BOARDING PARTY by James Leasor

BOARDING PARTY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A very lively and amusing raid by some over-the-hill British gents in India knocks out three German ships and an Italian vessel. In late 1942, it seems, German U-boats sank 46 Allied ships in the Indian Ocean. Somehow the U-boat captains were getting exact shipping information from Nazi-sympathizing Indians. Four large Axis ships were currently using the neutral port of Goa, a Portuguese colony in India, to avoid being sunk by the Allies. From one of these ships a radio transmitter was sending the U-boats the sailing schedules of Allied ships. Since Portugal was one of Britain's oldest allies, it was impossible to send an official landing party or commando group into that harbor to destroy the enemy ships. Instead, a semi-military club in Calcutta, The Calcutta Light Horse--which was mainly given to social affairs, riding, and racing--was asked to send a force against the ships. The sortie would be utterly unofficial, sans insurance, pensions for the wounded, or medals. Nothing must get out to compromise Britain's friendship with Portugal. A force of about 20 good fellows sets forth from Calcutta, about a thousand miles from Goa, armed with Sten guns and plastic explosives. Meanwhile their operative has gone ahead and hired all the whorehouses in town to give away sexual services to sailors during the time of the raid, and printed cards have been issued inviting the Axis officers to a fiesta. Using a small barge, the Light Horse members board the understaffed ships at night--and have a strangely wonderful action. . . . Flowing excitement, ripping dialogue.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1978
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin