THE WHITE SEA BIRD by David Beaty

THE WHITE SEA BIRD

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KIRKUS REVIEW

From the author of the vivid Excellency (1978): familiar but expertly delivered action, as a Liberator bomber squadron from WW II Britain battles its nemesis--the Gronigen, a German raider-ship that's as elusive as a snowbird in a blizzard. The Gronigen is the bastard of the North Sea, an unbeatable killer of convoys; and Guy Strickland is the squadron leader with an Ahab-ish monomania for sinking the Moby-Dick-like Gronigen--he sacrifices men and ships with tragic disregard in his efforts to destroy the shadowy raider whenever it scoots out from its Norwegian hideaway. Guy floods the men with bonhomie and booze to keep their spirits up while many die or are misused (like young Peter Irvine, who's given command of a bomber before he's really ready), and the WAAF also arrive at the base to fall for the pilots and noncoms, getting pregnant while boosting morale under Guy's jauntily malign influence. Meanwhile, Guy is using every imaginable technique for trying to sink the German ship: new bomb sights, anti-personnel firebombs, torpedoes, and new tactics for getting close to the superdeadly phantom. And he focuses the squadron's failure on young Irvine. But it's Irvine who in fact survives the final slaughterhouse attack, sinks the Gronigen, and lives to find himself standing in Guy's boots--having to force out the bonhomie. Furious battles, topping dialogue, plenty of on-target gallows humor: superior goods for those who like their WW II action with a British accent.

Pub Date: April 28th, 1980
Publisher: Morrow