This ambitious first installment of O’Lander’s World War II–set trilogy features a brave hero, an equally stalwart heroine, and espionage involving prowling German U-boats in the icy North Atlantic.
Ellie MacCallister Greer is a Scottish double agent, working in Germany for MI6; her German code name is “Starling.” In this book’s prologue, set in 1940, her husband, Capt. Brandt Gundestein—also a double agent—is found out by the Nazis, tortured, and killed by the sadistic Lt. Col. Joachim von Zeitz. The pregnant Ellie goes on the run, heading for Canada, but a German U-boat torpedoes her uncle’s decrepit freighter; Lt. Karney Liam “Irish” Rork, skipper of the cutter Zealous, heroically rescues her, but soon afterward, she suffers a miscarriage. Numerous adventures with lots of derring-do follow, mostly in Newfoundland and Greenland, where the Nazis may lurk in a covert submarine base. Ellie and Karney slowly fall in love as they work together against the Nazis. Readers will constantly find themselves wondering whether a particular character is a friend or foe—a spy, or perhaps an assassin. Debut author O’Lander is an able writer, and her command of military lingo and technical details is truly awe-inspiring. Aficionados of WWII, and especially those of a naval bent, will be amply rewarded. The author keeps the pot well-stirred throughout; events come at a brisk pace and the short chapters often end in cliffhangers. The author’s love of all things Celtic is also clear, if sometimes a bit distracting; Rork, for example, is shown to not only be adept with Irish proverbs and adages—he can recite them in the original Gaelic, to boot. Also, Ellie speaks with a Scottish accent that can be wearing when spelled out in text, and a few nautical metaphors, such as Ellie’s concern for “the hatchway to Karney’s heart,” may beg some readers’ indulgence.
An often absorbing thriller that will likely entertain readers for hours.
Pub Date: April 8, 2015
Page count: 416pp
Review Posted Online: May 28, 2018
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