In a spare and beautifully told story of the mortal agony of a British merchant vessel, Gale Force reveals something of the immense vitality of Conrad. 200 miles off Land's End, the Atlantic Whipper carrying a cargo of grain and ten passengers, flounders under tremendous seas lashed by winds of gale force. On the bridge Captain Harkness awaits help and struggles to keep his ship afloat. . . the ship that his wife, back in her seductively warm and neat home, haten with every atom of her being. Wearily he thinks of the third officer, charming Pete Contain, who will probably not survive to marry the timid young passenger he loves; of the handsome cripple Bennett, whose neurotic dependence on his penitent wife may well be brutally ended. Then after hours of hopeless waiting, the Spanish ship Angelus labors into sight and passengers and crew are taken aboard. In a vigil of terrible loneliness, the captain waits for white water to engulf the last dark stump of his vessel before jumping to safety. In those dark hours what obsesses him is the conviction that his wife has won her ultimate victory over the ship. . . . In its powerful simplicity and well worked out plot lines, this book surpasses many contemporary sea epics. The careful balance of interest between personal dramas and the drama of ship vs sea makes a memorable book.