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The second volume in the Commander Buller Royal Navy series (Buller's Guns, 1981)--by a man who knows his dreadnoughts. (See the non-fiction Dreadnought, 1963, and The Great Dreadnought, 1967.) Buller, a typical Edwardian in his aristocratic self-indulgence, now finds himself bedding the beauteous Countess Miranda Reitzberg-sonderlong, wife to a very influential German naval officer--nicknamed Sonny. And Sonny will play an important role once Buller, with US naval commander Whitney Kyle, views foreign naval forces and informs First Sea Lord Jackie Fisher that Britain needs an entirely new ship to maintain naval superiority. The fact is, you see, a gigantic British dreadnought is now being secretly built, so Fisher confides in Buller and asks him to become a male Mata Hari, feeding the countess false specifications for the dreadnought: she'll pass them on to Sonny, and German shipbuilders will produce inferior dreadnoughts! (Meanwhile, Buller's divorce-suing wife Clemmie beds US commander Kyle.) Finally, then, the new dreadnoughts are built, Buller commands the Incontestable, and beats the German fleet in the first engagement. Naval action stirred with elegant high life and counter-espionage: a sturdy vessel for the nautical crew.

Pub Date: May 4th, 1982
Publisher: Morrow