...Is S.S. Regal Gesture on the dangerous World War II North Atlantic run. Inspired by a sense of duty and by the desire to get home to England, Captain Spain signs his ancient merchant ship on a fast convoy despite the warnings of his chief engineer. The worst happens--the ship has to drop out of convoy, she is caught in severe storms, strafed by the Germans and finally her cargo catches fire and the engines break down. Intertwined with the disasters that befall the ship are those that happen to her crew--murder, insanity, mutiny are the order of the day. Written in the vein of The Cruel Sea and H.M.S. this novel falls behind its predecessors, lacking as it does their sustained narrative pace, drama and suspense. The author, more interested in characterization than strong plot, has produced a grim, bleak novel on a theme that has perhaps become worn out from repeated use.