THE CRUEL COAST by William Gage


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This is a straight-faced version of a plot similar to one now making the neighborhood theaters in The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming. In May, 1944 a German submarine is rammed by a British corvette but does not sink and escapes in a fog. For tactical reasons the German sub commander decides to put in at a neutral port, a tiny island off the Irish coast. The Irish are friendly to the Germans and hate the British unmercifully, so they set to helping the sub commander with his repairs and his wounded. However, the longer the Germans stay (three days is the limit by international law) the worse their relations become with the island population of nineteen souls. A swaggering lieutenant rapes a ""rustic"" and there is a murder. Meanwhile, the novel's sometime hero is going to the mainland for electrical equipment for repairs and is making time with a pretty Irish lass who hates the Nazis. The sub stays over a week, during which time the Germans become persona non grata. The paranoid commander himself is murdered by the rapist lieutenant who wants to be interned in Ireland. Eventually the Germans escape to what they think is the freedom of a Nazi port in France but...unbeknownst to them, it is D-day and there are no more German ports in France...The novel is skillful, with attention to characterization, but there is no consuming moral purpose behind it or fresh view of life. It's just a good story.

Pub Date: Oct. 25th, 1966
Publisher: New American Library