Two Navy brothers from Pearl Harbor to the Battle of the Philippines--in another Homewood tour-of-duty that combines...



Two Navy brothers from Pearl Harbor to the Battle of the Philippines--in another Homewood tour-of-duty that combines torpedo-by-torpedo battle detail with considerably less convincing home-front material, Burly, friendly Michael O'Connor is a Lieutenant j.g. on the sub Sea Bass when the Japanese attack in December 1941; shorter, quieter brother Andrew is also a lieutenant, but he's a navy pilot on an aircraft carrier. So Homewood (Final Harbor, Silent Sea, Torpedo!) alternates between Mike's submarine action and Andy's dive-bomber/fighter action through the war's first months. Mike becomes engineering officer on the Tigerfish, entrusted with part of Nimitz's new scheme for aggressive sub warfare; he fixes leaks, inspires scared seamen, sinks enemy destroyers; promoted to exec officer and Lieut. Commander, he takes over from a deranged Captain (a fairly blatant Caine Mutiny borrowing) and sinks six ships, getting the Medal of Honor and personal congrats from Nimitz--for ""the most aggressive war patrol ever conducted by a submarine."" Meanwhile, Andy flies in the attack on the Marshall Islands, dive-bombs enemy carriers, and switches to fighter combat over Guadalcanal--with some battle-guilt. But the big problem comes as virginal Andy meets lovely Carol Oster (""I'm a person, not just a woman""), marries her--and is drenched with Catholic guilt about lustful lovemaking, especially when it turns out that they can't have children. (""The elderly priests in their weekly lectures. . . had taught that the purpose of cohabitation was for procreation. That was God's law."") And Andy's religious fanaticism--never convincingly portrayed--is a possible factor in his super-heroic death in the Battle of the Philippines. . . after which Carol and Mike will be too-neatly matched up. Homewood fans, however, probably won't mind the pallid characterization and goopy dialogue here: they can easily skip right over the mini-soap-opera, sticking with the solidly authentic underwater maneuvers and the nicely digested war-at-sea history.

Pub Date: June 17, 1983


Page Count: -

Publisher: Morrow

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1983