The mine is an impartial killer, and a lethal challenge to any volunteer in the Special Countermeasures of the Royal Navy during the naval battles of the Second World War. They are brave, lonely men with something to prove or nothing left to lose. Lieutenant-Commander David Masters, haunted by a split second glimpse of the mine that destroyed his first and only command, H. M. Submarine Tornado, now defuses 'the beast' on land and teaches the same deadly science to others who too often die in the attempt. Lieutenant Chris Foley, minelaying off an enemy coast in ML366, rolls on an uneasy sea with a release bracket sheared and a lie mine jammed, and hears the menacing growl of approaching E-boats. And Sub-Lieutenant Michael Lincoln, hailed as a hero, dreads exposure as a coward even more than the unexpected booby-trap, or the gentle whirr of the activated fuse marking the last twelve seconds of his life. This thrilling book from the master storyteller of the sea transports readers back to the terrifying life of the British seamen of the Royal Navy during World War Two.
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(177mm x 109mm x 27mm)
Arrow Books Ltd
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UK Kirkus Review »
The book's title comes from the ominous whirr given off by Second World War mines when their fuses have been activated. Once the noise begins, you have precisely 12 seconds to stop it or die. For a small group serving in the Special Countermeasures section of the Royal Navy, that sound is something they live with daily. Few people would be skilful or desperate enough to perform their job, but these are brave, lonely men with something to prove to themselves - or perhaps nothing to lose. Their task is to deactivate enemy mines at sea and on land, and the booby-traps built into some of these bombs simply make the task more dangerous than it otherwise would be. Once again Douglas Reeman (who also writes historical seafaring fiction under the name Alexander Kent) has created a humdinger of a thriller. In prose that at times borders on the terse, he weaves a clever plot and series of sub-plots around these professionals, who all have hang-ups and painful memories. There is Lt-Commander David Masters, a former submarine captain who lost his ship to a mine. Now he teaches reckless 'pupils' about deactivation, and has seen many of them die. There is also Lt Chris Foley, trapped with a mine close to enemy territory, and Sub-Lt Michael Lincoln who fears exposure as a coward. Douglas Reeman has written more than 50 novels - 30-odd of them under his own name and the rest as Alexander Kent. A veteran of wartime convoys across the Atlantic and Arctic oceans, he is able to write with feisty realism about those times and the mood of sailors who risked all they had. (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - Douglas Reeman
Douglas Reeman was sixteen years old when World War Two broke out. He immediately joined the Royal Navy and did convoy duty 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.