Sink The Shigure
Fictional renditions of the peril faced by World War II submariners play a central role in historical novels of naval action in the 1939-1945 period. Surprisingly few readers are aware that US Navy underwater forces in the Pacific fought the only successful submarine campaign in either world conflict of the 20th century. A contributing reason to the astonishing American record was the absolutely dreadful anti-submarine forces assembled by the Imperial Navy. It was, without a doubt, the worst of any navy in World War II.
Cooke, a USN submariner in today’s nuclear fleet, turns history on its head by introducing the Shigure. This Japanese destroyer is equipped with the latest anti-submarine weapons and technology and is commanded by a brilliant officer (who, oddly enough, is never brought into the story). Shigure sinks the Seatrout at novel’s start and this sets her previous commander, Jack Tremain, off on a campaign to seek vengeance for his old ship. The setting is the war zone from Australia to the Philippines, and the time frame is the pivotal year of 1943. Tremain takes the USS Whitefin out on a series of patrols to both attack Japanese shipping as well as to land commando forces behind enemy lines. Supporting characters include the ever resourceful seaman Fabriano, SAS Major Farquhar of what the author terms the “Royal Army” (note to all historical novelists: There is a Royal Navy. There is a Royal Air Force. There is NO Royal Army), a cantankerous Admiral Ireland, an Executive Officer on the Whitefin haunted by his past, and a beautiful Admiral’s aide.
The story follows fairly predictable lines, and you would not lose money if you bet the Shigure would end up on the bottom of the sea and Tremain would find romance. Still, Cooke does a serviceable job, but watching Das Boot might be a better use of your time.