17 March 2020

Hellfire Corner by Alaric Bond Reviewed by Richard Tearle

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Nautical
early 1940s WWII
Dover, England



"Alaric Bond is well known for his sea-faring novels set during the times of Nelson, but here he makes a first foray into the second world war and specifically, the work of the Coastal Patrols based on the Kent coast, and it is a very good debut foray!"



Alaric Bond is well known for his sea-faring novels set during the times of Nelson, but here he makes a first foray into the second world war and specifically, the work of the Coastal Patrols based on the Kent coast, and it is a very good debut foray!

Robert Harris is the captain of MGB95 (Motor Gun Boat) where he is both competent and confident in his own abilities. But when his Sub Lieutenant is killed during a hazardous outing, he begins to wonder about his 'people skills', for he knows that he is not particularly popular with either the men or the Top Brass. He is very much a loner with no family and few friends.

His men are just what we would expect: the dedicated Mechanic and Leading Stoker, a gunner with a penchant for gambling. Most of them are volunteers including the new Sub Lt – Ian Anderson.

The tasks of the MBG are simple and two-fold: protect and escort British convoys through the English Channel or attack German convoys and their escorting counterparts. 

When off duty, there are WRENS, pubs and illegal gambling houses to be found in Dover. And frequent bombing raids.

The technical details are fulsome and precise, a delight for any engineers; for us landlubbers there is a comprehensive glossary. The action is fast and furious yet neatly interspersed with leave ashore and the sub-stories taking place within the port. The author has indeed packed a lot of story into this novel which makes it difficult to put down once you have started.

I have one niggle: the prologue is over long and is so immediately pertinent to the story that it really could simply be Chapter One.

Nevertheless, this is a great read and fans of this genre will love it. As the first book in a proposed series, I really do look forward to more.


Reviewed for Discovering Diamonds
© Richard Tearle
paperback edition reviewed







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