
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US Kirkus Review »
One of the best of Reeman's many WW II British naval-warfare novels. After driving the Germans from Tunis and becoming a national hero at 27, Lieut. Commander John Devane returns to the Admiralty and is assigned command of a flotilla of five motor torpedo boats (MTBs) - which must be moved from the Caspian Sea to help the Russians battle German E-boats in the Black Sea. So, after bedding the widow of the flotilla's former commander, Devane trucks the boats to Tuapse and hooks up with the Russian navy. His first sortie against the enemy is a blazing success - two E-boats sunk, two badly damaged - though Russian Capt. Sorokin questions Devane's impulsive decision to ignore an order about staying with the Russian ships. Devane next plans a combined attack on a German-occupied peninsular port, then again breaks orders to lead the attack, scoring smashingly though he's wounded in the back. Then, however, he finds himself up against his new commander, Captain Eustace ("Useless") Barker, a cold-fish martinet; and at sea he faces famed German torpedo-boat ace Gerhard Lincke - who seems to guess and match the MTBs' every move. So finally - after Devane declares his love for the widow - all turns on a diversionary MTB attack while a large Russian offensive is mounted on land: half of Devane's boats are wiped out, but he pushes on to surprise Lincke in a last battle at sunset. Solid action, unusual locale, and final chapters which deliver a genuine horror-of-war nightmare - all of which adds up to entirely shipshape war-at-sea reading. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - Douglas Reeman
Douglas Reeman did convoy duty in the navy in the Atlantic, the Arctic, and the North Sea. He has written over thirty novels under his own name and more than twenty bestselling historical novels featuring Richard Bolitho under the pseudonym Alexander Kent.