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By Alexander Fullerton

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By Alexander Fullerton
Charnwood Large Print Edition (2008)
ISBN: 978-1-84782-461-5
Genre: Adventure - Thriller

Reviewed by Herbert White - February 23, 2009

Alexander Fullerton's Submariner is an outstanding example of the submarine thriller. This novel is set during one of the most pivotal points during World War II. The year is 1942, and Lieutenant-Commander Mike Nicholson is serving as the commander of the Ursa, which is stationed out of Malta. Nicholson has won a heady reputation as a commander who placed more enemy tonnage on the bottom of the sea than his fellow commanders. His men are tough, and after numerous missions, they are well-skilled at their jobs and their comradery and success contributes to their high moral standards. The Ursa, along with the other boats assigned to the 10th Submarine Flotilla has been tasked with the job of intercepting axis vessels sailing out of Italy and bound for Africa. These ships are carrying a million tons of food and supplies destined for Rommel's Africa Korps, the job of the Ursa, and her sister boats, is to sink as many of these vessels as possible.

To succeed in its mission, the men of the Ursa must overcome the normal obstacles inherent in submarine warfare such as underwater minefields, enemy submarines, the possibility of attack from the air, and the normal fear associated with being entombed in a metal hulk deep beneath the water. Worse, they have to not only fight the enemy without, but also the enemy within. The men of the Ursa must deal with one of the most insidious all enemies of the submariner - superstition! This mission is to be the last the Ursa must face before returning to the relative safety of England. These 'last patrols' have the notoriety of being just that - the final mission of all too many subs, who seem to end their patrols on the bottom of the sea.

Fullerton was himself a sailor who served on both battleships and submarines during his career in the British Royal Navy. He saw a great deal of action during World War II, and not surprisingly, he brings a sense of reality to this novel that is impossible to achieve from those who have not been there, done that. As such, the Submariner is an action packed adventure story that makes you feel as if you are serving along with the men of the Ursa as you listen to the officer's bellow their orders and watch the men quickly carry out their commands. The story is well-paced, and the action will keep you glued to the book from beginning to end. This is a stand-alone book, and a must read for fans of Fullerton's maritime novels. If this is your first introduction to Fullerton's work, you are in for a treat. Fullerton is perhaps the premier writer of naval fiction, and after reading this book, you'll understand why and you'll want to go back and read all of his previous books.

Submariner can be purchased directly from Ulverscroft, the parent company of Charnwood Large Print.

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