In 1949 as H.M.S. frigate Amethyst proceeded peacefully up the River Yangtze she was unknowingly sailing to fame as the cause of an international incident and the subject of an epic in naval history. Brought to the brink of destruction when a Chinese Communist shore battery illegally opened fire, the Amethyst and her novice crew were held captive under incredible conditions of physical hardship and emotional tension. When rescue operations failed and it became apparent that the Chinese Communists would allow no diplomatic negotiations to succeed, the Amethyst's youthful commander sailed his partially disabled ship down a river at best dangerous to navigate and at the time completely dominated by a hostile army and shipping. C. E. Lucas Phillips, whose previous book was Cockleshell Heroes, devotes considerable space to filling in the political background and describing the Amethyst from bow to stern, from commander to cook. Necessary though this material may be, it is handled in such a way that it makes for arid stretches between the two really exciting incidents--the shelling of the Amethyst and her hair- breadth escape. Another book for the devotees of true war stories and for naval buffs.