McCutchan, more familiar for his somewhat comic period-Navy series featuring Lieutenant Halfhyde, here continues the sober WW II Royal Navy adventures of Donald Cameron, officer aboard HM destroyer Burnside. It's now 1942, and the Burnside is part of a convoy headed to save the garrison on Malta--which is in special need of the aviation fuel being carried by the tanker British Racer. So off go the many ships of the convoy, with a rendezvous at Gibraltar and lots of action once they're in the Mediterranean: attacks from enemy destroyers, subs, and aircraft; bad weather; a fatality that boosts Cameron to First Lieutenant; and the critical wounding of both the British Racer and her captain. . . which means that Cameron must take over the tanker, guiding her through the minefields of ""the Gap,"" the Narrows between Sicily and the Tunisian coast. (Meanwhile, the son of the tanker's wounded captain--a midshipman aboard the Burnside--must deal with his father's perilous condition.) Sturdy war-at-sea, with authentic detail on the technicalities of convoys--but without the character-appeal and narrative dash of Halfhyde at his best.