Hyper-authentic British submarine novel about the Tenth Flotilla helping to lighten the siege of Gibralter during the early years of WW II. Lieutenant John Carbis finds himself press-ganged into the submarine service, a duty he does not welcome until the pangs of rejected love make him happy to be shipped to dangerous service among the Maltese. The Royal Navy is losing so many subs and their officers that it will have no seasoned men to man and lead the new submarine fleet when it rolls off the docks in two or three years. Carbis joins the Urgent (fictional), of the Tenth, based on Manoel Island. The story depicts the bitter plight of the Maltese people with great sympathy and thoroughness. While the Germans and Italians command the Mediterranean, the Tenth is responsible for cutting Rommel's supply lines and bringing his Panzers to a halt. Wingate does not confine himself to the Urgent but hops about various subs and records their battles and objectives as well--since all contribute to the desperation of the Urgent in carrying cut its actions. For most of the novel young Carbis constantly must prove himself to be worthy of his station as second-in-command to his imperious commanding officer, Captain Hammer Hawke. Urgent's busy hours harassing the enemy, blowing up German ammunition ships, and protecting the Allied supply lines into Malta climax with a tragic mission in which the Urgent herself is lost (though Carbis survives) while blowing a German supply train off an overhead viaduct. For once old marine-novelist Wingate (Submarine, Red Mutiny, etc.) has plunged the reader so deeply into the submarine milieu and its jargon and so determinedly re-created the entire wartime feel of Malta that his novel gets underway with glacial slowness--a larding on of indigestible and numbing detail. Of course, if you were there, you couldn't have enough facts. Other readers will not be as happy.