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Friday, December 25, 2015

Review: Cold War by Philip McCutchan

I’ve never been a huge fan of McCutchan’s Halfhyde nautical fiction, but McCutchan hits his stride in works dealing with the Royal Navy in WW II. Cold War is part of a series that follows the career of Cameron who had been on the Ark Royal when it was sunk near Gibraltar. Now he’s navigating officer on the HMS Sprinter, a frigate escorting a convoy to Russia and carrying two important officials, one a British Minister and the other a Russian general, so the stakes are higher than usual.

As is typical in wartime, nothing goes as planned and after the two VIPs, Minister of War Production Harcourt Prynne and Marshal Yurigin, had been transferred to the Sprinter in preparation for a fast trip to Murmansk, they have an engine breakdown, the captain is killed by a flying splinter, and the new captain is having eyesight problems. Cameron is now the Executive Officer, and everyone is tired of the bombasity of the new warrant officer Fasher, in charge of the guns, who loves applying punishment more than anything else. Adrift in a blinding snowstorm, their radar shows a large capital ship heading straight toward them on a collision course. In a surprising twist at the end, Cameron is ordered to do something totally unexpected.

The tension that appears in other works about the Royal Navy in WWI between reservists and regular Navy is apparent here as well and the title is clever, referring to much more than the weather on the Arctic convoys.

Fans of nautical fiction will enjoy this book. I intend to read more in the Cameron series and more in the line of nautical books published by Endeavour Books which offered me this book in hopes of an honest review which I am glad to do.
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