I see it’s been a long time since I read the first two books of this series. In this volume Fullerton’s protagonist, Nicholas Everard, is sent on a clandestine mission to Istanbul to disable the German battlecruiser SMS Goeben. Most of the book is about Everard’s submarine journey through the Dardanelles dodging mines, patrol boats, and anti-submarine nets. It’s full of technical detail, the quantity of which occasionally gets in the way of the story.
Everard returns, this time in command of a destroyer in the 1918 raid on
the German-occupied Belgian seaport of Zeebrugge. The characters are
well-drawn and Fullerton makes the reader care about them, but the
emphasis is on action; in fact, there’s even more action and Great War
navel technology in this one than in “The Blooding of the
Nicholas Everard is a young British naval officer who, as the book
opens, is transferred to a destroyer. His brother is an officer in a
cruiser, and his uncle the captain of a battleship. It is May, 1916 and
the three relatives are about to experience the Battle of Jutland. This
is “Hornblower in the Great War” with a strong flavoring of
techno-thriller. Nicholas Everard is in the Hornblower role and the
“techno” is steam, big guns, and torpedoes. Only the first two books in
this series have recently entered print in the United States, but I
don’t want to wait for the rest – I may have to order the British
editions via the Web.