An effective first novel of the merchant marine during the last war which derives from the author's experience. George Ransel, a bitter, broken ex-naval officer (a domineering mother had contributed to this) reluctantly accepts the captaincy of a liberty ship in San Francisco. Immediately sent to the South Pacific battle area, the is beset by a captain, succumbing to illness and insanity; a brutish mate; an aging chief engineer; and a steward who makes persistent but ineffectual advances on the gun-crew ensign. Affairs reach a preliminary climax during a short stop-over in Australia, then the ship goes to final disaster off Guadal-canal. An unvarnished picture of merchant seaman and their conflicts which demands a strong stomach and a willingness to overlook the concentration on the abnormal.