H.M.S. SARACEN by Douglas Reeman


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This is the stiff-upper-lip story of a grotesque British naval vessel having massive cannons on a revolving turret; it was designed to hammer at stationary targets. Slowly hauling her way through the Dardenelles toward Gallipoli Peninsula, the ungainly ship seems a mockery to many of its crew. However, when it successfully engages Turkish installations, hits a mine but goes on to further action, its men develop great admiration for her. The characters are cliches: the midshipman redeeming his father's blighted name; the coward who turns hero; the bully who breaks down in battle; the austere captain whose discipline proves its value. That was World War I. When WWI is well underway, the midshipman returns to the Saracen as its captain. This time it is action along the North African coast. Again the wounded ship redeems itself in helping repel an Italian attack on an Allied convoy...The story is sprinkled with real blood, with arms shot off, faces shot in, and legitimately grisly corpses, and the battle effects, are superbly tactile, with torpedo explosions ""mognified beyond all reason."" If this were a movie, the theater would cave in.

Publisher: Putnam