In Burroughs’ work of historical fiction, a pair of destined lovers finds their blossoming romance cut short by a burgeoning war of epic proportions.
Spencer and Elaine were meant to be the greatest of lovers and the best of friends; however, their life together must take a backseat to Spencer’s naval service aboard the small but capable USS LCS 52 in the South Pacific alongside best buddy Larry "Pops" Cullen. Spencer is a modest yet brave man, undeterred by the overwhelming sense of death that surrounds him each and every day on the ship: “I’m afraid I’ll never make the kind of hero that Hollywood manages to produce. All the same, everyone did his job. There was plenty of adrenaline flowing.” Weaved together through first-hand accounts from those who knew him best, letters, logs and snippets referenced from historical books, Spencer’s brother and author Burroughs creates an epic tale about love and loss amid the backdrop of World War II that retains a quaint, intimate atmosphere. Burroughs makes the tale as manageable as possible while allowing the material to flow like a novel should. There are gaps in the writing that display an inherent lack of precision when it comes to molding a story from various elements—the narrative seems to incongruously shift from informational, fact-based research to fictional creation—but, overall, the tale is a compelling one. Working on one of the smallest gun boats in the entire United States Navy, Spencer is a true hero of the everyday sort. He’s an interesting character, made even more compelling by the fact that he’s based on a real figure. The dialogue rings true throughout and will keep readers engaged for the duration despite the book’s occasional flaws.
An inspired, if uneven, account of the power of love and the casualty of war.