The Destroyers, by Douglas Reeman

by Peter on December 23, 2010

The eight old and worn destroyers – commonly referred to as The Destroyers, by Douglas Reeman the Scrapyard Flotilla – had seen just about every kind of action since they were originally built to fight the Kaiser’s navy. Yet now, to help pave the way for the Allied invasion, the veteran ships were transferred to Special Operations under new command and sent to the icy North Atlantic.

Were they picked for their fighting experience – or because they were expendable? Either way, Lieutenant Commander Keith Drummond, captain of the destroyer Warlock, was determined to guide the old ships to their final glory.

As in Douglas Reeman’s other books, the focus is on ships and battles. And on this level, the story in The Destroyers is a lively one, and demonstrates yet again that what truly distinguishes Reeman is his ability to weave an engrossing tale of naval combat.

But there are many plots and subplots in this book, and one that I found interesting in this book was the somewhat cynical use of people and positions by the government in order to build public opinion. In The Destroyers this cynical use of people hurts not only the true heroes, and costs real lives, but also, in the end, leads a Navy officer – promoted beyond his abilities for his value in the media – to sacrifice his life in order to prove his worth.

I liked this book a lot – I have actually liked all the books by Douglas Reeman that I have read so far. He knows the see and the Navy, and he can tell stories. This book too tells important stories and is full of action on a lot of separate levels. It is a book of love, betrayal, sacrifice, and duty, as well as a great story about the Royal Navy and World War II. Reeman knew the Navy and its people, warts and all, and tells their tale. The Destroyers is definitely worth a read.

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