P. T. Deutermann, a retired U.S. Navy officer, offers a memorial to his late father and other American veterans of the 1944 Battle of Leyte Gulf. The action at Leyte Gulf was the last gasp of the Imperial Japanese Navy in World War II as it was soundly defeated by a much larger and infinitely more skilled American force. There was only one episode in this struggle where the U.S. Navy was placed in jeopardy, and this engagement saw Japanese battleships and heavy cruisers driven off by an absurdly overmatched group of American warships and aircraft. This relatively unknown drama of Samar is the core of the accounts of the war of a Navy nurse, Glory Hawthorne, and naval officers Marsh Vincent and Mick O’Connor. The Pacific War is unfolded through their eyes as a war-widowed nurse, a ship’s officer, and a fighter pilot endure the stress of war, the heartache of separation, and the sometimes fearful agony of self-discovery.
Those interested in the genre of sea warfare will not be disappointed, as Deutermann has sailed these waters before in two previous naval action novels. Yet this reader can’t help but wonder at the strait jacket sea novelists have imposed on themselves. The overwhelming majority of published works deal with the Royal Navy in the Age of Sail, English buccaneers in the Caribbean, or Americans in World War II. When will the novels arrive that treat the sailors of Napoleon’s fleet, the combatants of Yamamoto’s forces, or the “Jack Tars” from Rome, Spain, the Barbary States, and a host of other ignored naval sagas?