Sequel to Coonts’s giant editorial effort Combat (2001), which featured ten original long works of military/technothriller fiction. Victory, with many of the same authors, does much the same for WWII, although none of its ten authors fought in that conflict, and few, aside from Harold Robbins, were even born (Coonts was born in 1946).
Harold Robbins? Amazingly, even with four postmortal novels having sprung from his pen, still more has been found, this time a short one, “Blood Bond,” which he apparently wrote during the war or just afterward. It tells of a German-speaking Jewish bigmouth in the OSS whose golden locks help him masquerade in Germany as an SS captain in the black uniform of the Master Race. Coonts himself, a former Air Force pilot, leads off the sheaf with “The Sea Witch,” about a dive-bomber pilot who has three bombers shot out from under him by the Japanese and so is transferred to a Black Cat squadron on New Guinea and winds up downed by a Zero and stranded on an island. The prolific Harold Coyle shows up with “Breakthrough on Bloody Ridge,” a tale about Marines making the first amphibious assault of the war and hitting the beach on what comes to be known as Starvation Island. As with his More Than Courage (see below), Coyle focuses on men with the courage and will to go eye-to-eye with the enemy, especially on a barren spine of land called Bloody Ridge. In R.J. Pineiro’s immensely exciting “The Eagle and the Cross,” a surreal madness sweeps Russian defenses that find themselves bombed and then invaded by German panzers: the Nazis have broken their nonaggression pact! As Coonts makes clear in his introduction, “Only in fiction can the essence of the human experience of war be laid bare . . . . Only through fiction can we prepare ourselves for the trial by fire, when it comes.”
Goes off like an ammo dump.