“The HMS Ulysses was a light cruiser, one of the warships on the Arctic run that went from Scapa Flow in the Orkneys (way off the top of Scotland) via Norway and around the North Cape to Murmansk. These were incredibly risky and horrible journeys, with the odds that you would come to grief. We lost over 100 ships on those Arctic convoys…I realised, as anyone reading this book will realise, that it’s an essay in exhaustion. The book starts off with a mutiny. The men are knackered, and they have had enough. The Vice Admiral, known as Farmer Giles, has made a series of terrible decisions and suffered a mental breakdown. The captain, whose name is Richard Vallery, has tuberculosis. He’s a sick man, but he’s ultra-loyal to his ship and his crew and is determined to get them through it. This is a key convoy, and he’s there to protect it. Alistair MacLean had served on these convoys. He’d been a wireless and torpedo operator as a seventeen-year-old, so he had hands-on experience of what it was like. That’s key.” Read more...
The Best World War II Thrillers
Thriller and Crime Writer