From Publishers Weekly
Gobbell's fourth WWII naval adventure (after When Duty Whispers Low) brings series hero Todd Ingram up to the rank of commander and near the end of the war. Datelined chapters span the months from February to October 1944 and skip from California to Madagascar to France. As Ingram's destroyer, the U.S.S. Maxwell, cuts through the north Pacific, it's attacked by a Japanese dive bomber. Ingram is rescued from the waves, but since it's by the Japanese submarine I-57, his troubles are by no means over. In one sense, Ingram's war is at an end; in another, it's just beginning. A test of wills as well as of physical strength and endurance unfolds for Ingram at the hands of his captors, who run the gamut from humane to sadistic. In nice counterpoint to this plot line is the experience of Capt. Jeremiah "Boom Boom" Landa, of the U.S.S. Morgan. Landa is assigned to a full-tilt espionage adventure (the mission of the title) involving Nazi U-boats, Swiss banks and even a cameo appearance by Arturo Toscanini. Gobbell's robust, colorful prose bears more of a resemblance to that of Patrick O'Brian or C.S. Forester than to the language of the gritty, laconic men-at-war tales the novel otherwise models itself after. The story covers an impressive territory, supplemented by multiple maps and a comprehensive list of characters, identified by ship, location, vocation and nationality. This is a solid addition to Gobbell's developing war chronicle, as much historical fiction as military adventure.
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Gobbell's protagonist, World War II destroyer officer Todd Ingram, begins this adventure being blown overboard from his ship by a Japanese bomb. His rescuer next morning is a Japanese submarine, which begins an odyssey across the Pacific and into the Indian Ocean. On the way, Ingram endures the frequently brutal treatment the Japanese meted out to POWs, and readers get an uncommonly vivid portrait of the Imperial Japanese navy's little-recorded submarine service in action. Even after he escapes, Ingram's travels aren't over, and code-breaking, historical characters such as Arleigh Burke, Yakuza gold, and a thuggish Nazi out to feather his own nest each play parts in resolving this conflict and preparing Ingram for his next adventure. Gobbell has been reasonably justly compared to W. E. B. Griffin, although he is considerably more concise, perhaps at the price of some desirable background information and fuller characterization. Still, he offers an undeniably seaworthy tale for military-action buffs, and, fortunately, Ingram has much of WWII yet to serve. Roland GreenCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved