|About the Book|
I was excited to read this book, because I used to love Alistair MacLean. But I was also nervous to read this book, because I used to love Alistair MacLean, and what if he wasn’t as good as I remembered? I did enjoy the book, but it took me a while to get into it. I think that’s because the protagonist is the crew as a whole, so it didn’t feel like there was a main character, just a lot of secondary characters. But as with most novels, by the middle, even secondary characters can be compelling and I may have shed a few tears by the end of the story.The book revolves around the WWII Arctic convoys. The Ulysses had been on Arctic duty for some time as the book begins, and the duty isn’t easy. It’s so rough that they’ve just squashed a slight mutiny. Despite their exhaustion and bad morale, they set out again to escort ships carrying fuel, tanks, and planes to the Soviet Union. Along they way they battle horrid weather, the German navy (surface and underwater fleet), the German air force, and indifference and incompetence from the Royal Navy back in England. They rarely have more than a minute or two of down time before the next crisis emerges, so it’s a good novel for fans of fast-paced, action-packed stories. Many of his other novels have happier endings, so if you prefer happy endings over beautifully tragic books, I’d recommend trying a different one. On the other hand, this one does a good job giving readers a taste of the trials and sacrifices common on assignments like that, giving me a greater appreciation for what WWII Arctic convoys went through. It’s fiction, but I doubt it’s too far off reality.