cover image Ghosts of Bungo Suido

Ghosts of Bungo Suido

P.T. Deutermann. St. Martin’s, $25.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-2500-1802-1

Military novelist Deutermann, known for action-packed WWII naval fiction (Pacific Glory), has created by far the best entry in his Sea Stories series. Commander Gar Hammond, skipper of the U.S. submarine Dragonfish, enjoys an enviable reputation in the Pacific theater circa 1944 as a maverick officer, unorthodox and audacious in his approach to harassing Japanese shipping and irreverent toward myopic armchair admirals. He and his crew are assigned a secret suicide mission: to penetrate the deadly Bungo Suido strait into Japan’s Inland Sea and sink a new aircraft carrier. They also have a passenger aboard: a middle-aged Japanese prisoner with a mysterious task to perform at Hiroshima. Gar’s brilliant, bold attack plan almost succeeds, only to go awry and place him at the enemy’s mercy. Deutermann’s gritty descriptions of the technical and tactical complexities of submarine warfare, the heavy demands of command leadership, and Japan’s inhuman treatment of Allied POWs are historically accurate and superbly presented. Best and most suspenseful, however, is a tense postwar epilogue in which Gar must deliver an account of his conduct under fire. This is marvelous military fiction; fast-paced, exciting, and utterly convincing. Agent: Nick Ellison, Nick Ellison Agency (July)