"In the first nineteen months of European war, from September 1939 to March of 1941, the island nation of Britain and her allies lost, to U-boat, air, and sea attack, to mines and maritime disaster, one thousand five hundred and ninety-six merchant vessels. It was the job of the Intelligence Division of the Royal Navy to stop it, and so, on the last day of April 1941 . . ."
May 1941. At four in the morning, a rust-streaked tramp freighter steams up the Tagus River to dock at the port of Lisbon. She is the Santa Rosa, she flies the flag of neutral Spain and is in Lisbon to load cork oak, tinned sardines, and drums of cooking oil bound for the Baltic port of Malmö.
But she is not the Santa Rosa. She is the Noordendam, a Dutch freighter. Under the command of Captain Eric DeHaan, she sails for the Intelligence Division of the British Royal Navy, and she will load detection equipment for a clandestine operation on the Swedish coasta secret mission, a dark voyage.
A desperate voyage. One more battle in the spy wars that rage through the back alleys of the ports, from elegant hotels to abandoned piers, in lonely desert outposts, and in the souks and cafés of North Africa. A battle for survival, as the merchant ships die at sea and Britainthe last opposition to Nazi Germanslowly begins to starve.
A voyage of flight, a voyage of fugitivesfor every soul aboard the Noordendam. The Polish engineer, the Greek stowaway, the Jewish medical officer, the British spy, the Spaniards who fought Franco, the Germans who fought Hitler, the Dutch crew itself. There is no place for them in occupied France; they cannot go home.
From Alan Furstwhom The New York Times calls America's preeminent spy novelisthere is an epic tale of war and espionage, of spies and fugitives, of love in secret hotel rooms, of courage in the face of impossible odds. Dark Voyage is taut with suspense and pounding with battle scenes; it is authentic, powerful, and brilliant.
UNDER SPANISH FLAG
In the port of Tangier, on the last day of April, 1941, the fall of the Mediterranean evening was, as always, subtle and slow. Broken cloud, the color of dark fire in the last of the sunset, drifted over the hills above the port, and streetlamps lit the quay that lined the waterfront. A white city, and steep; alleys, souks, and cafes, their patrons gathering for love and business as the light faded away. Out in the harbor, a Spanish destroyer, the Almirante Cruz, stood at anchor among the merchant steamers, hulls streaked with rust, angular deck cranes hard silhouettes in the dusk.
On board the tramp freighter Noordendam, of the Netherlands Hyperion Line, the radio room was like an oven and the Egyptian radio officer, known as Mr. Ali, wore only a sleeveless undershirt and baggy silk underdrawers. He sat tilted back in his swivel chair, smoking a cigarette in an ivory holder and reading a slim, filthy novel in beautifully marbled covers. From time to time, he ...
(Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
Full Review (407 words).
I do admire the WWII generation. In general they seem to be made of sterner stuff than generations since. This was brought home once again last summer when we were in England to celebrate my father's 80th birthday. On the day of the party guests, most considerably older than him, arrived from far and wide, beetling along the narrow country roads in their cars. It was tipping down with rain and they had to park in a field next to the house. My finely tuned suburban instincts at the ready, I waited outside with an umbrella with the intention of offering a 'valet' parking ...
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