Honorable Mention

Written by Robert N. Macomber
Review by Jetta Carol Culpepper

Lieutenant Peter Wake, commanding officer of the armed steam tug Hunt, sails a treacherous Caribbean from Key West to Havana in 1864. In this third volume in the Honor series of naval fiction, readers experience the final days of war, moving from the re-election of Lincoln through the relocation of former Confederates to Latin America in 1866. The sailor’s second enemy, yellow fever, besieges crews previously spared during enemy attacks. Few hardy men escape the wrenching agonizing death of sickness. Wake’s assignment as a message courier places him in dubious circumstances, often juxtaposed between firearms held by the anxious enemy and his own crew. His brave leadership style brings an element of diplomacy that saves numerous lives. In reporting the war, the Navy Gazetteer tells his story as that of a military hero. The happiest moment for Lt. Wake comes in reading his wife Linda’s report of the birth of their daughter Useppa. In the same mail delivery, a communication copied to the commanding officer of the Hunt notifies him that the ship has been reassigned to Pensacola as a fourth-rate gunboat.

The writer brings readers into the turbulence of battle through skillful descriptions of Florida’s coast, seafaring action, and dramatic naval rescues. The unjustifiable deaths caused by the war prompt sailors to question whether there will be a victor. Their answer comes in announcing freedom to slaves who, like rescued sailors, respond in tearful praise and thanks.

This novel is recommended primarily for fans of naval history, but those curious about happenings off-shore during the Civil War will treasure the tale in this action-packed plot.