Thursday, January 2, 2014

Fleming, Ian Fleming! Agent 17F, Royal Navy Intelligence at your service!

The Ian Fleming Files:  Operation ArmadaThe Ian Fleming Files: Operation Armada by Damian Stevenson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fleming. Ian Fleming. Agent 17F. Yep! Looking for a "James Bond" fix? Then, in that case, I recommend you check out this series of books by Damian Stevenson. As I read this first series book, I kept imagining Sean Connery's voice speaking for the Ian Fleming character...

Placed in World War II, Operation Armada has Fleming on a covert mission to convince Admiral Darlan of the French Navy to turn over the country's capital ships to the Royal Navy and not Hitler. Of course, nothing ever goes as planned... Courtesy of Nazi General Bock and a leak in the spy network, Fleming must improvise to bring his mission to a close. Vistas include England, France, Spain and North Africa.

A fast paced action spy yarn with some basis in history, I could not put this book down. I completed it over the course of three days and loved it enough to buy the second book in the series. And, oh yes, there are gadgets provided by the "Armourer" and 17F has to trade his pocket pistol for a Colt M1911 .45

Recommended, of course, to Bond fans.


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Saturday, December 14, 2013

"We Regret to Inform You" Entertains on Many Levels

We Regret to Inform YouWe Regret to Inform You by Christopher B Scharping
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

"We Regret to Inform You" entertains on so many levels. It is the story of family and war, specifically the Stefaniak family from Medina NY. The elder Stan and his son Allen have a father and son bond that takes them from tragedy to triumph in World War II. The book chronicles the family's different perspectives as Allen grows and becomes a consummate pilot, joins the Army Air Corps and flies B-17 bombing missions over Europe and North Africa. When he is shot down and captured by the Germans, he faces a personal crisis as he realizes his "escape" is a betrayal by a man he once knew as a friend.

The counterpoint is a father's determination to discover the fate of his missing in action son. From frustration at home in the "not knowing" to the post war determination to find out his son Allen's fate, Stan travels through Europe researching post war records until he finds out what happened to his son. This leads to a unique twist which I really don't want to spoil!

The author's attention to detail covers everything from the ethnic traditional foods served during the Holidays at the Stefaniak home to firing up a B-17 bomber for takeoff! Famous figures from Truman and Eisenhower to even Howard Hughes make appearances in the novel. A thoroughly researched novel, Chris nails all the details from aerial combat to small time family life in upstate New York in the 1940's. I enjoyed the journey of the Stefaniaks and their undying faith through one of my favorite periods of history. You will too!

You can get the Kindle version at

We Regret to Inform You

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Friday, March 2, 2012

Surface and Destroy: The Submarine Gun War in the Pacific by Michael Sturma

Surface and Destroy: The Submarine Gun War in the PacificSurface and Destroy: The Submarine Gun War in the Pacific by Michael Sturma

I am actually about halfway through this book and find the material fascinating and the presentation lively and readable. Not a dry nonfiction history lesson! Why did I pick up this book? I am fascinated by submarine warfare as a subject, this time period in particular, because my father served on four war patrols aboard the USS Atule in the World War II in the Pacific. In fact he served on the diesel boats through the early 60s in Key West, where I was born, and Charleston, where my sister was born.

Many an evening he regaled me with his "war stories" from the sub service and his time in the US Navy. Sadly he passed in January 1996, so all I have are the memories....

Surface and Destroy  The Submarine Gun War in the Pacific

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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Sunset - Latest Douglas Reeman from Barnes & Noble

1941. To the residents and defence forces of the Crown Colony of Hong Kong, the war in Europe remains remote. Even the massive build-up of Japanese forces on the Chinese border cannot dent their carefree optimism. Yet one man suspects the truth. Lieutenant Commander Esmond Brooke, captain of HMS Serpent and a veteran of the cruet Atlantic, sees all too clearly the folly and incompetence of Hong Kong’s colonial administration. But, in war, there will always be some who attempt the impossible, even in the face of death.

Friday, September 30, 2011

With Blood and IronWith Blood and Iron by Douglas Reeman

I had not read a Douglas Reeman book in ages! I remember in the 70's I devoured every military novel that came out in paperback, especially the ones involving submarines like "With Blood and Iron."

A friend gave me a former library copy and I was immediately drawn into the wolf pack group "Meteor" commanded by Rudolf Steiger, a by the book aggressive submariner. Taking over a U-991 whose Captain had been killed on patrol under dubious circumstances, Steiger represents the dedicated German of the book through loyalty and honor. Surrounded by fascinating characters representing loyal Germans, like himself, Germans that begin questioning the future of the war, Nazis as represented by the Gestapo, and French resistance, Steiger battles to hold onto his ideals throughout the book. Set in 1944, it presents aspects of the Normandy invasion, the plot to kill Hitler, and the ultimate end of the Kriegsmarine's U-boat arm.

I am quite glad to be reacquainted with Reeman's work and will be searching through my library boxes for some of my favorites to reread. Espeically look forward to rereading "The Destroyers" and "His Majesty's U-Boat."

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