RogerBW's Blog

Dive in the Sun, Douglas Reeman 16 May 2014

Late in the Second World War, the crew of a midget submarine gets into trouble off the Italian coast.

A distinct improvement on the earlier books of Reeman's that I've read. Our protagonists, the four-man crew of the submarine, may have fairly basic personalities, but they do at least have them rather than just being blandly heroic; the other people they meet, even the obligatory Girl, have narrative parts to play rather than just being physical obstacles or rewards. It's no masterpiece of subtlety, but the skeleton of plot and action isn't quite as bare as it was in A Prayer for the Ship or High Water.

The only disappointment, really, is that about half the book is spent on land, after the submarine is damaged and abandoned. Yes, this is how one has an excuse to meet other people, and there's danger and escape, but it's not really naval fiction except in the broadest sense.

This is a remarkably grim book, much more so than A Prayer for the Ship; plenty of people die, and one gets the feeling that even the ones who didn't probably aren't going to have a great life once the war is over. Cautiously recommended.

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