by M. C. Smith
It is February 1940 – just six months since Britain declared war on Germany.
Hitler has set his sights on neutral Norway and its precious iron ore he needs to feed his voracious war machine. Control of Norwegian waters by Hitler’s forces would make breaking the Allied blockade of Germany a little easier. Risky – Britain’s Senior Service still rules the waves. His secret weapon – German air power, especially the fiendish dive-bomber, the Stuka.
British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain is under mounting pressure for continuing in his belief that a peaceful solution is possible. His First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill, knows otherwise.
And so does Captain Charles Dollimore, who has command of HMS Burscombe, one of the most powerful cruisers in the British fleet, yet he is having problems with his immediate superior, Rear-Admiral Nicklesworth, Â¬who resents his decisiveness and intuitive grasp of the situation.
Rank and tradition is everything in the Royal Navy. But it can bring a kitbag full of problems for the families whose men dedicate their lives to the service. Charles’ son Philip, living in the shadow of his father’s high reputation, has raised eyebrows over his temperament under duress. He has a weakness for drink – and problems on the women front to boot. His career has been knocked back by the irascible Captain Vian aboard HMS Cossack and has been posted to a desk job in London.
And more of the same for Midshipman David Clark, born into a family that have, for over two hundred years, been producing successful officers for the Royal Navy. He was never interested in serving but has no choice. It is a recipe for trouble.
There is trouble everywhere, it seems, even with those for whom the navy offers escape from more dubious or inferior origins. The war just makes the trouble worse.
Reminiscent of Herman Wouk’s The Winds of War, M.C. Smith’s Fire in the Fjord is a story of the human impact of war, and the actions that leave scars deeper than skin. It is a study of leadership and duty, qualities often lost sight of during peacetime. It charts the parallel paths of the ordinary and the extraordinary plotted against real events sensitively re-imagined to portray a passion for life that war can never erase.
Praise for M. C. Smith:
M.C. Smith has been associated with HMS Belfast (London) for the last decade. Coupling this with his love for historical fiction, he decided to try and capture the veterans’ spirit in his own words. Fire in the Fjord is his second novel, following The Northern Blockade.
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